A million ends later

The play mat is out…IMGP6712

… which can only mean one thing: I have a finished item to block:

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a bit wrinkly 

You may have been wondering why you haven’t seen the optical illusion blanket until now…

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a mitred square

Well, first it took ages to join the squares together invisibly, including running out of blue wool and having to search my stash for some that was close enough not to show. Joining the squares involved putting together one edge that was a single colour against another edge comprising different lengths of the two other colours. The pattern suggested crocheting the join using the colour that formed to one long edge. I tried this, but it meant that the join was visible, because this colour was on the square that had a nice even edge, whilst the  adjacent edge in two colours was made up of the side of the stitches, which are much more difficult to join neatly and invisibly. This problem of joining two edges that don’t have stitches oriented the same way is because each square is mitred, working outwards from one corner, making ever-bigger squares. Anyway, the neatest way turned out to be to use two colours to join every pair of edges – resulting in many, many, many ends to weave in.

Once all the squares were in one piece I added a border of a few rounds using yarn that I already had in my stash, thus limiting my colour choice. Finally, I was able to embark on weaving in all those ends. I went at it evening after evening, only finally finishing yesterday… just in time for the wet weather to arrive and scupper my plans to block this blanket outdoors. So, the mat is laid out in the limery; I pinned the blanket out under the watchful gaze of Daisy – who thoroughly approves of this creation (she doesn’t realise it’s destined to go to Reading with Mr Snail).

 

All wrapped up

Just a quick post today to show off the completed ‘Neptune’s Shawl’. I must have one of the best-dressed garden benches in Wales:

The finished shawl

The finished shawl

Detail of the scalloped edge

Detail of the scalloped edge

With my beautiful shawl pin

With my beautiful shawl pin

And just before completion, when I wanted to measure it, Maxwell decided to take advantage of it:

This is nice!

This is nice!

WIPs and FOs

Whats and whats?

I’m guessing that any knitters or crocheters reading this will know what the title means, but no one else. Starting any new craft seems to result in exposure to all sorts of new jargon and yarn crafts do seem particularly prone to this (I blame Ravelry). However, I thought you might all like to learn a bit of knit-speak (if you are really interested, you can learn what frogging is here).

There are buttons to sew on - these had been in my collection for a couple of decades!

There are buttons to sew on – these had been in my collection for a couple of decades!

First, however, I have a confession… like many knitters I’m not very enthusiastic about sewing my knitting together. I love the knitting bit, but the finishing is generally quite tedious, This is why I like knitting socks with self-patterning yarn – you cast on, knit the sock like a tube and graft the toe to finish off, leaving just two tails of wool (one at the beginning and one at the end) to weave in before the whole thing is complete. Bigger garments are more challenging to complete – there are often seams to sew together, buttons to stitch on and lots and lots of ends to weave in. And so, it is often the case that, because I am unenthused, I end up with a long-standing WIP (Work in Progress).

All laid out, in no particular order

Hexipuffs for my beekeepers quilt – this is going to be a WIP for a very long time

Some projects were always intended to be a long-term WIP. My beekeepers quilt, for example, should take me several years to complete, especially since I only intend to use oddments… mainly of sock yarn. But mostly I intend a relatively quick turn-around. So, it is with great shame that I have to confess I have had one WIP hanging around for several months now, with the knitting completed and only the sewing left to do. This is the beautiful Debbie Bliss Sophia Cable Vent Jacket. So, finally, this week I decided to bite the bullet and get it finished. I set aside a whole evening, but that wasn’t enough, so another session was required, but finally I have a FO (Finished Object). I was really pleased to discover some buttons in my collection that were suitable to use – I remember buying them for a long black velvet dress I planned to make years ago that somehow never got made.

FO... finally

FO… finally

I think the lesson here, as with many things in life, is to maintain momentum. Once you stop working on a project, it can be remarkably difficult to get back to it and resume work. This is the case even with a FO that you really want – like this cardigan. However, I did manage to overcome that hurdle in this case, and am delighted with the result. Perhaps now I should make a start on that dragon I keep hankering after… although I do have half a pair of socks in my knitting bag and it would probably be good to knit the second one…

Back detail

Back detail

The back of the finished jacket

The back of the finished jacket

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