Another Hobby Blog

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Redemption: Polyester Yarn and Size 11 Needles

I know I've posted at least once about my dislike for synthetic yarns... (although I do allow that sometimes they look just too fabulous for words, I often simply cannot tolerate the way they feel long enough to knit something with them.) ...and I think that I've mentioned that size 10-1/2's are as the largest needles that are really comfortable for me to use.

So what could possibly be so compelling as to redeem (at least temporarily) a Polyester Eyelash yarn and Size 11 circular needle? (and the one size 11 that I had is a Clover bamboo (the eyelash didn't like to slide on the bamboo...) and it's only 16" long (I bought it to make a hat before I realized that I don't really like size 11 needles, and I hated the bulky-yarn hat. .. but it did keep my from freezing that night. My hair was wet and it was cold out. So I did what any obsessed knitter would do: I bought some bulky yarn and a size 11, 16" circular needle and knitted myself a hat during the movie so I wouldn't freeze afterward. :)

...oops.. segueway.

So... My size 11 bamboo circular needle (that really grabs on the eyelash) is also only 16" long, which means that the stupid bamboo points are too short to be comfortable in my grip. .. it's also shorter than the pattern called for (pattern suggested size 11, 29" circular.. but I don't plan on buying another size 11 if I don't have to. .. and I have DP's so I figured I'd be able to make SOMETHING work... luckily, the circular was long enough because this would be a very inconvenient project on DP's.)

It turns out that all that's required to make me abandon my principles and knit with polyester eyelash on size 11's (that are too short for my hands) for hours and hours without cessation....

Is a Fiber Trends Huggable Hedgehog pattern, and yarn that comes from my Secret Pal. :)

The first half was easy. The wool was an absolute joy to work with! .. and the hedgehog's belly side gets knitted on a 10-1/2 circular. (Thank You SP6!! Your October box is still paying dividends!) The pattern was clearly enough written that even I could follow it. :) (although I would have preferred a chart.. )

Z is such a tolerant model... :) Here is Z wearing the hedgie-belly as a hat to give a concept of the size (not yet felted). ... Somehow I had thought it would be smaller even though the pattern says the finished size will be approximately 10" high.

I think I got the paws right, but that part of the pattern didn't seem to be worded very well. .. Maybe it's just me. I have a terrible time following pattern instructions!!

I started running into trouble when I picked up stitches with the eyelash-wool combo. (This is where the pattern says to switch to a sz 11.. next time I'll see what happens if I continue with the 10-1/2.)

The pattern says pick up 77 stitches around the perimeter of the hedgie-belly, and even gives a breakdown of where those stitches should be found.

I tried. Lord knows I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried again. I ripped that stupid row of picked-up stitches out more times than I can count.

I finally resorted to grabbing a fistful of plastic pin-style stitch markers and spacing them according to the pattern's directions... 7 sts across top of head... 10 sts down each side of face... 1 sts at neck... 7 sts around paw...6 sts around belly...

but when I got to the lower paws, I had too many stitches.

Time and Time and Time again I ended up with 79 stitches instead of 77. Nothing I could do would give me 77. Nothing.

I solved it by using the next row to k2tog at the spot where the lower leg meets the belly on each side, reducing my total of 79 to the reccommended 77. :)

It's part of what leaves me wondering whether I did the paws right.

The eggplant-like shaping of the hedgie's back is achieved through numerous short-rows.

I read the pattern carefully. I followed the pattern closely. I did my level best.

I knit and ripped and knit and ripped and knit and ripped some more.

I admit I was trying to Understand the pattern, and I was having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the shaping. (It's really quite clever once it works...)

I finally gave up and decided that I would knit the pattern through blind faith, following each instruction as it came, not trying to guess how it will line up in the next section or figure out why it does what it does. I decided that I would knit the entire back as written and that I would only rip again if I got to the very end and it hadn't worked yet.

As an approach, it worked surprisingly well. Maybe I should try it more often. ;)


I got through the first set of short-rows, and everything seemed accurate.
I got through the second set of short-rows....

and I had 11 stitches left on the needle where there were supposed to be 9.

I counted every single stitch on the needle, just to make sure.
Three times.

It's really quite unfathomable..

I had the right number of stitches on the needle.

I just happened to be on the wrong side of the work.

No, I don't mean that I had somehow turned the work around and was counting from the wrong side... ...I meant that I was WORKING the darn thing from the wrong side.

The pattern says "......K9 this should be the end of the row."
only I've ended up with K11 and at the BEGINNING of the row.

Proper number of stitches...
Wrong side of the hedgie.

Oh well. It's garter stitch, it's eyelash-covered, and it's going to be felted.
Who cares if my hedgie's a mutant?

He's a cute mutant. :)

Z hopes he can talk me into giving him the hedgie... See the hopeful look?

I felted the hedgie in the washing machine and shaped his little face by hand while he was still wet. I stuffed him with some plastic grocery bags and let him dry overnight.

The next day Z was eager to help with the photo shoot...

...but he wasn't inclined to give the hedgie back.
Z thinks all felted fuzzies belong to the Z.

Not this time, Z!
MY hedgie!!


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