I just finished my first knitted gift for the holiday season! Must I be an over achiever? Well, of course, the answer is yes. I like giving hand-crafted items and love receiving them as gifts also.
I walk the hobby stores in May and June and see them getting ready for the holiday season and think, really, must they be such an over achiever. Please, I really do not want to start thinking about the holiday season yet. I am just now fully enjoying summer. However, if making hand-crafted gifts is part of my holiday, then I should have started in January!
Over the years there have been many nights past midnight that I am sitting in my favorite chair knitting. My eyes are so blurry and tired that I feel like a blind person knitting. Through my sleep depraved thoughts I wonder why I feel the need to give hand-crafted items. Really, I should join the new generation and let my fingers do the walking, or scrolling, through Amazon. I do try to start early, some years I am successful, some not. This year I am determined to be successful.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked out a couple of patterns for a couple of granddaughters. Off to my favorite yarn store and can you believe it, they are having a sale! It did not take long to find yarn that would work and I even saved some money, yeah.
When I got home and started to review one of the patterns closer, I realize that I needed a dk weight instead of fingering.
No problem, I think I can make adjustments for that. (Yeah, right) But it is not working out the way I thought it would. So, back to the drawing board. And a consult with my BKB, best knitting bud.
After BKB leaves, I start my gauge and work several color combos from my stash. Later that night I am clicking away and realize that the original colors have become lost when mixed in with my stash yarn. I really like the original colors, so back to an almost sleepless night as I rethink.
The next morning, it is a quick walk for the dogs and then to my knitting chair with my new plan of action.
The pattern is Shade of Summer Dress, by Elena Nodel. I am sticking with my original colors, and have enough to use 2 strands for a closer fit to dk weight. And will make it a tunic length instead of dress length, so I do not end up playing yarn chicken. I researched the internet for various sizing information.
My gauge is off from the original designer. Not unexpected, why should this be an easy fix? After a couple of trail and errors, I have the right needle, number of stitches and so forth.
Although, I like making changes to a pattern, so that it has my personal touch, totally remodifying a pattern, I am not so good at. I know the number of stitches I need to obtain the correct chest measurements. But, to knit from the top down, with the correct number of stitches and rows that are then increased and them separated into front, back, right and left shoulder, . . . well, I quickly became lost in a fog. (It looks like I will have to tackle another challenge in the near future, pattern designing.)
However, back to this project. I can do a provisional cast-on for the base of the bodice, work backwards, or in this case, upward. Then separate right and left shoulder, bind-off the center stitches, then do a three-needle bind-off when the shoulders are the length they need to be.
Not bad, so far, uh?
Next, I pick up the provisional cast-on stitches to work the skirt. My stitch count is off from the original pattern. I am not worried, as this is a very simple modification. All I need to do is a few increased stitches so that I can divide the skirt into six sections for the A-line increases.
So now I am busily knitting in circles. Really, I am knitting circles as the skirt is knitted in the round. (Just some knitting humor) My left brain may be in control,
but my right brain, the creative side, is getting bored. Mz. Righty starts thinking way ahead to the ruffle finish. More specifically, how to finish the ruffle. The pattern has an insert of color A stripping before starting the ruffle. That’s nice, righty thinks, but a bit simple. Righty contemplates how much yarn I have left, do I want to do the ruffle as written or spice it up. Seed stitch, lace stitch, boring stitch. I start to think about a shawl that I am making. (Right brain is a touch AD.) The shawl is Local Yarn Shawl, by Casapinka. And a couple of days ago I was just marveling about how much time Casapinka must spend thinking up new lace designs. (She must also have a very active righty-brain, like me.)
The base of the skirt has some open work added. Thanks to Casapinka’s righty-brain and my overactive one, also.
Color A is then inserted, but with a twist of my own (of course!). I do the ruffle according to directions, but finish it with a bit more color.
I added a crochet edge around the neck and armhole per designer suggestion, but spice it up with contrast color and a bit of picot.
It is being wet blocked now. The final dimensions are right on for a size 4. (Yippie!) I was able to double check those measurements this weekend with a quick visit to see the greyt daughter, son-in-law, and greyt granddaughters. Hopefully, Mz. Lydia does not have a giant growth spurt or weight gain before the holidays?!?!
Tomorrow I am off to the hobby store to find some decorative buttons for the base of the bodice. I must give credit to the original designer for this fun righty-brain idea. And then to meet with my knitting group for a bit of show-n-tell.
It was a quick knit, just six days, plus a few days of frogging, false starts and thinking-gone-wild.
I think the buttons add a fun touch
Time to start my next knitted project for the holidays.
I think I will always give hand-crafted items as long as I am able. However, I am slowly learning the benefits of finger scrolling through Amazon