Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Puggie is Hungry

"I want Trinket's dinner too!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pagode Finale

I thought I'd never see this post.

Pattern: Pagode by Hanne Falkenberg
Yarn: Hanne Falkenberg No. 2 Shetland
Needles: Size 3
Colorway: Khaki/Straw/Ivory/Blue green/Flax/Rust
Cost: $130 from Knitswap email list
Cast on: April 2007
Cast off: April 28, 2010
Progress posts: Enabled, cast on, first rip, why oh why did I knit two identical fronts, ripped again

This was a spur of the moment purchase through an email list. It was half price and I was bored at work. But I truly love the yarn and the unique design. It's all done in garter stitch on size 3 needles. The fronts (plus half the sleeves till where the colors end in the picture) are done in two pieces, and back is one piece, sleeves are picked up from the edges after shoulders are seamed.

The project took three years to finish, partially because it's all garter stitch and becomes quite boring after awhile. But because of the simple garter stitches, I mostly kept it in the car, as something I worked on during long car trips. Because of the simple stitches and unique construction and pattern writing, one small slip in reading cost me quite a bit of trouble. There were three major rips, first I switched colors (ivory and wheat) in the first front, then I forgot the pocket on the second front; then once the second front was finished, it looked exactly the same as the first. I didn't have enough yarn to knit two more identical fronts (why would I want to do that anyway?), and couldn't just flip it over and use the back side. I had to rip out an entire finished front -- 386 stitches on the cast on edge.

But really, look at the finished product, it's all worth it.

Friday, May 07, 2010

GAAA Great American Aran Afghan Finale

Pattern: Great American Aran Afghan booklet
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool (worsted weight)
Needles: US Size 8
Previous entries: First postSquares One to Six, Seven to Twelve, Twelve to Seventeen, Pre-edging
Cast on: February 18, 2009
Cast off: April 19, 2010
Finished size: 59inx88in, about 5ft x 7ft

It's been great fun being with this project for 14 months. There are twenty four squares in the booklet and I knitted every one of them, in the right order. Some of the squares were quite hard, even for me who consider myself a well-experienced cable knitter and willing to take on challenges.

The patterns call for different sizes needles, and I was lazy and only used size 8, so the squares were all different sizes. I believe the biggest one was about 14x14. After all the squares were done, I added the first round of black borders to make them all the same size. Some needed more and some less, some were rectangles and the borders made them into squares.

Arranging the squares was a lot of fun. I brought them to the South Bay Knitters winter retreat and had my friends help me. During the assembly I had to knit up more borders on the ones turned out too small or too short, and just knitted right onto their neighbors. I could have done a better job calculating gauge, sizing, etc., but I rather like the unevenness. It’s more art than math.
The final big cable braid all around took me a few more weeks. First I knitted a seven foot long braid by itself, sewed it onto the afghan, then knitted the rest right on. It was a very unportable project but kept me nice and warm every night while I worked on it.
When all was done, I wanted to take some good pictures to reflect the largeness and overall gorgeousness of this afghan. I wanted natural light, and I wanted some place large. I thought about putting it on the lawn with sheets or towels under it, but I’d have to climb on a ladder to take the pictures and be the neighborhood monkey for the rest of my life.
Earlier this week I had to visit my mom in Carmel, so I brought the afghan with me to stop at my favorite coastal area, the West Cliff in Santa Cruz. There is plenty of natural light, and the blankie looks rather pretty and petite against the Pacific Ocean. A lot of climbing involved in the photo session, up and down the rocks and trail, tumbling in the flowers, but it's all worthwhile.

Now some highlight of its past.
Yarn by my bedside.

Square one by Judy Sumner.

A tangled mess.

Group diagnosis at the retreat.