Monday, May 24, 2010

FO: Super-Secret-WEDDING-Prezzie-Made-Of-Lace

If your birthday is coming up, and you were hoping Piggy might be knitting you something nice and lacy for it, I'm sorry to say you're SOL. Dudes. It takes more than a birthday to get me to knit a reasonably large knit project in less than three weeks. You know, like committing yourself to another person for the rest of your life.

Which is something my dear friend Megan, aka megknitficent, aka "Veil Girl" did on Saturday. It was a great day: the bride was beautiful, the groom handsome, the speeches short and sweet, the food tasty, the live Celtic band fun, and a wonderful time was had by all.

And for some strange reason, with less than a month to go before the big day, Piggy decided to knit a Hemlock Ring Blanket (rav link).

It's not a terribly difficult project, I know. And many knitters have whipped out one in just a couple of days. But for me, a champion procrastiknitter, frogger and yarn over-phobe, it was a bit of a big deal.

Here we are at Round 47, where the feather-and-fan starts:

Row 47

Almost all of my knitting issues with this project came before this point. There were a couple of frinking incidents, and one episode of wholesale frogging. What's interesting (to me, anyway) is that the chart doesn't start until Round 47; I've been chart-phobic forever, but it was the written instructions that tripped me up.

Sixteen days after first casting on (four days before the wedding) it was off the needles!

Straight Off the Needles

Now, I knew, of course, that I'd be needing to block this. But I have to admit I was a little nervous looking at it in this state. Despite all the Hemlock Ring Blanket projects I'd stalked on Ravelry, I wasn't entirely confident it was going to work.

But, armed with two new sets of mats (thank you, Canadian Tire, for having them on sale), in addition to my old ones, as well as 27 bajillion T-pins, I went over the top onto the blocking battlefied.

Three-and-a-half hours later, I had managed to wrestle the lumpy mass of wool into a reasonable facsimile of a lap blanket.


I didn't emerge unscathed, mind you. The enemy inflicted some injuries. But I learned a few things...

  • It isn't necessary to shove the heads of the T-pins with such force that they are flush with the surface of the blocking mat; in fact, doing so will pretty much guarantee cuts under your fingernails when you struggle to remove them.
  • Especially if you are shoving them in and removing them a bajillion times before you're done.
  • When buying blocking mats for the first time, buy several sets. At least two more than you think you'll ever need. If you don't, when you go back to the store two years later for additional sets, they won't match up. Even if they look identical and are bought from the same store. 
  • Have gin on hand. Plenty of it.
  • A friend would be good, too. A strong one.
  • Don't knit round lace items. (Although I've since been told I could make blocking wires work for round objects...or make a blocking frame for them.) 
  • When you're done, walk away. Don't pull out all the pins and start again. It will look exactly the same when you're done. If not a little worse.
  • If you're a hopeless lace knitter, people will appreciate the effort anyway, even if you've buggered up the blocking. Especially when they've just married the love of their life.

Fortunately, even with the blocking drama, I managed to complete the blanket on time, and bring it with me to the reception hall. Whew.

Project Details:

Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket by Jared Flood (actually, his modification of a vintage doily pattern by The Canadian Spool Cotton Company)
Yarn: Cascade Eco+ in Real Teal (8440), approx. 1.2 skeins
Needles: 6 mm/US 10 Crystal Palace DPNs, 6.5 mm/US 10.5 ChiaoGoo bamboo circular, 100 cm/40 in.
Cast On: May 2, 2010
Completed: Cast off May 18; blocking completed May 22.
Modifications/Notes: I couldn't bring myself to trying a new cast on, so instead of the circular cast on, I just went with the long-tail cast on. I used 6 mm DPNs rather than 6.5mm ones, simply because I didn't have the 6.5s. I knit to Round 60, one repeat of feather-and-fan beyond what the pattern calls a "standard-size throw"; the resulting blanket is approximately 53 inches across (to the best of my recollection).

In the rush to wrap the blanket up and get out the door to the wedding, I neglected to take a proper finished picture. I'll post one of Meg's when I can. I'll leave you with a close up of the pretty flower part, though.


Best wishes for a lifetime of wedded bliss, Meg & Augie!


  1. That is beautiful - well worth all your angst :-) Congratulations ! :-)

  2. It looks fabulous! You did a wonderful job!

  3. Job well done. It's amazingly beautiful.

  4. Gorgeous! I am suddenly overtaken by the urge to knit one (or at least buy the yarn for it!). Amazing work, my dear Piggy. :o)

  5. That project has been in my Q forever I will make one some day. You can knit me something for my bday in August it doesn't have to be big LOL. It came out beautifully nice color too.

  6. It is stunning. You also had be totally fooled. I'm very very touched (and a bit teary) that you knit this for us. I'll take some pictures for you today I hope.

    Thank you for everything.

  7. Your secret lace project looks amazing! Great work and what an amazing wedding gift to give!

  8. Good job! At this rate, you'll have to start calling yourself a process knitter!!

  9. I'm CERTAINLY building the lace frame for when I block Girasole... which probably won't be until 2013... but when I do, you're welcome to use it for all your blocking needs :) You know... for when you knit another round lacey thing ;)

  10. Absolutely lovely--congratulations to you and to the newlyweds!

  11. Gorgeous! Beautiful yarn, and it turned out so well!

  12. Turns out that "beautiful" is the first word that leaps to mind for most of us who see your finished blanket. Great job!