Thursday, November 30, 2006
I celebrate my love for you with a pint of beer and a new tattoo
it's quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
you're my reason to get out of bed before noon
Her name is Shirley and she's been a long time coming. I first got the Knitted Babes book probably three weeks ago, and dropped everything and started knitting with some brown lamb's pride I had hanging around. Well, I misread one word in the pattern and everything went horribly wrong. I knew the pattern was flawed as I read it, but I thought I would have faith and see it through, but in this case the results were not pretty. I ripped it out and went to bed. The next day I didn't go to the gym at lunch, instead I walked over to the quilt/fine yarn shop and combed through the yarn they have scattered from room to room. The only yarn I found that was remotely acceptible was an oatmeal coloured skein of Silky Wool, a 65% wool/35% silk blend that was heavenly to the touch. That night I knitted the new babe top down and in the round, like a sock, on size 3 addi turbo circular needles. Then I stitched on her hair, the same brown yarn I'd frogged the night before.
I was procrastinating the eyes until I had a good block of time without my daughter around, so I worked on other related projects, making her first a bathing suit, and then working diligently on a hoodie. For being a doll item, the hoodie has been taking far too long and I'm tired of it already, but it still needs one more sleeve and a hood.
On Saturday, my daughter had a guest, and I had time to myself to work on the dolly. I initially cut out the eyes directly from the pattern in the book. Yuck! She looked like a vampiric owl. I trimmed and snipped the eyes down to a better size and sewed them on. I was horrified. She was hideous. I emailed a picture of "frankenbabe" to Ember and bawled to her about my disasterous babe, and how I'd done my very best and it wasn't good enough and I couldn't expect to do any better. I was ready to throw out the entire project.
Then I girded up my loins, oh yes I did, and went back to my room and ripped off not just her face, but her hair, too! I realized that her hair was on crooked, and therefore I couldn't put the face on right. I made several versions of the eye until it finally looked right. I really wanted to use a nice grey/hazel coloured wool felt I had, but those eyes never looked right, so I finally ran downstairs and found some fleece in a good eye colour and used that. Since those eyes looked okay, it turned out that the babe has blue eyes.
Once I had a face on that looked okay, I felt alright about proceeding with the project. Next up I started on the dress, only knitting top down, so I could decide how long it should be. What a fiasco! The pattern was difficult to understand. My first version was knitted according to the pattern, only with a needle 2 sizes larger than what the pattern suggested. It was soon obvious that the dress would never ever fit on the babe. The next night I tried again, knitting a back waist into the dress. After a few rows, it was obvious it was too big and just awkward. That night, lying in bed, I finally had a flash of inspiration that allowed me to understand what the pattern was intending. The next night, I started again, adding some increases into the bodice. By the time the increases got the bodice the right size, the bodice was too long. On the FOURTH night, I frogged back yet again, removing several increase rows, to keep the bodice short, and finally finding the perfect width for the bodice. Finally I was happy and proceeded! Today I had a great deal of knitting time, as I used my comp day to sub for my husband, and I knitted in class all day. I finished the dress, and it turned out fabulous!
Here are the changes I made to the dress pattern: I started top down, and knit each strap in a separate colour, so I didn't need to break and rejoin any yarn. I followed the pattern in reverse until the point where I would have increased to 19 stitches. Instead of casting on 2 and 2 stitches, I created those extra two stitches by knitting into the ends of the straps, making the cap sleeves while adding the stitches. After knitting 4 rows at 19 stitches, i started increasing (knit into the front and back of the stitch) one stitch from both the beginning and end, alternating an increase row with a knitting row. I did this until I had knit 12 rows from the cap sleeves, and then took up with the pattern again, increasing as it said to decrease. I always made sure the increases happened when I was knitting on a right side row. Once the skirt was long enough, I bound it off with a crochet hook, by crocheting one stitch, then * crocheting a 3-stitch chain, then crocheting to the next 2 stitches, repeat from * until the end of the row, ending with a crocheted stitch. It gave it a gorgeous little edge.