Sunday, December 4, 2016
Year of Projects 6: Week 23
My secret swap package arrived in Louisiana so I can do a reveal. It's a Christmas Monkey! What makes a monkey festive? Hmmm... a red and white striped scarf, maybe? I don't know; I just thought he was cute.
The pattern is Mini Monkey Christmas Ornaments from Boo-Biloo. It came up in my Facebook feed from LoveKnitting and I thought it was just hilarious.
The individual pieces were pretty quick knits but the finishing was very fiddly. Each piece - arms, legs, tail, ears, scarf and body - was knit flat and then mattress stitched closed. I think if I did another I'd have a good think about how to knit most of this in the round. And the hairline and face were done in Intarsia. All the little complications did keep it interesting. Also I learned from the pattern instructions to position a piece of felt on the inside of the toy behind the area to be embroidered to support the embroidery stitches. Works perfectly!
Kudos to the pattern designer too; the pattern included really good quality photos and finishing instructions. I tried to match my embroidery to the pattern photo and it's turned out better than I expected. Usually my embroidery is terrible!
Mr. Monkey ended up about 6" from top of his head to bottom of his foot, so I don't know how "mini" he really is. To my mind, that's on the large size for an ornament. Cute nonetheless and KristiRose in Louisiana seems to really like him!
I was a day late in sending my swap package. As I was packing things up and reviewing the questionnaire responses I was reminded that my Swap recipient is lactose intolerant which made the planned chocolate treats entirely inappropriate. The next morning I re-shopped and got a quick lesson in how difficult it is to find commercial treats that are milk free and produced in milk-free facilities. After striking out at the local grocery stores I finally found some appropriate choices at the Health Food Store. I'm so fortunate not to have food allergy or sensitivity issues!
I did finish the blue-green vanilla socks and then cast on another pair of vanilla socks. This time I decided to cast on my least favourite colours - pink and purple - from amongst the yarn donated by a fellow Raveller just to get the yarn knit and out of my stash! The cuff is knit with Louet Gems Fingering which is a lovely yarn with no nylon content. The variegated pink/purple yarn I've used on the leg came with no label but it feels like a superwash merino/nylon sock yarn. Within the first dozen rounds I realized that the variegated yarn was pooling badly... so badly that it seemed likely that the purple was going to stack up on one side of the leg, and the pink stack up on the other side, and never the twain would meet. Agh. Maybe that's the reason it ended up being destashed??
I tried alternating with another yarn but I didn't like it any better, so I settled on another strategy. Every fifth round is worked as K1 Sl1 which works to kick the colours about halfway across the round. The result is somewhat striped but I like it well enough.
There's definitely not enough of the pink/purple variegated yarn to complete two legs, two heels and two feet - even with these super long cuffs. Instead I've knitted both socks to the same point with the plan to knit both as far as I can to the last few inches of yarn and then switch to another not-quite-matching pink/purple yarn to finish the feet and toes. I hope it's not too horrible.
If the final result is really horrifying I can always overdye the finished socks to subdue the pink, unify the colours and flatten the contrast. They might just end up purple. Could happen! I've got teal food colouring in the cupboard at the ready!