Bridgewater by Jared Flood- progress so far

I started work on a Bridgewater for my Mum’s 60th birthday a few months ago. I love the pattern and along with the Malabrigo lace that I dug out of my stash it feels suitably special for a big birthday.

The pattern is  worked in 3 parts. The first is a big garter square. It’s nicely done; you start at the corner and increase either side to the middle and then decrease either side to the end. I wasn’t looking forward to knitting a massive garter stitch square in feather weight wool on 2.75mm needles…… However after much procrastination when I actually got started it wasn’t so bad at all. I am a fan of knitting that gives my brain a break and as the fabric is very fine it fitted nicely into my handbag to carry around and get on with whenever I had a spare minute. I thought it would take forever but actually I finished it in a couple of weeks.

This is the first time I’ve knitted with Malabrigo lace as it’s pricey and I wouldn’t spend that much on myself.  As it was for a special occasion I used a ball I was given for a present which had been waiting patiently in my stash for a suitably important occasion. That way I only had to top up the extra wool I needed. The wool is lovely to knit with and the fabric feels beautiful. It’s so soft and light and now I want to make something for myself out of it!

The second part of the pattern is a lace section. The directions for picking up stitches along the outside of the garter stitch square were easy to follow and the lace itself was fairly simple and easy to remember. Trying to work on a lace pattern in dark green lace weight wool proved something of a challenge; as soon as it got even vaguely dark it was impossible to see.  For the first couple of rows I was only able to work on it in daylight. I had a little break from knitting this after I finishing the garter square so by the time I started on the lace time was ticking away a little.  It was very frustrating not to be able to just get on with it. Once I’d got the pattern going and I could see how it was taking shape I decided to risk it and sort of guess what I was doing when it got dark and I couldn’t see. Luckily that turned out fine and I didn’t make any major mistakes. I really like the way the lace has turned out, it’s very pretty and didn’t take too long at all. The only problem with it is the colour. The dark green makes it very difficult to see the pattern when it’s darker and so hides a lot of my hard work! I’ll have to make sure that I hand it over to my mum in broad daylight……

 

The third section is lace edging. I had another break from the project in between finishing the lace section and starting this as it looked a little intimidating. It required a provisional cast on. I have been avoiding provisional cast ons for some time and have been known to cast on in the normal way and unpick it just to avoid having to learn how to do it properly (that was a massive pain in the arse- I wouldn’t recommend it). However, as this is a present, I had to do it properly so I finally learnt. The tutorial on Knitty was very helpful.  It was a bit fiddley at first but once I’d got the hang of it I didn’t mind it too much.

The edging itself is fairly time consuming. It’s a 13 sitch lace panel which is worked back and forth. For every 26 stitches you pick up one stitch from the main body of the shawl and effectively cast it off. Given that there are 786 stitches around the shawl this is the worlds slowest cast off! On the plus side it looks very pretty but panic is now setting in that I won’t finish before the 8th October deadline. I suspect that I shall be dragging this project around with me where ever I go between then and now! Wish me luck!

Knitted presents are the best presents

My mum’s 60th birthday is coming up in a few months and I’ve started thinking about what to get her. Since I started knitting my first thought for a special present is a knitted present. When I first started knitting I suspect that this was less of a pleasure for those who received them  than for me. A variety of  oddly shaped items greeted them on their birthdays. Their pleasure on opening their hand made presents came more from the thoughtfulness of the gift than aesthetics of the item…. These days I like to think that I friends and family members like both thought and the present itself (or have got better at pretending to look impressed).

So I have sourced a lovely shawl pattern and picked the wool. I’m even planning to treat her to some malabrigo yarn (I won’t be ruining the surprise as she really doesn’t like computers and almost certainly isn’t into blogs even if they do belong to family members). Of all the people I make things for I know that my mum with be the most grateful. She’s reached an age where she can just buy anything that she wants and really appreciates the time and thought put into a handmade present (especially from her least reliable daughter – I might not remember to call her back but at least I haven’t totally forgotten about her).

Probably the only thing I like more the giving home made presents is receiving them. I’m really lucky that I’m not the only crafty person in the family and my sister will often send cross stitch presents and if I ask really nicely my mum will crochet me a little treat. One of my most treasured possessions is a blanket my Mum made for me. I’ve always wanted a granny square blanket and this one is perfect. Not only is it warm and cozy and looks amazing (without being too twee) but to know that Mum sat and made each square individually and then sewed it all together makes it totally special and irreplaceable.

If I hope to return the favour I need to hurry up and finish my project and get started on that shawl!