Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's All Lady Sybil's Fault

So it's a Monday night, and I am all snugged up in an armchair with a fresh episode of Downton Abbey (the infamous Series 3, Episode 4) to watch, and The Last Block of Viola to stitch up. I've overcome the frustration of a missing square (knitted another one), I've found a much quicker way to block blocks; it's literally all coming together, and after this last little job and a round or two more of blocking, it will be time for some real gratification in the form of putting the blocks together and watching the grand design of these abstract parts begin to emerge. Thrilling times.

And then this happened:

A pair of squares sewn in upside down right in the middle of the emerging block.  I couldn't believe it. How on earth could this have happened when I've been so careful and meticulous through the 17 previous blocks? I was distracted, dear reader. Something Happens to Lady Sybil (not saying what, get your spoilers elsewhere) in Episode 4, and my knitting concentration slipped. Imprecations and obscenities were muttered, I can tell you.

And then came the quandary of what to do about it. I tried very very hard to forget about it and believe that it would all blend in as part of the abstraction. But, see, that orange stuff is all supposed to come together to suggest the edge of a flower petal, and that just couldn't happen in the current configuration. Rats.

So maybe it wouldn't be too awful to unpick the two offenders (they are in correct orientation to each other, just not to the rest of the whole friggin' blanket), turn them around and sew them back in the correct way. Reader, I tried. But such is the wonder and efficiency of mattress stitch sewn in matching colors that the stitches are in-freaking-visible. Really invisible. Believe me, I looked. I pulled and pressed and separated, but still could not confidently locate the right place to cut and sever the sewn stitches but not the knitted stitches.

With a heavy heart and much gnashing of teeth I realized that the only thing I could do to correct this error would be to cut the offending squares on their side of the seam, pick out the remaining bits of the knitting plus the seaming yarn, reknit the two squares and put them back in the right way around. This called for another deep think about what the harm would be from leaving this mess the way it was. But the weight of 17 correct blocks and 204 correct squares was against it. Maybe (probably) nobody else would notice in the grand overall assembly. Certainly I would run afoul of no Knitting Police. But I just couldn't live with coming this far so successfully just to knowingly leave a big blooper in there. So it's snip, snip, pick, pick, and knit, knit those bad boys all over again.

Damn you, Lady Sybil!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blocking Blocks Block Unblocked

Whew! I was all bummed out about all the blocking I had to do, remember? All those stupid little squares to wet, squeeze out and individually pin to the board to the tune of a million pins? No more! I found a short cut. Now, maybe you're smarter or more efficient than I am, and you wouldn't have needed to do it all 7 (seven) times in order to slap yourself upside the head and wonder, "What if I sewed a dozen of them together first, and then blocked that chunk? Would it still come out ok?" Well, YES! It turns out that it does:

 On the left, a block done by blocking squares first, then sewing. On the right, a sewn-together block blocked all at once. (And requiring many, many fewer pins!)

So here we go with a lot more blocks in a lot less time:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Glass Caviar

Yeah, long time, no blog. Well--holidays, travel, this 'n that. Mostly I have been hiding from the blog because I have been hiding from, nay, daunted by the task of sewing up all those Viola squares. Yes, the Viola blanket squares are finished, and have been for a considerable time. The daunting comes from the prospect of wetting, squeezing out, and pinning all those danged 4" squares to the blocking board. It's fiddly; it's time-consuming (by which I mean that it uses up a lot of time that a person could otherwise spend actually knitting); it's pin-intensive; the amount to be done in a day is limited by board space and pin supply so you can't just bang it all out in a one-day orgy and be done with it. But I have recently hatched a cunning plan for the blocking and will try it out and let you know how it fares. Meanwhile, this is what I'm up against:

Nonetheless, a knitter has to knit. And when traveling, a knitter needs a portable project. So I wound up some balls and quickly grabbed Southern Sun. I have been fascinated by the prescribed yarn, Riveting (dk/sport weight), a recycled yarn made from reprocessed denim.
Color is Charcoal, best reproduction in the lower left corner. Winter light is really hard on true colors. In person, there's a blue-ish cast to the grey. Not surprising, if it's made of ground-up denim. And the astute observers among you will be wondering what a bowl of caviar with a crochet hook in it is doing here. It certainly confused the dog. Heaven knows what he thought was in the little plastic bag, but he ripped it open in hopes of something edible and found instead indigestible metallic core gray #6 beads. Maybe he just wanted to try a craft of his own--beaded poo. I don't care what he says, I'm not letting him enter it in the State Fair this year. He's more likely to end up on Dogshaming.

And, yes, I am making some changes to the original pattern. Shifted the motif to the other side. Beads instead of yarn-overs for the flower. Longer body, full-length sleeves, higher neckline with some beaded accents, and a beaded echo of the motif on the left sleeve. Just like the pattern, only different.