sometimes you just have to 'fin' it

Projects don't always go 'to plan,' but sometimes, that's the point! 

Projects don't always go 'to plan,' but sometimes, that's the point! 

'Finning' it. It's like winging it.. but in this case, there's a little more to this tale (tail!).

The Project

The most recent project I had on my hook was a crocheted mermaid blanket for a sweet little relative of mine. Have you heard of these blankets before? They're basically a blanket you put your legs inside that looks like the tail of a mermaid. Since The Little Mermaid is my all-time favorite Disney movie, I was hooked on the thought of making one (literally).

I found an easy, free pattern online, and I had just the right yarn for the project. Okay, so the yarn was perfect in my mind as it was the right color and texture that I was aiming for, but the pattern called for a much different yarn. It also called for a much different crochet hook, as well as process. So basically the free online pattern provided just the right amount of inspiration, and then it was all up to me to craft my own design. My friend on Instagram congratulated me for going 'rogue' on the pattern. 

Going Rogue

Going rogue (gosh, I love that!) may seem commonplace to a lot of you makers out there. But not to me. I thrive on meticulously following patterns. I reckon this is partly because I am such a newbie stitcher that I need the esteemed guidance of those who have more experience, and partly because I just don't feel like I have the intuitive knowledge to figure it out on my own. 

For this particular project, I began my rogue-ness at the very beginning. I can't tell you how many times I had to redo the chain stitch alone in order to get the length I was aiming for. The pattern called for using four strands of yarn, I used one. My yarn was bulky, the pattern called for DK. I used the biggest hook I had, 12mm. It was supposed to be 25mm. So ya, there was a lot of 'winging it,' and putting faith in my intuitive stitch knowledge thus far on my journey.

Intuition 

I am no stranger to intuition. I have followed it on many occasions, and when I don't, I regret it. But there are certainly times that I try to summon intuition, and I don't feel the spark. Thus far, this has been the case with stitching. 

Where I have worked that intuitive muscle, though, is during the practice of yoga. Perhaps you've taken an exercise class where the teacher instructs to 'listen to your body.' This is essentially saying 'follow your intuition.' A yoga practice is all about finding the right postures at the right time based within the guidance and instruction of a teacher. If a pose doesn't feel right in your body, don't do it. Following your intuition in a yoga class means trusting that you know more about your body than the instructor, and then taking cues as to what poses feel good (practice those) and which ones don't (don't practice those). Goodness knows, when I am in my home practice, I am continually working on the poses that feel the best to me! (like savasana!)

A class sequence is much like a stitch pattern. They both offer general guidelines and instruction, as well as modifications for certain circumstances. Different sizes and skill levels are taken into consideration. But what they both offer are more or less suggestions. Once you tap into your intuition, the class and/or the pattern can end up being quite different than originally designed. 

If I wanted to make this mermaid blanket, I had to trust that I would be able to intuit my way through the pattern with the different materials, taking different steps. And I can say, that gosh golly I did. 

Finning It

Once I got into the groove, I started to become more confident in my intuitive choices. In no time, I was finished adding rows to the blanket part that you snuggle your legs into. (Gotta love chunky yarn!) I added a row of single crochet to the top and bound off. 

All that was left was the fin. I went back to the pattern for some guidance. It suggested crocheting the fin perpendicular to the tail. Once again, I worked and ripped, worked and ripped, worked and ripped. It turns out, I didn't like the looks of the fin that the pattern called for. (Keep in mind, it was still calling for four strands of a completely different yarn in a different hook size!) 

I put my hook down and picked up some large knitting needles. I unballed the remaining yarn and found the other end. (At which point the remaining yarn became a knotty mess, sigh). I picked up some stitches at the bottom of the tail and starting knitting the fin in garter stitch with two strands. It was going swimmingly, so I continued on. I added stitches when I felt it needed to start fanning out and I stopped knitting when my yarn was coming to an end. I only had to work the knit tail one time. My spark of intuition within stitching was alive and splashing. Some may call this 'winging it', I'm calling it 'finning it!'

I am very happy with the way it turned out. I have no idea what steps I used (because I didn't take any notes), but after the success of this blanket, I think that I could call upon my intuition to make another one. :)

Interestingly, 'fin' in French means 'end.' So I like to think that by trusting my intuition in 'finning' this blanket, I was able to reach the end of the project. And of course, the moral of this story applies quite nicely to the real world too - trusting your gut helps you reach your goals. I love it when it works out this way.  

Do you 'fin' it/wing it/go rogue/follow your intuition often in stitchwork, or in life in general? What have been your best results from the process? Let's hear your side of the tail/tale! :)

A sea of crochet stitches make up the tale of the mermaid blanket.

A sea of crochet stitches make up the tale of the mermaid blanket.