Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Triumphs and disasters!

Okay, now that I know Carol has safely received this and is happy with it, I can tell you about my Rowan Home and Hearth Exchange project.

(Carol, Orkney Angora is mighty fine! Started my Kiri shawl in it, scrummy!)

Some of you may recall I had got a hold of 50 balls of Sirdar Indigo yarn at the last Creative Stitches at the SECC. Well, I got the chance to put some of them to good use for this year's exchange.

My first project turned out to be a disaster, in spite of the best of intentions. It was so nice of you Mhairi to call it a near-disaster, unfortunately, it was a full-blown disaster.

I had to come up with a substitute which would be quickish to knit, would not weigh a ton, was homey and hearthy, virtually foolproof, would suit someone who lived in a warm climate (California) and liked denim colours.
So, I made these table mats from the Sirdar Indigo. I'm guessing that you recognise the pattern as the ballband washcloth pattern from Mason-Dixon. I made them a good bit longer than the pattern because 1) table mats are longer than dishcloths and 2) Sirdar Indigo shrinks lengthwise in the first wash.

So I made one pair with the descriptively named Dark Denim and Light Denim alternately as main shade and

contrast and one pair with Mid Denim and Ecru.

(Just as an observation, that's a very yarn-efficient way of using up the full balls with no wastage. Not that I would have begrudged some extra balls from my 50!) I also made a wee jug cover from Rowan 4ply cotton and added a couple of wee Scottish goodies to the parcel.

If Plan A had worked out okay it could be as heavy as it wanted, as Carol was in the UK for a while and I had her temporary address, but as time was marching on and the time for her to return to America was looming I didn't want to go mad with the weight.

Ok, plan A.
To make a pyjama case from mitred squares with a knitted front and a fabric back . Keep the colours consistent, but vary the stitch pattern on the different sections to show off the relief due to the deliberate wearing effect you get with denim yarns. Some lace, some texture, some colour, blah blah blah.

Here's how the swatches worked. Yes, swatches plural, she who does not swatch. Stocking stitch mitred squares, double decrease on each right-side row, ends up rhomboid, swatch washed at 60 degrees, SHRINKS IN LENGTH not width, ends up square, Bob's your uncle. No qualms whatsoever about knitting up the pieces.
Except when the pieces were finished and washed at 60 degrees (twice) then at 95 degrees eek, they did not shrink one iota. The piece above has been through three washes and some very assertive stretching and still looks like a kite/ shite. I look the pieces on holiday to Mull with me hoping to come up with inspiration to make it all work out, but none came.
The pieces do kind of align together, but they want to become a tee pee, poking up in the middle. J thinks it would be ideal as a cover for a canary's cage.
I WILL be able to do something with it I'm sure, but it is far far too big for a pyjama case (cos it didn't shrink), and the amount of doctoring it would have needed didn't make it a viable option for an exchange whose time guidelines were already marching on.
If the worse comes to the worst, I could frog it and use the yarn as normal yarn, but I am more likely to find some use for it as a, as a.... large denimy thing, without which no home is complete. In case you're wondering, the table mats shrunk perfectly well. x K


Charity said...

That's a great project. I like the idea of table mats using that basic pattern idea. And the denim is nice looking yarn. Sorry to hear about the disaster that was Plan A :0)

Sarah said...

Well, Plan B is great! I am sure you'll find some way to salvage the first project. It really doesn't look so bad in the last shot!

Whirly Sue said...

How about a fantastic rhomboid floor cushion!

That way you could say you inteded it to be that shape and peple can marvel at your subtle awareness of form and function????