Day 9 Ravelympics Update

Day 9 – Hump Day! This was the center day of the event, and another good one for me, as I finished a huge project and got it posted, along with the one from yesterday that needed daylight. I actually have 3 finished items to share tonight, though only two are for the event.

First, the project from yesterday – my first medal winner… This is Martine Babeau modeling Hèlios, which had been knitted – yes – for a year or so, but needed all the finishing work completed – seams and something to attach the straps. I chose to use fat matching beads instead of snaps, as I just hate sewing snaps.

I just love the view from behind, and Martine had a great time showing it off. She raided the shoe box and found these cunning little Boneka sandals to set it off nicely.

While we were doing the shoot, I got a nice portrait of her as well. Martine was born in France – one of the little girls from Bravot. As you can probably see, she has an incredibly sweet temperament, and in addition to her love of sailing, she is one of my little knitters, working with her sisters to utilize as much yarn as possible, leaving me with a pile of things to sew up. (And here you thought it was all my fault…)

Project notes: Dress was knit from Hèlios, an interpretation by Inma Iglesias of a 1936 Gautier-Languereau outfit designed for Bleuette. I used Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in colors that reflect Martine’s love of all things relating to the sea, and did the work with size 3 needles. As I’ve said before and will say again, I’m sure, Inma’s pattern was a delight to use, and the dress is a perfect fit. There is a hat included, but Martine isn’t much for hats, so we chose to skip making it. The sash is silk ribbon.

My second finished object today isn’t a Ravelympic project, as I was working on it in the days just preceding the start of the Games, making it ineligible. I finished all but the sewing in of ends the morning of the 8th, and decided I’d use a few leftover minutes a day or so back to do that and give it a quick wash.

Hitty Lin is modeling this Danish Heather Shawl that was in a recent issue of Spin-Off as an adult human size pattern. I used laceweight yarn in a wool/cashmere/angora rabbit blend on size 000 needles to produce a dense fabric with all the fine detail of the original, and I have to say that I’m very much in love with the results, despite thinking myself quite insane for attempting the feat.

I’m hearing pleas to make some more, and I’m wondering a bit if they might be marketable – and if so, how much one would charge for such a thing. Oh, and if you aren’t familiar with Hitty, she’s 6.25″ tall, and this shawl is quite small and fine in order to keep it in perfect scale for her!

While we were outside having our photo shoot, I caught this picture of Martine being a very helpful coach for Hitty Lin, who is not used to modeling at all. I just had to share it.

The last project should perhaps be considered my marathon – fitting enough, since the ladies in Beijing were running their marathon while I was knitting the homestretch tonight. I bound off while Michael Phelps was receiving his eighth gold medal, and was somewhat wishing this had been my eight finished object rather than my seventh.

This is definitely a “never again” sort of item – even if I someday have to fend of begging grandkids to avoid it. I’m going to combine project notes and general description for what will be obvious reasons in a moment. I cast on 101 stitches in Lion Brand Chenille Quick and Thick with a longtail cast on and size 10 needles, then commenced working 5 rows in garter stitch before switching to stockinette with a 4 stitch wide garter border up the sides. After having worked about 6 rows total, I did that little thing of tugging along the bottom edge to spread the cast on, and to my horror, at one point the work ripped right up to the needles. That was trash, and I was sobered, but not totally deterred. This would be where I learned to do a cable cast on… I have very mixed emotions about this project as a whole. The positives are that I love the richness of the color, the wonderfully lush feel, and the way it catches the light. Neutral is that it is quite heavy – something that would be a delight sometimes and a discomfort others. Negative is working with the yarn itself. This stuff has zero give. In fact, it makes cotton yarn seem springy. And it doesn’t slide across itself either. These two factors make it extremely difficult to maintain anything remotely resembling an even tension. Although this is bound off and ends darned, I’ll probably be picking at it for years to come, evening stitches much like some people doodle. I’m not talking about small inequities, but rather holes that one could lose a toe through, despite my attempts to keep things uniform. The difficult work also caused me to end just a few rows early, as my purl pushing thumb just couldn’t take even one more row of the punishment. I find myself wondering if it would have been better with larger needles or perhaps crochet. I just know that I very much prefer natural fiber in general, and that life is too short for me to knit something I don’t enjoy, so there is no more chenille in my future – short of snuggling under this monstrosity – which, by the way, is 45″ x 60″ using not quite 8 skeins of yarn. I put the last two skeins and the leftover from the 8th ball up for sale on Ravelry as soon as I was done. Hmmm… perhaps a weaver will find it. It would be great as a weft, come to think of it…

And, in other knitting, I have a very good start on another doll outfit that needs completion, so hopefully will have it done in time for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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