Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Project for 2013

The last project I hope to complete this year, is a little snowflake garland for my Christmas tree that I wanted to make for years, and finally began a few weeks ago - not that I have had many hours to pick up a crochet hook.  I will finish the garland before the ball drops in Time Square. I was hoping to make another, to grace my wall unit, too.  That won't be in 2013.  Whether it will be the first project I work on in 2014 or go on hold until Thanksgiving or later remains to be seen.  Right now, I'm inclined to make the second garland right away, and be finished with them -- but that doesn't mean I'll feel that way at the dawn of the new year, tomorrow.

The pattern I'm using is from Red Heart, the Crochet Snowflake Garland.

It's a simple 3 round pattern and is JAYGO (join as you go), which I favor.  My garland has 25 snowflakes.  I wrapped it around my small Christmas tree and think a few more flakes (4 or 5) will probably do it.  After dinner, and before the ball drops and we pop the top on some de-alcoholized Asti, I should be able to complete that. 

Happy 2014, everyone!!

Spatterdash Wristwarmers

Sometimes, you can be too smart for your own good.  I have a penchant for making 2 socks at the same time, as well as sleeves.  Just in case I deviate from the pattern/design and fall short on note-taking, 2-at-a-time is my solution for averting an inconsistent outcome.   It's a bit fiddly but when you're done, you're done.

The Spatterdash Wristwarmers by Dagmar Mora were in Knitty issue 37 (Deep fall 2011.) Although they weren't in my Ravelry queue, I thought about them every time I cast on fingerless mitts or even  thought about casting on fingerless mitts. I have a friend whose birthday is on Christmas day, and I try to give her 2 gifts - one for her birthday and one for Christmas - and more often than not, they are knitted gifts.  

I had made her the Easy Drop Stitch Scarf that I blogged about here,

and wanted to make her something that complimented it, but didn't necessarily repeat the drop stitch pattern.  Waves or undulations were what I wanted to imitate or suggest.  

Then I remembered the Spatterdash Wristwarmers.  They would be perfect in the right yarn.  I am still dedicated to de-stashing, and was so happy to discover Wisom Yarn Marathon Sock  San Diego, in the colorway 254 (Taste),which coordinated well with the Easy Drop Stitch Scarf's color changes.

After carefully swatching and attaining gauge, I cast on both mitts on a Knitters' Pride Karbonz 2mm size 0 circular needle (but I was knitting straight for this pattern.) I was going to modify the pattern to knit it circularly, but Christmas was approaching and I didnt' want to break my head pondering the changes and I didn't want to knit more swatches - so, I plowed ahead.  

When the pattern required a modification for the left or right mitt, I just mirror-image knit whichever mitt was the second (depending upon whether it was right or wrong side row.) In addition to knitting the pattern, if there was one, backwards, it also included, reversing the slant of any increases/decreases.

When the time came to slip the main part of the mitt stitches to waste yarn, I left them on the circular needle they were knit upon. That may not have been the best idea. (Too smart for my own good) Then. I used another circular needle to pick up stitches - a separate needle for each mitt.  At that point I was working with  3 circs and had 6 needle tips to deal with.  My very own hydra, not that I wanted one. 

I kept telling myself, each time I wanted to put it in a drawer, never to see the light of day (or Ott Light) again, that I would only have to do this once and at least when I was going to finish, I'd be finished and wouldn't have to make another.  

I got through that morass - barely.  I liked the scallops.  If/when I make another pair of these, (for myself) I will highly modify the pattern and construction. (I won't bore you with my thoughts on that topic until the project is at hand.)

Then, the killer of killers: the buttons.  Choosing them was not fun. I was hoping for something a little more interesting than those I ultimately purchased, but the required size did not offer me much selection locally.  I didn't begin this project  far ahead enough to order buttons online, or to shop hop around the NY metro area for better ones.  

The truth is, the yarn had a lot to say, and it's probably best that the buttons are demure.

Spatterdash, blocked, pleased me. 

I could really appreciate how the print yarn was so right for both the stockinette, main part of the mitts as well as how it emphasized the scalloped flap.  That flap is not just decorative, but there are small eyelets in the last row of scallops, that make up the button holes.

The buttons and button holes are functional, but constructed the way these were, they were impractical, because there was so much overlap of the flap over the stockinette part of the mitt, the flap had to be sewn down.  So, what's the point of functioning buttons?  Why not just stitch them on?  Oh well, as I wrote earlier, I will definitely make some changes for my next pair.   A few sections of these writstwarmers were tedious, but none so much as dealing with button placement and sewing.

There is no question about it.  The buttons bring these mitts to life.  They're kind of artsy, kind of edgy, kind of steampunk and kind of bohemian.  I am a bit OCD about having my print yarn match when I make socks or mitts. I painstakingly began every section in exactly the same place in the "print" or color, but because I was making them 2 at a time, if you look closely, you will see that the top and bottom garter stitch edge colors are reversed: the top brownish on the left mitt is the color that is on the bottom of the right mitt, and vice versa.  I was not so disturbed that I wanted to rip one out and re-knit from a different part of the ball, but it is the first place my eyes go.  

Paired with the Easy Drop Stitch Scarf,  I think  the balance between coordination but not matchy-matchy, was attained.  (sorry for the shadows).

Overall, I loved the project.  They will definitely be constructed differently next time.  Additionally, I will  not be such a smarty next time, and I will avoid the invasion of the 6 pointed hydra, at all cost.  
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