Sunday, March 14, 2021

Flora gets dressed.

My life these days has been reduced to three things: the seven-day-a-week legal proofreading job, trips to the grocery store, and making accessories for Flora the llama. (Well, and spending too much time on social media, but that hasn't changed in years.)

 You remember Flora, right? When I introduced her last week, I said it wouldn't take me long to weave a little blanket for her back -- and I was right. Here she is, nearly there but still a work in progress.

I had a discussion with some friends online about the color to use for the tassels on the blanket. A couple of folks suggested that I make each one a different color, and I liked that idea a lot. But in the end I went with gold, because I ended up not using it anywhere else in the project.

The item next to the basket on her back is a butterfly pin crocheted by Kitty.

The choice of headgear was a bigger challenge than I expected. My first thought was a knitted hat, and I may make her one for next winter, but right now I'm thinking spring. So I thought maybe a straw hat, but the only straw hats I've seen are sized either for adults or Barbie dolls. Her head circumference is twelve inches -- bigger than a Barbie but way too small for an adult hat. So I settled for a garland of knitted roses. I think it turned out pretty well.

She needs one more accessory: something for her neck. With pompoms, because c'mon, she's a llama. Tassels and pompoms are required.

I started knitting the band while I was working today. I'd be farther along, but it was giving me fits -- mainly because the pattern I'm using has one of those weird lace moves that cause knitters to tear their hair out. This one calls for a yarnover (abbreviated as YO) right before you purl two stitches together through the back loop (abbreviated, in this pattern, as p2 tog tbl). I think purling through the back loop is pretty easy for English-style knitters. But as a continental-style knitter, I can tell you it's no fun at all. There's contortionism involved. And every time I thought I had it nailed, I discovered I'd lost the YO.

At last I figured out a workaround. It involves an extra step or two, but the stitch comes out right every time and I haven't pulled a muscle yet. If you ever find yourself in similar dire straits, here's what to do: 
  1. If the pattern calls for a YO right before the p2 tog tbl, don't do it yet.
  2. Turn your work slightly so you can see the side of your project that's normally facing away from you.
  3. Insert the tip of your right needle into the second stitch on the left needle. The right needle needs to be pointing toward you. Slip both that stitch and the first one onto the right needle. In that order -- first the back leg of the second stitch, then the back leg of the first stitch. So far, it's just like you would do a normal p2 tog tbl.
  4. Okay. Slide the stitches off the left needle and turn your work back. 
  5. Now the two stitches are on your right needle, and they're twisted. Keeping them twisted, slide them both back onto the left needle.
  6. If the pattern calls for a YO before this stitch, make your YO now. 
  7. The back loops of the twisted stitches are now facing you, so do a regular purl 2 together (p2 tog). And you're done. Perfect every time. You're welcome.

This coming week is the final one for the seven-day-a-week legal proofreading gig. I may or may not have the energy to post next weekend. If I do, here's hoping I'll have something more interesting to talk about than llama wear.

For those who care about such things: The rose pattern is from 150 Knitted Trims by Leslie Stanfield. The pompom band pattern is called "Single Faggot Stitch" and it's from the same book. Directions for making and binding a tassel are in there, too. It's a pretty great reference, all in all. 

The band for the roses is a seed stitch I-cord and the pattern is in Knit Edgings & Trims: 150 Stitches, edited by Kate Haxell.

These moments of whimsical crafty blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Still wearing a mask and washing my hands while awaiting my vaccine...


Jo-Anne Teal said...

Flora's roses are perfect for her llamaness-ness. Great choice. Your workaround for the purl 2 through the back of the loop sounds like a good one!

Lynne Cantwell said...

Thanks so much, Jo! I hope it helps somebody. :)