Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've been REALLY remiss

So first, comments responses:

Thanks for the compliments on the mittens, guys! Keja asked: "Looking at those mittens makes me think of a pair of socks I want to try, but I've been unsure how much I'd need to modify a basic pattern if I was using 2 colours (I wasn't originally thinking of making them reversable but I might yet). Do you think they would feel substantially thicker in shoes?" The answer is yes, they certainly would. Unless you're using the intarsia technique (which is unlikely if you're doing socks, as socks are usually done in the round and you just can't do intarsia that way), the knitted material is going to be thicker if you're doing colourwork. Besides intarsia, I can think of three techniques off the top of my head that enable colourwork, and they all make a thicker fabric:

  • Double knitting (that's the reversible thing): the material is thicker because this technique creates a double layer of knitted fabric.
  • Stranded (aka fair isle): the material is thicker because of all the floating strands going along the back of the work.
  • Slip-stitch (aka mosaic knitting): the material is thicker because again, you have some floating strands going along the back of the work.

Hope that helps!

Challah cover for DD1's teacher
TracyKM (yep, I'm Canadian and fiercely proud of it!) very kindly offered suggestions for where I could find fingering weight cotton yarn for this project. Thanks so much! I agree that it is very hard to find. However, I got desperate and gave up, finally buying some sportweight(ish) cotton from Michaels. I figured that if the cover turned out to be too big, it would not be a tragedy. In fact, rather the reverse has happened - the darn thing is actually smaller than I thought it would be. Hopefully, this family uses one challah rather than two for their sabbath dinners, and also hopefully, they make the challah small.

Despite my uncertainty about the size, though (and despite the fact that I had to go back to Michaels to get a second ball - I originally misread the pattern and thought it called for just one ball instead of two), the cover at least looks great. Here's a photo I took a few weeks ago when I was still working on the lacy edging:


By this point, though, it's all done and sewn together, and I'm working on the duplicate stitch embroidery. This has given me a fair amount of grief. First, I was determined to avoid using the lettering chart given in the pattern - I find that the Hebrew letters look skinny and ugly and ruin the classy look that the rest of the piece has. This meant that I needed to have bigger letters and less text. I settled on "שבת ויום טוב" and then set about trying to find a lettering chart for it. Fortunately, I had printed charts left over from a challah cover I did as a wedding present for a friend years ago, but unfortunately, although the letters were perfectly sized for this project, the font really didn't have the lovely calligraphic look I had envisioned. So I charted my own letters and I love how they came out.

The next problem was to figure out what to do the duplicate stitch with. At first, I thought I'd use two strands of the same yarn I used to knit the thing, so that the lettering would be visible by virtue of its "poofiness". However, it didn't end up looking as nice as the vision in my head, so, after much waffling, I tried it with white embroidery floss (all six strands together) combined with two strands of a gold metallic embroidery thread. And holy cow, the effect of that is AWESOME. I really lucked out with that choice, it looks amazing. I just know I'm never going to be able to capture its true sparkly beauty with a camera, but once I've embroidered a few letters I'll give it a shot and post the photos here.

(I had two of the letters embroidered already, but there were gaps between columns of stitches that really spoiled the effect. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong - duplicate stitching behind just the embroidered stitches instead of the embroidered and base stitches - and I just couldn't stomach the way the gaps looked so I ripped everything out and started again. The humanity. This project is killing me, I swear.)

Scarf for BIL#1
Carrie K asked about this project. The answer is that it's going absolutely great! At bedtime, I read to DD1 while she knits. She did manage to create a new stitch near the beginning, so we now have 15 stitches instead of the original 14, but she's doing extremely well. I have taken it in hand a few times to make it grow (and will definitely have to do that again soon), but I would guess that she's probably done about six inches of it by her own self. And with hardly any errors, too. She's awesome.

And speaking of the awesomeness of my older daughter, Tanya commented on how big she is. Yes. It's scary, isn't it? Both how grown-up she is now, and how long it's been since we've seen you. I miss you too. :( I've been thinking about trying to get out to one of the Twelfth Night events. Don't know how realistic that is, but I'm going to float it past DH and see how we go.

Oh, and also...I got comment spam. Le sigh.

Finally, it is with some pride that I announce that I've just donated $94.81 to Médecins Sans Frontières. This represents this year's profits from the sales of my KWB/TSF Hat pattern. Want to help boost that total for 2010? Buy your own copy of the pattern now!

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