I learned to crochet as a young girl from a neighbor named Lorraine. She grew up in Louisiana. She smoked skinny cigarettes and exhaled out her nose, precisely tapping her ash with a well-manicured index finger. Her family room where we would sit and visit was paneled in wood and decorated with owls. Her blond hair was always up in an immaculate French twist, though she was widowed and lived a quiet life alone. She fed an orange alley cat that would only consent to be petted by her. Lorraine taught me to flirt...coy glances and arched brows...and once suggested that I should attempt to turn a boy's attention from his girlfriend to me. ("After they're married, as far as I'm concerned, they're dead. But until then....)
And she crocheted. Ripple afghans in all color combinations. She made a lovely cream colored afghan for me before I left for college. It has traveled everywhere with me ever since; even now, eighteen years later, I sleep under it's warmth every night. I consider myself lucky to have received it, fortunate that she thought me so deserving of her time and care.
All of this is a rather unexpected and roundabout way to say that I have crocheted myself a cardigan. Over the course of autumn and winter, in fits and starts, bursts of energy or languid stitches. Eventually, all the seams are sewn, the stray ends woven in, the trim completed. Done.
It's just OK. It's warm and comfortable and imminently suitable for lazy, chilly days at home. Of which I have many. It doesn't fit exactly as I imagined: the sleeves are rather short, the front sides are too narrow, the pattern lacks any shaping through the back and shoulders.