Friday, August 31, 2007

Lizzie is ALL DONE!! WHOAAAAA!!!!!!! And she was so worth it!!

(Click Here for Larger & Better Pic)

~My Journey (Project Details)~

Pattern: Lizard Ridge

Needles: Denise Needles US #8 & #10, Crochet Hook: G

Size: 30 squares - 5 panels, 6 squares per panel (5x6)

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden - 27 balls of various colorways & Cascade 220 #8886 (1 and 1/4 balls for seaming & edging). My goal was to have a "purple" color patchwork theme.

(Click Here for Larger & Better Pic)


Cost: A freakin mini fortune! The pattern originally calls for Noro Kureyon, but I wanted to use Silk Garden since it is softer but it also costs $2 more per ball. Worth it!! Okay here is the bottom line number....this does not include the seaming/edging yarn and Eucalan soak wash - but does include discounted yarn along the way and me using the "extras" from each ball to make 3 miscellaneous squares as fillers instead of buying 30 balls of yarn....therefore this really could have cost me much much more.....okay for real here it is LOL $266.12 (would have been $306.74 w/o the discount yarn). Yes I know the exact penny b/c I have everything organized in an excel worksheet including how I had planned to layout my squares by colorway. Just the accountant in me from my former career!

For: DEFINITELY ME ME ME ME!!! But I do plan to pass it down to my children; children's children; and children's children's children! :oD

Time: March-August 2007. This project reinforced the character trait of being tenacious! :o) Haha! The only reason why I pushed so hard to finish this month is b/c I did not want to see it go into September! LOL Some have finished this project in a month and a half!! *cough*Spring*cough* And some never finish. It just really depends upon your excitement, focus, and motivation! :op And as y'all know I lost my steam several times over the 5 month period. I swear I could have easily shaved off 2 months of this WIP but took breaks, knitted other things, and soooo procrastinated on the seaming and crocheted edging.

What I learned: ~"Define that for me..."~ Well let me first say I always took for granted knowing what the word "afghan" meant. As many "non-knitters" inquired about what I was making I simply replied "an afghan" and some would look at me like I had 3 heads and some would be bold enough to ask "what is an afghan?" *gasp* So while I was doing some light knit reading - the notorious Elizabeth Zimmerman made mention of it in her Knitting Without Tears book and described afghans as "being longer than they are wide (yep that is Lizzie alright!). But I like how Webster dictionary describes it as "a blanket or shawl of colored wool knitted or crocheted in strips or squares". Ironically that is how EZ describes a blanket! Haha! I simply replied back to the clueless ones "It's a blanket" :o) ~Anyway enough of that!~

If it wasn't for the wonderful Piper (who is blogless but you can see her on my fav LYS blog!) that patiently sat down with me and showed me how to do short rows (and it took me a minute to "get it") I could have never been able to do this project since it is KEY!! Haha! Thank you so much Piper!!

After I got my head wrapped around the short rows, about 3 panels later Connie showed me how to knit backwards! And that helped me tremendously not having to twist and turn my work (even though I had that down pat by then LOL) and relieved some of the pain I was experiencing while knitting on Lizzie in my left hand.

Also, I did not know how to crochet at all and was gearing up by learning the basics at a small local crochet group (met some new folks!). Well again, Connie helped me out! She was a sweetheart and willingly showed me how to do the actual crochet edge (in various ways) for the afghan on a Sugar & Cream swatch I knitted up just for the purpose of practicing! So yep, I did the crocheted edge all by myself and I am SO proud!! Yah Me!! :oD Let me tell ya I have those DCs down pat now! And I really got my rhythm going while doing the edge too.
Look at that!! Yah Yah Yah!! I really wish more knitters who did the afghan would have shown close ups of their ruffles. So I just had to get that shot in (read below about the mods).

Let me just say I got a sense of satisfaction that I didn't think I would get from crocheting since I grumbled the whole time learning it (but knew it would be the best way to do the edging = on a very large circumference/faster to crochet) and so glad that I did! I really wish I had learned to crochet first before I started knitting.

Aah lets not forget the joys of seaming! LOL Oh my goodness my back and knees were killing me!! What I learned is that I did better in doing the majority of the seaming and edging during the daytime on the weekend. When there was lots of daylight and I didn't feel rushed because I had more time. :op

Because of all my freakin body aches I have come to learn to cherish the opportunity to actually sit while knitting! Haha! Being on your hands and knees is no joke! And let me just say as I was crocheting Round 2 boy 'oh boy did my legs "heat up"! Yep! This afghan will surely serves it purpose! LOL It was nice to cuddle up against it before it was completely done to get a nice preview of how I will keep warm during the upcoming fall crisp air and cold winter!

I did do one big "no-no" by cutting the weaved ends as I knitted up the panels (there were TONS of them! And I am not mad about that decision b/c it would have easily added another 2 weeks on my progress! LOL). Also, it wasn't until halfway thru my process and general knitting knowledge that I found out you should never cut your weave ends until you have blocked the item Doh!....shish! Hopefully, Lizzie will not unravel! LOL

Modifications: The obvious you may see is that I knitted it up in long panels, rather than separate squares as the pattern indicates. I also wanted to make the afghan wider and added another panel making it 5x6 rather than 4x6. As I already mentioned I substituted the original pattern yarn for the Silk Garden. This yarn line by Noro has much more subdue colors and had lots of purple selection! I sometimes did not switch out on the ends of my balls directed by the pattern, but rather on how I felt or what color I wanted to see. I even sometimes cut certain colors out (mainly too much greens, navy blues, and pinks) that I did not want to dominate my afghan. And the last modification was with the crocheted edging - I used a "G" hook rather than the called for "F" but look back on it now and wish I used an "H" or "I" to make bigger ruffles since I crochet tight b/c I am still a new crocheter. I also did 7DC instead of 6 skipping 3 rather than 2 SC transitioning with a slip stitch rather than a SC for a more defined ruffle. Dang! It really does sound like I knew what I was doing! LOL

Also, some may wonder about if I blocked or did not block. My answer is I actually did a "semi-block". I love the egg carton/alien bumps that naturally happen while you knit the lizard pattern in short-rows! It adds great character, but I knew I wanted to have my edges not curl so much when I got ready to seam since it is all pure stockinette. So after I finished each panel I spread it out next to another one (helped me in deciding how I wanted to arrange them as well), pinned it down and lightly sprayed water on the edges only of the panel. I figured the bumps would naturally fall out over time anyway with bath soaks and use. And actually I thought all of the bumps were all gone on my afghan, but there is still some "hills" there when it is not all stretched out and I like that!! :o) I do wish I had started seaming the panels while I was still knitting them, once I knew what order I wanted them in (probably 3 panels into it b/c I only made one switch around). It would have been less miserable! LOL

As of right now I do not have any plans to add a backing to the afghan. One fellow knitter told me during one of our 'knit & sit' Saturdays at my favorite yarn shop (Charlotte Yarn), "Why would you want to cover up your beautiful knitted (hard) work" (from blogless Jessica), and so I was like "You are right!!". The back of Lizzie is completely garter stitch of course since the front is stockinette - if anyone was curious to know about that (below is a quick pic of the back too).

Verdict: This project was indeed a journey! I loved knitting on Lizzie and the pattern will always be etched in my head! LOL The Noro made it fun to knit with because of the ever-changing colors and to see how it was all going to turn out! And I was truly sad when I made my final BO edge, but felt a huge relief that it was all done! LOL I love the fact that I only had to CO and BO 5 times total!! So I was very glad I knitted it up in panels, because again I detest seaming!! :op Also, if I would do it over again I would have done it as a 5x5 afghan since the 6th square makes it extra long. But so glad I did the 5th panel to give it more width. It was worth the 5 extra balls of Noro for my satisfaction!

I would more than likely not make this again just because I am so over it now! Haha! This is a big project. "IF" (and you can see that is a big one too! Haha) I did I would make a mini-version like a lap throw or baby blanket. Although, I would recommend to those who want to knit a keepsake to go for this project! You can make it any size you want to, for your style and budget.

Thank You!! To everyone that took the time out to read all of my Lizard updates, and every word of encouragement and cheer you provided to me!! Also, to every blogger who worked on Lizard Afghan that unknowingly gave me tips and to that special blogger who answered my e-mails about her F.O. - Spring!.

A HUGE THANK YOU! To Adrienne for literally listening to me whine and complain thru every step of the way of seaming and crocheting Lizzie! LOL She was literally my cheerleader (with the red & purple pom poms literally! :op) during late nights and my IM encourager!! Connie for helping me practice my crocheting edge and being my on-call 911 crochet "lifeline"! Always willingly made herself available to help me!! And I absolutely can't forget my sistah blogger friend Anna! Who was my mini-KAL pal!! When I didn't want to knit on Lizzie anymore she gave me that extra healthy competition to keep going! In fact, she was the one who inspired me to even start on LR and not have it as a "dream". Anna was also great always responding to any inquiry I had and encouraging me at the very end when I needed that one last push!

And how could I not forget to thank God....Big Mama...Pookie and dem!! LOL!!! I am really done!

Of course I must show you one final touch that is the "official stamp" :oD

*Whew* I think I will go treat myself to another french mani now! ;op

40 Comments:

  1. Adrienne said...
    RAH RAH SIS BOOM BAH! LOL, YAY!!! Glad it stopped RAINING!!!! This has to be the LONGEST post you have EVER written! I only had to walk away once and then come back to finish! LOL J/K! IT looks GREAT!! YAY! Glad you are DONE DONE DONE! OK...I should have just emailed you! LOL
    Erica B. said...
    That is beau-ti-ful!
    Michaela said...
    I bow down to your greatness! That is by far the best Lizard Ridge I've ever, ever seen. It is awe-inspiring and makes me want to get my needles out right now and try to emulate it. Sadly my LR is much more garish and I'm beginning to regret it. Oh to have gone all purple!
    Dave said...
    You have created an incredible piece of art -- I love it! The colours you chose are wonderful, and I really like the strips rather than squares. It looks much more unified that way. From reading your description, it sounds like it was not only a very, large and long undertaking, but a real learning process as well. I say, good on ya, and congratulations!
    Wendy said...
    Holy long post! But I think a project of this grandure deserves it! Your Lizzie is fabulous!!! I'm so jealous! Maybe this fall I'll pull out all my squares and begin the seaming... maybe.
    Jeanine said...
    It's FABULOUS! Such beautiful colors. You really did a great job.
    Channon said...
    That is just beautiful. I'm almost afraid to let my mother inlaw (who looks at my computer screen off and on) see it; I'm not sure I care to tackle Lizzie, and I do have that secret project to finish for my hubby...

    You sure sound like a crocheter! I'll have to bring a hook and some cotton when we meet!

    Congrats on a job very well done.
    Michelle said...
    Atee...Atee (me crying like the Tin Man in the Wiz)! Girl, I am soooo proud of you! Lizzie is more than beautiful!!! Its so incredible to see you preserve through this project and now see the work of YOUR hands! You've learned alot of lessons knitting this project that you can take into your everyday life. What a wonderful legacy to leave for your family. Lizzie will always be a story about having a vision for some thing great, preserving through any that stretches you beyond your comfort zone, the friends you make in the process, and the legacy your work can leave behind! Again, I'm so proud of you, and you're representing "Charlotte Purls" with Excellence!!

    Okay...enough before I really start crying!!
    Cas... said...
    Hooray Lizzie is complete! Sounds like a knitting journey. I am so happy for you. It's beautiful! I love it! I don't blame you for not lining it. That doesn't sound necessary. I can't wait to see your other projects in the works!
    del said...
    Another gorgeous Lizzie! You & Anna both did INCREDIBLE jobs. You've inspired me to knit up this pattern, which at first glance (in Knitty) didn't move me at all. It's seeing other knitters do it & interpret it that makes a difference. Good for you for learning to crochet the border! Awesome job!
    Octopus Knits said...
    Great job! It turned out just beautiful. I'm definitely going to have to make one at some point.
    KimT said...
    Hurray for you! This is so gorgeous! I commend your for investing time, money and yourself in this progect. And I love you tag!
    Rosi G. said...
    Definitely a masterpiece!! I LOVE it!! Make sure your kids treasure it as much as you do. Curl up under that sucka watching movies so that they will always remember using it with you and will know to treat it with love and care later.
    Deborah said...
    wow, what a masterpiece! I just want to feel it.
    KelInCal said...
    Look at you! That is one big, beautiful, purple afghan! I'm impressed! And you totally lost me with that technical crochet speak!!

    Congrats!

    P.S. You should pass this on to your children's children's children's CHILDREN for that price!
    diddlinaknits said...
    OH MY GOODNESS!!! IT's Beyond Beautiful!!! I love the colors and how the whole blanket looks all finished up!! You did an awesome job!! If i were you i would drape it over my shoulders and parade it down the busiest street in your city and tell everyone you made that LOL OK maybe not!! but wow what an accomplishment!! congrats!!!
    Spring said...
    Holy crap, Stacey, your blanket is BEAUTIFUL!! Congrats on getting it finished and enjoy that baby!! You did a wonderful job!!
    Renee said...
    That is amazing! You did a gorgeous job. If we ever get to do an Ebony Elite meet up in Charlotte, you will have to bring it along for show and tell!
    Lynn said...
    YAY!

    A standing O from Wisconsin for you.

    It is amazing. And you are so worth the money..just think how much entertainment value you got from making it and now you have a useful item forever! :D
    Connie said...
    I so enjoyed reading this post all about your journey with Lizzie!

    What courage you showed by taking on such a huge project, determination in getting it done, fearlessness to learn short rows, backwards knitting and crochet to accomplish it and the sheer boldness to spend the big bucks to make it in what you really wanted to use.

    This part of your post:
    [I also did 7DC instead of 6 skipping 3 rather than 2 SC transitioning with a slip stitch rather than a SC for a more defined ruffle. Dang! It really does sound like I knew what I was doing! LOL]
    really made me smile, because YES you do sound very advanced with your crochet terminology!


    I for one was happy to help in some small way and to take part in watching your journey with her. Oh and I for one, agree no backing, she is just as pretty on the back!

    Thanks for sharing with all of us!
    Christie said...
    Absolutely beautiful! Great job!
    hope said...
    FINALLY!!! i figure out how to leave a comment!!! oh my goodness this is GORGEOUS!! i'm going to have to get you to knit me one...or teach ME how to knit one myself!!! you are doing such beautiful work.....gosh...i'm speechless....so proud of you!!!!
    anna said...
    ROFL, girl, you deserve another french manicure!!! I definitely learned a lot while making my lizzie. You've gotta learn proper seaming, crocheting, and not to mention PATIENCE. it's truly a virtue, LMAO!!! GO GIRL!!! :-D
    Karine said...
    That thing is massive! And gorgeous, huzzah on your work.
    Twisted Knitter said...
    I love love love your Lizzie!

    The photos are excellent and this whole blog entry had me wanting to cast on for one of my own! I came to my senses though . . . LOL!

    I know you already realize just how incredibly fortunate you are to have so many wonderful teachers and helpers!

    Congratulations for being tenacious! And . . . Excel spreadsheet? WOOOT! Now who's the accountant?! LOL!
    Brown Berry said...
    Truly OUTSTANDING.
    This is a major knit milestone and I think the edging tops it off perfectly! I love your colorways in this too and I hope it brings years of warmth and comfort.
    Sheila said...
    Your Lizzie is absolutely stunning... and glad to hear you learned to crochet. You and Anna's LRs are master pieces.
    turtlegirl76 said...
    Seeing this in person today I have to say, you did it justice with this post. So thorough! It's absolutely gorgeous Stacey.
    PAJNSTL said...
    Congratulations on finishing! It's beautiful!
    James said...
    That is amazing! I can't believe you knit that entire thing so fast. It looks wonderful and I hope it keeps your family warm for a really long time.
    The_Add_Knitter said...
    Fantastic, what a major accomplishment! And the personalized tag is the perfect finishing touch;)
    Monique said...
    Wow that looks like a lot of work. Great job!
    pamela wynne said...
    Oh, Stacey, it's beautiful!! Congrats on finishing it!
    Janet Richards said...
    This is absolutely beautiful!!! I had seen this pattern but it was too much of a commitment for me, but I will have to rethink after seeing your wonderful creation. Congrats to you!!
    a friend to knit with said...
    wow! spectacular!
    Lorette said...
    Stacey, that is just spectacular! A long round of applause from the Left Coast!
    gold said...
    That is so beautiful!!!!!Yes it is worth it!!!
    carlita dee said...
    Fantastic post! Gorgeous project! Thanks for sharing all this great info.
    bark3344 said...
    I "stumbled" upon your post by accident.
    It took me 10 days to finally "get" short rows.
    A miserable case of bronchitis and a severly sprained ankle have given me a ton of knitting hours.
    bark3344 said...
    I "stumbled" upon your post by accident.
    It took me 10 days to finally "get" short rows.
    A miserable case of bronchitis and a severly sprained ankle have given me a ton of knitting hours.

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