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January 28, 2008

Finished: Mum's Blueberry Shetland Triangle

Welcome to our next installment of Christmas Presents on Parade! Today our subject is none other than She Who Bore Me, the Mother of Elliphantom herself! Seen here modeling her Christmas Shetland Triangle:

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This is my Mum

You may say to yourself “didn’t we just see a Mother-in-Law modeling a blue shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark?” What of it? The matrons in my life like their blue triangular shawls. Who am I to argue?

The Specs:
-Pattern: Shetland Triangle, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Wrap Style.
-Yarn: Blue Moon Silk Thread, one skein in the color “Haida,” knit doubled.
-Needles: Size 6 circs.
-Start to finish: November 29, 2005 - December 16, 2007.


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Notes:
My first attempt at this shawl was all wrong. Mum had requested a navy or black shawl for her Christmas gift and, come October, I found myself traveling down the uncomfortable road of “this yarn is not quite what I had in mind…” with 4 balls of navy Cashsoft 4 Ply. It was so soft. It was so squooshy. It was so…blah.

Wendie gets full credit for pointing me in the direction of the silk thread. She and Mr. Wendie were visiting (Thunk and Señor One-Ply-Short share an enormous passion for boy-type nerdly pursuits) and I was woe-is-me-ing my little heart out to Wen-Wen about the all-wrong-ness of the Cashsoft. Thank goodness for knitterly friends with an eye on the hand-dyed yarn market, is all I can say.

The Pattern:
A typical Evelyn A. Clark pattern with an easily memorized pattern repeat. To sum up: no problem-o.


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I inherited all of her good qualities.

The Yarn:
I really like the Silk Thread…it’s lovely and silky and drapes like a dream. My only complaint is that the dye didn’t penetrate the entire skein, leaving little undyed patches here and there, which is not so nice in a super-dark colorway. I was on a tight schedule though, so I didn’t have time for complaining and exchanging. It looks fine knit up (the white just looks like a little extra shine on the silk), but I’ve definitely become a center-of-the-skein checker. Heed my wisdom born of experience and go and do likewise.

Mods:
I knitted an extra six lace repeats. I agree with the Bigger is Better philosophy of shawl knitting. It’s difficult to sweep around looking fabulous if you have to keep adjusting your wrap. Make it big. Make it enormous, if you must. The worst that can happen is that it’ll look dramatic.


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Final Verdict: Lovely, lovely, lovely.

January 24, 2008

Finished: Chicago

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That's my sister, Rae

The Specs:

-Pattern: Chicago, by Louisa Harding, from Rowan 37.
-Size: Medium.
-Yarn: Rowan Calmer, 6.5 skeins Sour, and less than one skein each Blush, Coral, and Lucky.
-Needles: size 8 birch, (size 7 when called for).
-Start to Finish: August 11, 2007 – December 26, 2007.
-For: My darling sister Rae, Christmas 2007

Notes:
Rae has been asking for this sweater since Rowan 37 came out (which was in 2005, if I remember correctly), so I'm pretty darn pleased that I finally delivered. There were some initial reservations about all those little flowers, but in the end they weren't so terrible. Because knitting is like chocolate. Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.


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I knitted her a cardigan.


Mods: I think Ms. Harding got a little carried away with the extras on this pattern. At heart, it's a basic ¾ sleeve cardigan but then there are a) an eyelet lace pattern, b) 52 little knitted flowers, c) 2,500 knitted-in beads d) 18 buttons/buttonholes, and e) a ruffle at the bottom. That's a lot of stuff on one sweater.

The key to making this one a winner was to strip it down a little. I nixed the ruffle from the get-go…it doesn’t appear in any of the pattern photos (and why doesn't it?) so by the time I discovered its existence it was already out of the question. The beads knitted into the lace pattern were vetoed by Rae, thank goodness. So the whole project was a little less crazy-making than it could have been.

The only thing I added was 4 extra buttonholes (and buttons). Toward the end there I got a tiny bit lazy and didn't feel like doing buttonhole math. So I just knitted on buttonholes until I ran out of room. So 22 buttons it was. They're all hidden by the flowers, so it doesn't really matter anyway. Not that they aren't fantastic buttonholes.


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It looks nice unbuttoned with a fancy shirt too.


Errata: The instructions for the little flowers say that you’ll have 6 stitches at the end…you won’t. You’ll have 11. If you want to have 6 stitches, omit the K1s. I just knit the 11 stitch version and they looked fine.

The Yarn: I love Calmer. So delightfully sproingy. I did have to go up a needle size since sproing makes me knit tightly.


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Finishing:
I'm particularly happy with my set in sleeves. I used the crochet method (my current favorite) with a half-thickness of yarn to keep the bulk down (you just slap the pieces right sides together and crochet along the edge through both layers). So tidy!

To attach the flowers, I first arranged them on the sweater and then basted them into place. Then I just starting sewing those little buggers on and didn't stop until I was finished. Each one has three little glass beads into the center but you can't see them in the pictures (note to self: take closeups next time).

I picked out transparent buttons that are the exact same color as the sweater so that they don't distract from the knitted flowers. Normally I like buttons to stand out a bit, but in this case I thought they would just clutter things up.

Final Verdict: Woo! With a side of Hoo!

January 16, 2008

Reentry

Hi there! I know I've been gone a while. Sorry about that. Shall we dive right back in then? Excellent.

Christmas was good...and that's all I have to say about that for now. I'm feeling a bit paralyzed by the thought of summarizing the last month or so in one post, so I think I'm just going to sprinkle a little Christmas here and there as I remember things.

Today's holiday tidbit: Thunk's Mum in her Christmas flower basket shawl (yes, I waited 8 months to gift it. That is what we call delayed gratification).

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I have the cutest mother-in-law ever (photo courtesy of the parents-in-law).

Other items of note:

1) I have somehow accumulated six unblogged FOs (the earliest is from September). I plan on doing something about that. Soon.

2) My camera is on the fritz. What exactly caused this is anyone’s guess, but I think I may have freaked the poor thing out a bit by taking too many pictures of yarn last week. In other news, my Ravelry stash page is up to date!

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This is a photo I dug out of the elliphantom archives.

3) I’m amazingly behind on my blog reading. So behind that there’s no way I can catch up. If you would be so kind, do me a favor and let me know if there’s anything good I’ve missed, K?

That's it for now. More soon. Really.