Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Under the Mistletoe

My knitting ADD was really bad this past week.  No sooner did I read the Knitting Daily post about the Celestine Tree Topper and watch the video than I made plans to knit the thing immediately.  (Did I mention it is a free download?)  I rationalized my impulse by exchanging this project with another one that had yet to be started but, would be for the same person.  I also decided that this close to mailing deadline the original item would just take too long or else keep me up for days and nights.  I am truly trying to stay sane this Holiday Knitting Season so thought this exchange would be a great idea.

The size of the Star put me off a bit as did the white fabric.  I certainly don't want a 10" star with white bra cups on top of my tree so my thinking was that neither would my DIL, Liz.

 I could also see my son, Matt, making off color jokes and the whole thing put into a closet somewhere never to be seen again.   What a waste of good knitting.  So I thought: 1- a smaller needle would make a smaller star; 2- sparkly yarn would give it a more festive appearance; and 3- lighter weight yarn would also make it smaller.

I took myself, that very afternoon, off to Knitting Etc because I knew there would be some lace or fingering weight sparkly yarn in stock.   Sure enough there was some Filatura di Crosa Gioiello in white with metallic gold thread.  Perfect.  I got me 2 balls, just in case as the pattern calls for 288 yards and one ball is only 200 yards.

This star is called a dodecahedron (12 sided) but really is a stellated dodecahedron as the regular shape has flat sides.  Do you think my mathy brain may be part of the fascination with this project?

I just had to start this immediately that evening. Nevermind the other Holiday items that needed finishing.   This one called to me big time.  After some false starts and downsizing the needles to zeroes (it calls for US 2's) I got the hang of the points and how to add more and managed to get 2 out of the needed 12 done in a couple of hours. Then the knitting was placed in my bag in readiness for guild on the morrow.  This turns out to be a nice social pattern as once a couple of points were completed I didn't need to look at the instructions to know the process involved in knitting each point.
By Saturday evening I had it half done.

The markers are to remember which ones were done most recently.
Here's what the inside looks like.

However the white began to look dingey.  Joanne thought if Liz' decor was country it would fit in nicely as the look was very natural (um like old wash).  My son and DIL do not have a specific decor with 3 kids running about but they do live in CA and have practical tastes.  Country natural is not it.

What to do?   We thought maybe bleaching would whiten the yarn.  HA! Bleaching made it yellowish.
Now what?  AHA!  dye it.  So I made a small skein and experimented.  This stuff dyes easily and since it is small it dyes quickly in the microwave.  I debated whether to dye the half already finished and then the remaining yarn or to wait.   Waiting won out.

Here's point 9 on its way.

See how grey it all looks instead of sparkly?

Eleven points were completed and the beginning of the 12th.   Then those stitches were placed on a heavier cord and the same cording tied up the remaining yarn.

Much more festive now methinks.

I have done relatively few stuffed projects.  I thought I had way more than enough stuffing but was surprised at how much a 7 inch diameter star will eat.  The instructions suggested getting the majority of the star stuffed before starting the 12th point.  However I read on Ravelry about some people having difficulty picking up stitches once it was puffed up.  So I changed to 6 dpns from 4, started point 12, stuffed and stuffed and poked and stuffed and poked (Jim gave me the poking tip.) then knit a bit and stuffed, and knit and stuffed until it was whole.

On Tuesday morning I proudly showed the star to Cathy, who wondered about this displacing a possibly treasured tree topper already in place in CA.  Hmmm.  Again I did not want the star put back into its box and onto the shelf forever.  
Cathy came up with the neatest idea.

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