Girasole

Why, hello there! Long time no see! Sorry to let this blog go dark for so long, but I was working on my TOTALLY AWESOME BIG EFFING RED BLANKET OMG and I thought a constant stream of updates on one project for so long would get boring. But now that my Girasole is done, I find it anything but boring! Here’s a shot of the center sunflower motif up close:

Yayyyyyyyyyy. I am beyond pleased to have finished this so quickly — and just in time for some more overcast weather. I was worried that what passes for winter here in southern California would be over by the time I finished making this, but in retrospect I shouldn’t have been — Girasole doesn’t have any more stitches than a large shawl, it just seems intimidating because it’s knit in worsted weight wool & therefore is ginormous. I actually finished knitting this two weeks ago, but Pat & I spent a week visiting Austin and I didn’t get a chance to block it until this weekend. It was very nice to knit during the coldest, rainiest month I’ve ever spent in SoCal, though — it was very snuggly to have a big blanket-in-progress on my lap all that time.

And now it will facilitate couch naps! Knitting this was every bit as fun as everyone says it is — the constantly changing pattern gives you something to look forward to and mark your progress by. I omitted the last repeat of the last chart because everyone on Ravelry was bitching about how much yarn the edging took and I didn’t want to run out. I thought I had enough, but since I’d special ordered the yarn from goddamn Nebraska I was not in the mood for a nailbiter. It turned out that I would have been fine; the edging took somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 yards, which is basically what I was expecting. I also didn’t find the edging nearly as tedious as everybody else seems to have; the pattern for it was easily memorizable and it just took a couple of nights in front of the John Hughes movies that Pat & I have been working our way through courtesy of Netflix. I suspect that most people are so anxious to be done by that point that the edging seems like it takes forever, but I had a pretty zen attitude about it — I was frankly pleased to be so close to done so quickly.

What did irritate me was the blocking process — I was a little shocked that pinning out the damn thing took over three hours and an emergency trip to Rite-Aid for more safety pins. Earlier in the week I’d visited two LYSes and called a third looking for more rust-proof blocking pins, but nobody had them. I could have driven to Jo-Annes, but it was too far for me to bother, and I thought I had enough safety pins on hand to make it. But alas. One of the many ways in which I look up to Anne Hanson is her infinite patience with the blocking process — she claims to actually like the pinning-out process and find it soothing and meditative, but I have not yet ascended to that plane of existence.

Here I am demonstrating how this blanket is going to help with my dissertation research:

And here is a longer shot of the blanket on the couch, demonstrating a little more clearly how it ties the room together:

I’ve got a couple different small projects on the needles now, but I’ll save them for my next post. For now, I’m off to do some very snuggly reading!

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11 thoughts on “Girasole

  1. Holy shit that is quite an undertaking. Nicely done.

    Btw, your/my scarf has acquitted itself well in this rigorous winter. I’m sure your girasole will not encounter such conditions soon, but my guess is it’ll do better than survive.

  2. Gorgeous!! Now I can’t wait to get back to mine after the Knitting Olympics is over!

    I picked up some blocking wires some time back and haven’t had a chance to use them, so I’m going to see if they speed up the blocking process at all on the Girasole. I guess blocking wires are really better for blocking straight items, but they seem worth a shot…

    • Since Girasole is round & has the pointy edging, pins are really a better way to go unless you have a whole bunch of those bendy blocking wires. What I did was place a pin in the center & tie a piece of yarn to it that I cut to be as long as I expected the radius of the circle to be, and then used it to place all my pins on the points of the edging. With this method it’s best if you do the 4 cardinal directions first, & then halfway between each, and halfway between each, etc. It does take a million years, so be sure to leave yourself a whole afternoon or evening!

      • That is so fantastically scientific — how did I not block my circular knitting in such a way before? I do have a pile of blocking wires, which I thought I could at least use as kind of a framework to make it more even, but now that I know of this radius technique, the wires are going to get saved for more rectangular work. I wish I had known more about knitting in middle/high school; I would have actually had a reason to care about geometry.

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    • Thanks, David! It does sure help with the dissertation I’m-not-getting- anywhere blues to be able to actually, you know, make stuff. 🙂

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