Tuesday, December 29, 2009

#15 Gift Wrapped Package is Complete!

When I first saw this block (no offense to the designer... Marge Hayes) I thought it was... ugly. Sorry to be so blunt, but the block has these huge petals or leaves on it and it just did not appeal to me. Our course instructor showed us the block WITHOUT the petals and I could not wait to make it! It is gorgeous and to me... it resembles a square gift wrapped package with ribbons and a fancy bow. The petals, to me, cover up so much of the block. The Editor's note on the pattern reads, "You either really love the leaves or you really don't... the square is beautiful without the leaves." I agree of course, but when I read the pattern designers inspiration for the block, I had a whole new respect and appreciation for the design. The designer writes, "garter stitch (border) represents the running band of a brick wall; smooth stockinette stitch, like patches of lawn bisected by a path; branches, clover, leaves, and finally bobbles that look like raspberries. I didn't know how I would finish the center until I got there and it came to me. I'd use I-cord ~ perfect for (flower) stamens!"

Wow, how creative is that!? That being said, this block was an absolute BLAST to make! Dare I say... it was maybe the most fun one yet!? The block starts with 196 stitches joined to make a circle on circular needles (of course). Then you decrease at each of the four corners on every other row. The pattern is complicated enough to keep you interested, but logical enough that you actually start to memorize it. The middle part is completed on double pointed needles. My dpn's are duller than my circular needles; that made the "raspberry" bobbles a bit tricker. When you are almost done, you are left with 12 stitches. You put 4 stitches on each of 3 dpns and then you make two inches of I-cord (each 4 stitches wide). You leave a long tail on the I-cord and then wrap the I-cords around each other to make an attractive looking center to the "flower". The raspberry bobbles and the flower center resemble a bow and the great cables resemble fancy ribbons on a gift wrapped package. Whatever the case may be, I LOVE this block.
You can see from some of the photos, I am making my first official attempt at blocking! My mom got me these blocking mats from http://www.knitpicks.com/ for Christmas (Thanks, Mom!). I pinned the block into shape and then spritzed the block with water (got a cheap spray bottle in the area where you find irons at WalMart). I hope this does the trick. Maybe blocking won't be so scary after all. I hope I have good success with this method; it is a super easy method if it works! More on that tomorrow maybe...

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