Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What is it?

I've been trying to figure out for a while now what has been preventing me from blogging regularly over the past rather-long-while. I used to blog every day; there couldn't have been a person in the world more eager than I to fire up the Internet and tell the world exactly how my knitting had progressed in the past 24 hours. But life (in the form of a full-time job, a three-hour daily commute, two children, and an increasingly improved ability to get around to doing my household chores) appears to have encroached on this part of my life almost completely. There may be a few other factors at work:

  • Ravelry. I do keep track of my projects very faithfully here, which makes it tougher to find the motivation to blog about them since it's faster and easier to do it over there.

  • Pictures. Feeling like I have to present pictures on the blog is problematic for a number of reasons. First, "lens cap" of my digital camera is actually a sliding door kind of contraption - when you slide it open, the camera turns on. And it's busted. It has a not-so-charming habit of being very temperamental about turning on in the first place (you have to open it with a really vigorous snap). Once you finally manage to get it open and on, it's also very good at doing what I can only call "relaxing" out of the open position by about a millimetre, and suddenly the camera turns off on you. This makes taking pictures rather a chore, which is compounded by then needing to go and find (in my mess of a house) the cable that will connect the camera to the computer. Then I need to edit the pictures for size and clarity because I'm just that much of a perfectionist; and then upload them and tag them appropriately and on and on and on...it's not much, really, but it does take time, and so I keep putting it all off. Especially when I've mislaid the camera itself.

  • Perfectionism. The longer I take to post, the more knitting there is to write about. And the more knitting there is to write about, the longer the writing will take, and the more time I have to try to find to do it in.

So I have decided, for the first little while of catch-up posts, at least, to do the following:

Hopefully this will work.

The first project I want to tell you about is something I just finished this past weekend.

I Do shrug for DD1
I have two cousins on my mother's side, both boys (now men). One of them got engaged last summer, and subsequently (at the beginning of this year) asked my oldest daughter to be the flower girl. Of course, this was very thrilling!

They chose a gorgeous creamy white silk dress for her, sleeveless, with an accompanying powder blue sash. My aunt (mother of the groom) pointed out that May weather is always iffy, and perhaps having a shrug at the ready might be a good idea so that DD1 wouldn't be too cold.


I've been wanting to make I Do since it came out - I thought I would be making it for me, and I was considering some midnight blue silk yarn I got off of eBay a few years ago. However, to heck with that - this flower girl thing was an excellent opportunity to try out the pattern, and it hopefully wouldn't take too much tweaking to get it down to six-year-old size. The pattern calls for worsted/aran weight yarn and 4.5mm needles, so I was actually thinking most of the sizing-down could be accomplished by using laceweight and smaller needles.

The bride asked that the shrug be done in white to match the dress. This was great, as I had some creamy laceweight in my stash (another eBay purchase from years gone by): a 90/10 silk/cashmere blend, "Dynasty", from Knit Knack, later known as YarnSmiths, now apparently known as Carriage House Woollens.

DD1's measurements were as follows:
  • upper arm width: 6 5/8”
  • wrist to wrist, arms extended: 32”
  • shoulder to shoulder: 11.5”
  • arm length to wrist from top of shoulder: 14”
  • arm length to wrist from armpit: 11.75”
I did a swatch on 3mm needles, which measured out really well compared to how much smaller the shrug needed to be, so there really wasn't a whole lot of conversion to do.

I did want to make the cuffs less wide than called for, since children are just so good at getting sleeves into everything even when they're not long and flowy (the sleeves, that is, not the children). This meant reducing the number of stitches in the cast-on, and messing a bit with the rate of decreases towards the elbow. I also had to fiddle with the rate of increases towards the shoulder. I think I did end up ripping most of the first sleeve back at one point when I realised I needed to make some sizing improvements, but eventually I got it.

It was unfortunately too cream-coloured when compared against the actual dress, but once the whole thing was done and blocked, DH helped me put it out in direct sunlight for a day, which seemed to make an improvement. My aunt also suggested threading blue ribbon around the shrug opening to make a visual border between shrug and dress, and thus hopefully fool the eye into not realising the colour difference too much. So I got some blue ribbon from Michaels which was a pretty good match to the sash. The other thing that really helped was that the bride's dress was a touch creamier than the flower girl dress.

The day of the wedding, in the bride's suite at the hotel, when everyone was getting hair and makeup done, I put in the ribbon and thus completed the shrug. I had hoped that the overall effect would be nice, but I had no idea that it would turn out so well:

I was beyond pleased. Ecstatic, even.

I'll try to get the precise details of the modifications I made posted at some point (hopefully soon).

Stay tuned for further updates!


Moon Torbett said...

The way I handle the photo thing, is to keep my camera in my knitting bag these days. I only started my knitting blog a month ago, but have a routine already of doing updates once a week on Saturdays. Saving up the progress summary for that day garauntees I'll have something to write at least once per week, lol. *That's* the day I put photos up, with the update.
Anything in between those Saturdays is more free-form sans guilt, lol.

Carrie K said...

If you're going to cut down on pictures, at least you posted the very most important one! She looks adorable and the I Do went really well with the dress, so the ribbon must've worked.

Wow, bitty bell sleeve. Nice modifying.