Workbasket Wednesday – Last Christmas Gift of 2020

I am still trying to finish the blanket that was supposed to be a Christmas gift for DIL.

Each and every chance I get, I knit. Even if it is a couple of stitches, it is progress.

This is the last border that needs to be finished before piecing it all together. About 1/2 way through the bind-off, I ran out of day. Off to bed I went.

While blocking, 3 dropped stitches in the bind off made themselves known. 🙁 This is what happens when I am rushing. I took a safety pin and caught up those pesky loose stitches, to be dealt with later.

Speaking of blocking… When I finished the last side border, I tossed them down near the blocking squares. I then left the room to get a snack… or something. When I came back I pinned down a border and the 4 clock arms for blocking. After I got them thoroughly sprayed with water I realized that I had just re-blocked a top/bottom border. :-/

I am not sure if that is a comment on the futility of blocking or on my lack of observation skills. Either way, I couldn’t un-block now. I had to wait until it dried.

I had set aside the middle of the blanket to work on the borders. While the borders were drying, I picked up the main part to work on some of the decorative parts. All of the decoration details are done in chain stitches.

Starting with the easiest part, I circled the grey center. The instructions said to get a plate to measure for the center circle-inside-a-circle. After tracing around a salad plate, cutting out the paper pattern, I folded it in 1/2, then in 1/2 again, and then in 1/2 again. This left me with 3 creases in the paper that created 6 sections. Opening up the creased circle, I placed it in the center of the grey portion, taking the time to carefully carefully tug the blanket until the grey area around the paper pattern was close to the same size all around. After making sure that the creases were lined up as desired, I basted 3 lines of running stitches that divided the “clock” into 6 “slices”. Each “slice” was chain stitched along the basting lines. If you look closely at the basting lines, you may notice that 2 of the basting lines end in-thin-air, so to speak. I didn’t notice until after completely chain stitching the first line. It looked funky. After checking the pic in the book, the chain stitching was carefully picked out along with all of the basting lines. After re-orientating the pattern, all of the basting lines were put back in place. All of the chain stitching done, the basting yarn was pulled out. The book also shows 2 additional lines of chain stitching that weave back and forth across these lines. I was already behind in my Christmas deadline, so decided to skip it.

Now, onto the fun part… choosing the places that the arms of the clock will point to. For that, Google and I looked at images of the clock from the movie. I decided to take a mix of the movie ones and ones that I wanted. After deciding on the 6 places, I opened up Word. Typing each of the places in the standard size and font, I selected all to try them in several fonts. Blackadder ITC won. I enlarged the words to be large enough to reach the borders of the page without causing any of the letters in any of the words to jump down to the next line. Yaaaaaaaahhh… the sizing it wasn’t that straight forward. Nearly all of them were too big for the area they were to inhabit. The placement of the words in the book show them close to the center grey circle. OK, I measured how wide they were. Taking that measurement and mathing a little bit, it was easy to figure out what the custom borders needed to be and still allow the words to fit. Once that was known it was back to “select all” to change the font size to the largest that would fit in that width. Yeah! Now there was patterns for the words. One at a time, they were cut apart and pinned in place. Starting with the two middle-most letters they were carefully chained stitched through the paper. Then the “pattern” needed to be cut, the angle adjusted around the curve, re-pinned and so on. Some of the places were double-deckers. In the midst of chaining the near words I realized that the upper-deck words would actually have more width to fill. Back to the computer for more mathing, changing of the borders and resizing.

With all the words finished, I could no longer put off attaching the borders. Top and bottom first, then sides. The instructions said to attach the borders using matching colored yarn. Ummm… OK. But the side of the borders and the sides of the center are different colors! How was I supposed to use matching colors to attach them? Whichever color was chosen would be glaringly obvious. After a few aborted attempts it occurred to me that I didn’t need to use some sort of back and forth type of joining seam. One color could be placed over the other color. Placing the red edge barely over the white and using red yarn it was all joined using tiny back stitches.

After which the ends were all woven in and the book was checked for next steps. The very idea of getting the decorative chain stitching detail straight, around the square, so procrastination of that step became the order-of-the-day. Back to the straight lines on the clock face to add the weaving lines of chain stitching. It wasn’t as difficult as it seemed and was good practice before tackling the square border. It also made the center of the clock face look more finished than before with just the straight lines.

Remember that safety pin that I used to secure the dropped stitches? Well, when the boarders were sewn on, the pin was secured in place. This is as far as it could be backed out:

Dang it! Wire clippers will need to be utilized to correct this problem. Another problem that I kept noticing was this area of ugly stitches:

Located in a prominent location, so as to be glaringly obvious to all. 🙁 At first glance it had looked like there was some funky joining of two stacks of stitches (2 having become 1). After a close look, that hadn’t been the case. It was something to do with the ends that were woven in on the back of the piece. bleh.