Friday, August 31, 2007
~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.
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! LOLAlso, 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