small sample of my crazy quilt embroidery

About Me

I am a consumate crafter. I knit, quilt both sane and crazy, scrapbook, bead, mosaics and any other thing I can think of along the way. Someday I also hope to do real glass jewelery and stained glass but those have to wait until I have room and more time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stitches of Love

Secrets. Used to suck at keeping them. Still am sometimes. But not recently. At least about these 2 projects. But the time has come I can finally reveal them to most of the world. There are still 2 young granddaughters who need to not find out about the monkeys. So please, don't discuss the monkeys if you run into Maddie and Kate!

Several blog posts ago I told you all about my dear friend who is battling the little "c". The Lizzies have decided to not ever call it the big "C" again. Being the big "C" gave it to much credit and we are not going to let it take center stage in our lives. But darned it, if Jan, at least temporarily, isn't having to let it dominate her life. She is smack in the middle of some pretty tough chemo and heading into another round of testing to see how things are progressing. There is also a matter of another big firm place in the surgical breast. Hopefully the PET scan will reveal that it is a scar, seroma or infection and not more of the little "c".

But I knew I wanted to do something for her that would be from my heart. Something to warm her. And to be soft and comforting. And knitting is usually my avenue for that. Yes, I know she lives in South Florida. But when you are not feeling your best, have lost all your hair and are in over air conditioned doctor's offices, I knew a prayer shawl would be just the thing to keep her warm and to keep her spirits up.

This shawl is a generic Pi shawl, first discussed in length by my knitting goddess, guru, Elizabeth Zimmerman. I wish I could say I chose the yarn with the exact intent of making this shawl, at this time, for this exact person. But that is not the case. The day I decided to start, I went in my knitting/sewing room and saw 2 skeins of this wool/cashmere blend that I had bought at a fiber show back in April. I thought that it was pretty then and even prettier now cause it was just sitting there waiting to be knit into just the right thing. Trouble is, it ended up not being enough yarn and I had to order another skein. Twice. And the dye lots ended up not being the same any for either of the subsequent orders. But this shawl ended up being so organic and earthy that it worked. No overdyeing had to be done, which was something I did consider at one point.

I chose to do a simple garter stitch Pi which turned out lovely but I would probably not do again. First of all it ate up the yarn faster and didn't stretch out as far once finished. But the edging I found later on in another book worked out perfectly with it to give it just a touch of romance after all the garter stitch. I loved doing this edging using a "knitted on" technique which meant I never really had to cast off those 567 stitches that were live around the outer edge. I just used them up by doing a knit 2 together each time I got to the inside edge of a row of the lace. I am not sure I ever want to know what it is like to have to cast off that many stitches!!

The gift was very well received by Jan!! Never doubted that it wouldn't be, cause she is such a sweet heart. And I think they both are probably munching away on Cranberry Pistachio biscotti right now. Wish I had saved some of that for me!!!!

Stop the presses....I kinda forgot to take pictures of the monkey. Off to do a quick photo shoot....

This monkey was a fun knit but one pattern that you needed to read line by line and page by page. There are tons of short rows, plenty of increases and decreases and a few new techniques to learn, such as intarsia in the round. But the pattern is written spot on perfect, and is achievable by anybody who is a step above a rank beginning knitter. There are only 2 seams to worry about when the knitting is done. One short on at the crotch which is left open for stuffing and a partial whip stitch seam to fasten the bottom half of the muzzle to the lower part of the face. You do have to sew on the eyes but I found that very easy to do. The pattern does call for any weight of yarn and the appropriate size of needles to have a tight gauge when worked. I chose worsted weight, Cascade 220 Tweed to be exact. The total length is 15" not including his tail or 9" when sitting to the top of his head. The pattern pics show him knit in self striping sock yarn. I am not sure I would personally enjoy knitting him in yarn that small. Doing all that work and having a 5" tall monkey when done just doesn't grab me much. But hey, the striping effect is really cute. Here is the link to the pattern. But if you aren't on Ravelry you will have to join to be able to purchase this pattern. But hey, Ravelry is free, and oh so much fun. So go ahead and join like the entire rest of the knitting world.

I am half way done with the purple twin to Jacobus. It will be for the 2nd granddaughter. And I already have a request to do one for my walking partner's daughter for Christmas so I ordered another skein of Cascade, this time in a pretty aqua blue. I have a number of other knitting projects on the invisible list for the holidays and really need to pump up the production if I want to get most of them done. So expect some more project posts soon. None as picture heavy as this one, I am sure...


Mary Lynn said...

Wonderful on all counts!

Martha said...

The shawl is so beautiful. Wow!! the wooden pin is a great added touch.

Jan said...

Thank you so much Ann :) I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the work you put into this gorgeous shawl ... and I am deeply humbled w/your kind words both on this post and the one about LL. God Bless you my dear :) Ohhhhh and the "sock monkey's" are absolutely adorable; and whow on the pictures of your journey back home!!!! Stunning :) Thank you again :) Love you!!!!