Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Success

I emerged almost triumphant from Christmas. Of course, when you consider I had only committed to two projects, that's a little sad.

Now that I've given it to her, I can tell you that I finished Cate's Fleece Artist poncho. She knew I was making it, but she didn't know it was ready. Her not knowing was as close to a surprise as I was going to get. Since she and/or my sister have been known to look in on the blog occasionally, I didn't want to give it away.

Here it is, my dining room chair obliging as the model.

The knitting was kind of . . . interesting. Not entirely in the Chinese curse sense of the word since I learned a new technique. The long stitches are achieved by doing yarn overs and then not picking up them up in the subsequent row. Instead, you just let them unravel into one lo-ong or lo-o-ong stitch (depending on how many times you yarn over). Well, that's not how the directions actually read, but that was what it came down to. All in all, it meant the knitting was fast. Although I don't think I'll knit this again.

Details, details. I know you want details.
Yarn: Fleece Artist Kid silk in Blue Lagoon for the "normal" garter stitches and Handmaiden Silk Spun in Capri for the elongated stitches. This in itself is a variation. The Pattern and 2 skeins of Kid Silk come kitted together. I decided I liked the Silk Spun yarn with it's sheen and little irregularities for the elongated stitches.

Pattern: Fleece Artist Kid silk Poncho.
Needles: Size 11/8mm Addi Turbos.
Technique: My old standby, the Island Embrace Afghan method. I knit the 3 rows of garter stitch with one skein of Kid Silk, the row of elongated stitches with the Silk Spun, the next row ("normal" garter stitch again) with the second skein of Kid Silk, then back to the original skein for the next three rows and so on in pattern.

The gauge issues- well, we've covered that, haven't we. It did eventually occur to me that, when some of the stitches are one or two inches long, gauge is going to be shot to hell.

Blocking was an adventure in itself. Once the pieces were wet, they were like Silly Putty. Like under-cooked taffy. Like - I don't know what. Viscous. They stretched. And stretched. And stretched. I began to have serious fantasies about blocking boards. I even went to Guardian Table Pads, wondering if I could get one delivered here in time to do any good. I expect blocking to involve shaping. Not squishing. Not imposing structure and order. Words fail me, and you have no idea how rare that is.

On the plus side, once the pieces had been persuaded to somewhat match each other, the sewing up was a piece of cake. A good thing, since I was assembling it the day it was due to be gifted. And I would like to officially offer up thanks to whatever knitting book suggested leaving a long tail at cast-on and bind off to use for sewing up. I wouldn't be surprised if it's somewhere in Mason-Dixon. Most of my practical knitting advice seems to come from there.

Eh. Novelty Knitting. A little is more than a feast. I think I hear Clare's Perfect Sweater calling me.

All those lovely rows of nice normal stockinette.

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