The Excitement Continues!

There is so much exciting stuff happening in my life right now, I can hardly keep up with it all even in my own mind! My high at the moment is a bit of serendipity that happened yesterday.

Last week, I “cheated” on the knitting I was supposed to be doing, and took the time to knit my first serious Fair Isle project. My only previous experience with Fair Isle had been a felted container, so I could get by with doing a lazy job. However, the moment I saw the new clock project from Knit Picks, I was enchanted with the concept of knitting myself a clock.


It was very disappointing that the only way to get the pattern was to buy the whole kit, and there was only one colorway. I find the choice of colors quite unappealing, and in my house, they would be downright appalling. However, I wanted to do this badly enough that I bought it anyway. The Caribbean corals, banana, and periwinkle shades can go into my stash and be used for doll knitting or other such things in the future. I added a heap of pinks, browns, and greens to my order, and when it all arrived, I knew I’d done the right thing. 🙂

I spent a lovely evening playing with the colors, using the black and white mode on my camera to compare the intensity of the colors. Fair Isle that doesn’t have gray scale contrast between colors used with each other appears muddy – a problem I noted in the kit colors, by the way.

Clock 004

I ended up with a selection of 10 colors that felt perfect to me, plus the bare, which is used for the ribbing that gathers behind the face to hold the knitting in place.

Clock 040

This is half again as many colors as is on the pattern, so I sat down with Knit Visualizer and redesigned the color layout. While I was at it, I just made a 12 repeat wide chart for myself so I didn’t have to risk going back and forth between the separate number charts and the main chart during the knitting.  I knew that was a recipe for trouble!

Once the planning was finished, the knitting seemed to go very smoothly, and it was terribly addictive!

Clock 005

I started in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the actual knitting was done by Wednesday morning – just 3 days later!

Clock 008

I was so proud of how tidy my back looked, and my knitting is very smooth on the front – not lumpy in the least. I was amazed I’d managed so well, and had definitely not expected my first project to turn out so nicely.

Clock 010

A two hour marathon resulted in a couple million ends being sewn in (picture above showing only part of them), leaving me with nothing to do except be impatient to be able to have a finished  clock.

Clock 001

Here’s where things started getting a little bit more challenging, though… but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, a few comments about the pattern and instructions…

  • For some really odd reason, the instructions say to use a provisional cast on. I can’t for anything figure out why. I opted for a long tail, since that is not bulky, and it is just fine. My completed clock face is gathered smoothly and easily to the back by running a gathering strand up and down through the ribbing, and there’s more support for the gathering, because it’s not just through a single loop of fingering weight yarn.
  • I added several plain color rows between the ribbing and the beginning of the design, and I started knitting the design just a little lower on the chart. I wanted to have that band of little pink roses around the edge of my clock.
  • The decreases worked really nicely until the very end. There the designer has 8 rows knit on the remaining stitches, and for me, that funneled. It’s just too many rows of the same at that small of a diameter. (Think about the Pi Shawl concept and that will make sense.) I’ve already gone back and picked out one row, which made a definite improvement. I might remove one more, but I’m waiting to see what happens when I assemble my clock before I commit.
  • If I knit something like this again, I might try knitting from the center out instead of the outside in. I found it extremely difficult to work the last few rows. It was very tight quarters.
  • Instructions say to just tie the ends together and cut them off. I experimented with that, but I found it left a jog in my Fair Isle design, so I did take the time to darn each end into the work, easing the design back toward looking more seamless. I think it was worth the effort. I don’t notice the seam unless I look for it.
  • Instead of starting my rows at center top, I started somewhere less conspicuous, making the jog even less noticeable.
  • There is an admonition in the instructions that totally confuses me. If I’d followed it the way it reads to me, I’d have had my numbers going the wrong direction around the dial. It says to be sure to put the numbers on in descending order. However, when you knit, you actually have to knit them in ascending order, or you will have a backwards clock. Just take some time to be sure you are going to have what you want when you are finished – like the carpenter measuring twice and cutting once, it is worth checking and double checking this before you knit very far.

Now, about the rest of this project… The finishing instructions say to wrap your hat around a paper plate, punch a hole in the middle for a craft store clockwork, and hang it on the wall. I’m really proud of my knitting, and I have a Victorian style home with antique clocks. The paper plate thing was going to look seriously tacky – or at least very out of place here, no two ways about it! I’ve probably spent more hours working on finding a way to finish this and have something that looked fantastic than I’ve spent on the knitting to this point. However, I’ve finally had a serendipity happening that has resolved the challenge. Yesterday I dropped into the clock shop while I was in the city to teach lace knitting classes.

Clock 002

While conducting my other business, I mentioned my knitted clock and my needs. It turned out that they happened to have a gutted case in the shop, and believe it or not, it was not only just the right size, but the style was appealing, and the case was from the 1980’s , so no guilt about messing up an antique. It’s an antique style case, but of modern manufacture, with solid, heavy wood. I don’t know wood well, but I think I’m guessing it is oak.

Clock 003

And the back is wide open, which is going to make it much easier for me to make any modifications I need to do. A closed back, antique case would have made it more challenging to use an electronic movement. This set up is perfect, as it’s designed to use exactly what I was hoping to install.

Clock 004

Best of all, they let me have it for just $25! There is no way I’d have been able to create any sort of a case for that price with my limited woodworking skills, let alone a fancy case like this one. Today I called Klockit for the umpteenth time, finally placing an order with them. All the inner workings are on the way, along with a glass bezel, arriving hopefully early next week. (I have to put in a gold star rating for this company, by the way. I’ve spoken and/or emailed multiple clock related companies in the past week, and the service I got from Klockit has been so far above and beyond anything I got elsewhere that I doubt I’ll look to the right or the left again. They are fantastic people, and so helpful that it’s a delight to work with them, even if you don’t quite know what you are doing.)

A little bit of Un-du (I love this stuff!) has already removed the presentation plaque from the front of the case, leaving not a trace of residue. So, now my only problem is to find something other than my dinner plate to use as a dial disk. It has to be thin enough for the clockwork shaft, strong enough to not buckle from the knitting being stretched around it, and I have to have a way to get it cut in a perfectly smooth, 10.25″ disk. I’ll be puzzling over that problem and Briwaxing my clock case while I wait with eager anticipation for my Klockit package to arrive.

I know… Patience is a virtue and all that… 😉 Besides, it’s not like I don’t have anything else to do here, right?


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love, love, love, love, LOVE how your clock turned out!!!!!!

    And I am going to write down your gray-scale observation on colors. Makes sense to me, but I never would have come up with it on my own.

    WHOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks, Toni! 🙂 Hope you find the perfect opportunity to try it out very soon. 😉

  3. […] you want to get up to speed on this project before reading this last installment, the first post is HERE, and the second is HERE. And to visit it on my Ravelry project page, click […]

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