Friday, December 21, 2012

A Year's Work

 Around a year ago, I started making a wedding gift for my friend of 20+ years, Rebecca. By the time her wedding had come and gone, I was still working on it. She assured me that it was okay to be late with a wedding gift, as long as it gets to the bride within a year's time. I finished it and sent it with about a couple months to spare!

I knew that Rebecca appreciated old-fashioned things. I wanted to make her a delicate, lacy crocheted bedspread, but thread crochet drives me batty. Instead, I chose a beautiful pattern from Terry Kimbrough's book of baby afghans, and using a larger hook and thicker yarn that called for, I hoped I could make it bed-sized very easily.
It scaled up just as I had hoped, but in the end (after 14 skeins of yarn!) it was getting heavy! Although it never got big enough for a "bedspread," it makes a nice cover for a double bed (above) but on a king size it looks more like a bed doily.
 (Whatever you might choose to call it, ladies and gentleman, at this point it is not an afghan!)
I followed the pattern for the center, but developed my own deep border from several of Terry Kimbrough's other blankets in the book. I wanted something exuberant, elegant and Victorian.

I was very excited when I was doing the last row. I timed myself and found it took 2 minutes to add picots to each scallop, so I knew down to the minute when I would be done with the project!

And now for a few construction details and tips:
I wanted to use the luxurious-feeling skeins of bamboo/silk blend yarn, but for a project of this size, the price was beyond me. I found that the Simply Soft brand yarn had a nice sheen to it, which I could pretend was something with more elegant fibers (Rebecca can pretend that, too, and be glad it's washable).

I figured out a way to tame my runaway yarn! Sometimes the skeins get tangled, and I wind them into a ball to use. This fruit container from Costco was just perfect to hold the ball, with the tail strung through one of the spaces. It worked well for the regular skeins, too.
I needed about 12 inches depth on the border. To make a decision about the order of the design (and change my mind without having to unravel yards of work), I made some sample swatches to look at. I did eventually sketch out a final design on paper that I could refer to, but these swatches were a big help in getting there.

The border rows were started a little ways before each corner. This gave me a chance to see what the corner looked like, and  if I needed to adjust the number of stitches or the corner in any way before I had crocheted a whole side. Less to unravel if there is a mistake that needs fixing!

I was pretty pleased with the finished result. I'm not sure I'll ever do something of this magnitude again! I think Rebecca was pleased, too.
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