The Last Square

Forgive me for a moment of self-indulgence, but it's a milestone in my knitting.  I've cast on for the last square in my daughter's Barn Raising Quilt.

Last square

Only a deathly inexperienced knitter would have decided it was a good idea to knit a quilt from sock yarn. Seriously, what was I thinking?

I started knitting this quilt on October 6, 2008.  I know that because of this blog post and really bad photo. It was the week I took my oldest child, now getting ready to start his second year in law school, to look at colleges in New England.  Even then, I seem to have some self-awareness and characterized the idea of knitting a quilt with sock yarn on size 2 needles as a bit "loopy."  Um, yeah.

My intention from the start was that I would knit the squares in between and around other projects.  I wanted to finish in time for my daughter to go off to college, and knew I would need a lot of time for the finishing work — putting all those tiny squares together.  I'm not sure I had a seven-year trajectory in mind, though.  On the plus side, even with the finishing work, the quilt should be done in plenty of time to be a birthday present or graduation gift during her senior year.

As I look back on this project, two things come to mind.  First, I started this project in the early days of Ravelry (I had joined a little more than a year before I started this project, in July of 2007). It was back when I bought books to access patterns.  Larissa Brown's Knitalong, the book that contains this pattern, is a lovely book that is still on my shelf.  I can see it as I type.  But, I rarely use books for patterns anymore.  Ravelry has radically changed my knitting life in so many ways.

Second, as I look over my squares and see how much their quality has improved as time progressed, I'm forced to reflect on how much my knitting has grown in those years.  After learning to knit as a young child and effortlessly knitting some fairly complicated sweaters and blankets as a teenager, I put my needles down when I went off to college and rarely knit until my third child, she who is eagerly awaiting this quilt, received a knitting kit for her fourth or fifth birthday.  I knit it for her, thought it was fun and decided to knit another scarf.  I haven't been without multiple projects on my needles in the decade since then. I've learned a lot in that time (see, Ravelry, supra.)  I never imagined I would knit fair isle, intricate lace, or bold cables.  I never knew the acrylic of my childhood would give way to the most amazing array of cashmere, blue-faced leicester, silk, linen and fantastic merino yarns.

I'm grateful for my knitting years as an adult.  This quilt fills me with a profound sense of happiness and accomplishment — feelings I hope my sweet child will take with her as she goes off to begin her own adult life.  Of course, it may be premature to count my blessings here.  I do still have that last square to finish.