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March 7, 2011

I should have known.  The words “knitted tablecloth” should have been enough of a tip off.  I should have known that clever phrases in the pattern notes like “holiday deadline” and “timesaving solution” are really entirely at odds with other phrases like “family heirloom.”  I should have known, way back with there was still time to turn around, that this was not a project to begin with two weeks left until Christmas.

And yet.

It began way back last April when I talked my family into a handmade Christmas gift exchange, and I drew my grandma’s name.  I’d seen this tablecloth pattern by Annie Modesitt in Handknit Holidays, and knew that it would be just the thing.  Except.  I ordered the yarn (Knitpicks Simply Cotton Organic Sport in Marshmallow), and then discovered that it is expected to shrink 5-10%.  Because the lace pattern is knitted onto the napkins, I was concerned about the yarn shrinking after the thing was knitted.  So I unwound the balls of yarn, skeined them, washed and dried the skeins on high heat in mesh bags, and re-wound them into balls.  I should have known.

Finding cream-colored cotton napkins should be easy, right?  Except apparently, it’s not.  And I should be able to whipstitch 168 stitches around the edges of each of six napkins in a couple of hours, right?  Except apparently, my whipstitching skills are nothing to write home about.  Add the 588 grafted stitches to connect the napkins and the approximately 7,000 stitch edging, and you’ve got yourself one thoroughly epic project.

On the plus side, this project stayed portable for a long while, because each napkin is done separately.  Which is good, since this was my only knitting project for almost 3 months, and it spent a lot of time on Bay Area commuter trains.  Once it reached the grafting stage, it saw a lot of Knit Nights, and was the object of a lot of knitterly encouragement.  It took quite a lot of stubbornness to get it finished – besides being convinced that my grandma really does deserve a Christmas present, I was worried that I would never finish it if I started something new.  So I didn’t.  For three months.  (Hence the complete lack of knitting content around these parts.)

And now that it’s done, the only question is — now what?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 12:02 pm

    Oh, Ashley! It’s beautiful!! Worth all the time you put into it, definitely.

  2. Ashley permalink*
    March 7, 2011 12:09 pm

    Thank you, Kara! I’m glad I put so much time into it, but I’m also glad to see it done. 🙂

  3. March 15, 2011 6:09 am

    Now what? Relax and enjoy your beautiful family heirloom. It’s beautiful! I couldn’t imagine tackling a project like that, mainly because I don’t know how to knit, but “tablecloth” would make me run screaming in the other direction.

    • Ashley permalink*
      March 15, 2011 9:12 am

      Thank you! I gave it to my grandma last weekend, and she put it straight onto her dining room table. I very much hope she enjoys it. And you know, the knitting in this project was the simple part – it was the non-knitting, fiddly bits that really got me. But yes – for a beginning knitter, I’d recommend starting with something more like “scarf” or “washcloth.” 🙂

  4. March 18, 2011 9:39 am

    This is gorgeous! It sounds like quite a project (so much grafting!), but the end result is just beautiful.

    • Ashley permalink*
      March 18, 2011 4:40 pm

      Thank you! It was quite a project, but I’m glad I did it. I think my grandma was very pleased, and plus – I’ll never have to look up grafting instructions again!


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