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Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Piece of Pi? or, it took a while but it's finally cooked (groan)

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Did you ever wonder what happens if you can't wet block?

I decided, reluctantly, to knit this shawl in acrylic (argh!) The recipient is unknown to me and I do not know if she will have the time, energy or enthusiasm to pin out her baby's shawl every time she washes it. I like to think it will be used not put in a blanket box and never see the light of day. I do not know if she has any knowledge of natural fibres and if she might bung this in the machine and, were it to be merino or alpaca or some such, if she would then take out a soggy felted mass at the end of the wash and be consumed with guilt and regret at spoiling Aunty Nancy's present. I do know that sometimes it is good to be practical :) I did look at superwash merinos and I pondered on their durability, but, the blocking issue still reared it's ugly head, and as the photograph above shows the unblocked Pi can be a little wrinkled and somewhat small.

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I can see that it is still a pretty thing even with it's wrinkles however I do not want the unknown recipient to be disappointed in her gift from Aunty Nancy and the acrylic option is not only machine washable and not only can it be dried in the tumble drier, both of which are very good attributes when items for small children are concerned. Not only these, dear reader, but it can also be ironed.

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When it is ironed it not only lies a little flatter (I probably could have got it completely smooth, but more of that later) but it also grows. Same sofa, bigger Pi. How do you multiply Pi, why you iron it of course :)

Now ironing is not my strong suit. Have I told you the nursery and DD1 anecdote? I will some time, if you haven't heard it before. It involves DD1 finding the perfect way to let all nursery staff know that Mummy doesn't do ironing! Anyway, I crossed my fingers during washing. It says it can on the label, but do we believe the label? I double crossed them during tumble drying. It says it can on the label, but do we believe the label? I held my breath and double, double treble crossed everything during ironing. You see, I cannot iron, I do not iron. I have visions of melted plastic stuck to the bottom of an iron. When my little sister was born and my Mum was in hospital my Dad, being the helpful chap he is, decided he would do the ironing and he ironed a pair of my Mum's tights. I rest my case! Anyway, back to the shawl.

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You have no idea how much I regretted the acrylic decision during ironing.

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I really wanted to wet block and even out the steps at the end of each round.

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I really wanted to pin out those points and make them super pointy.

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I missed making the backs of my legs and knees ache, and my arms cry by crawling on the floor on all fours, stretching and pinning and measuring and repinning.

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But in the end I think it was OK to do it like this :)
I am quite pleased with my Pi.

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I think it turned out alright. I think Nancy will find it a good enough gift for her first great grandchild. I think the unknown recipient will find it easy enough to care for. I am sure she will be better at ironing than I am!

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And I really like the border!

Pattern Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl
Yarn Sirdar Snuggly 4 ply, 5 x 50g balls, white, Nylon/Acrylic mix (shudders!)
Needles KnitPicks Options 3.5mm
Blocked (sic) size 46" in diameter.

I did either the increase or YO k2tog round every 6 rounds from the centre out until I had 9 YO rounds, then knit straight ss until the next increase. K 40 rows, add 3 more Yo k2tog rounds and then add Godmother's Lace border. I really like the gs border it is easy to memorise and adds a plain but pleasing effect to the edge.

Hmmmm, I enjoyed that.
Now I can get back to the Garden Party.

ETA DH said "you can get one of those for £4.99" and my reply, "No you can't I made it up as I went along and it's the only one like that in the whole world",... even if it is acrylic! :)

9 comments:

Kai said...

Your Pi looks very yummy! I think with babies, the better option is to knt with acrylic. It really does look gorgeous. :)

Annette said...

It looks lovely! Never mind that it's acrylic better to have it used, loved and admired than stuck in that blanket box! Or worse still ruined by some over enthusiastic washing! Love the border, it finishes it off perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I agree - it does look beautiful and will be used rather than leaving the mother horrified to touch it! (I know, I've been there - not with a shawl but with little cardis/tops - only one was ruined, my excuse is that I didn't knit then...) Abi x

Soo said...

That looks lovely -- it will be received with great pleasure I expect!

And I agree the border was a perfect choice.

Knitbert said...

It's really lovely, and I think acrylic is very sensible for little children and babies. It looks gorgeous anyway, and irons out very well. I'm impressed that something so lovely can be washed and tumble dried....
I have an ironing story which involves DS, and I suspect is similar to yours. It happened at a coffee morning with loads of other mothers.
I don't iron and haven't for many years - except while dressmaking! Solidarity among non ironers!

modelwidow said...

It's absolutely perfect - I love the border, and practical machine washable yarn just has to be the best choice for this to have the use it deserves.
I' sure babe, mum and great grandma will all be delighted.

YarnSnob said...

This is beautiful J

Anonymous said...

Where does one find the pattern for this edging? I would love to use it!

Jacqui said...

It's called the Godmother's Edging and from memory it will be in either the Heirlom Knitting Book or One of Barbara Walker's Treasuries of Knitting Patterns. Hth