Friday, March 30, 2007

Looms in bloom: daffodils

We returned from Argentina this past Saturday from a wonderful vacation to what has been a disastrous week at home. The terrible events of this past week are too numerous and unbelievable to list and even though I couldn't find the time to knit, I knitted in my mind while riding or driving from one place to another or laying in the bed as my prequel to sleep. Bright yellow daffodils, the fruit one of my mental knitting exercises, finally materialized in yarn form late last night. These little beauties were made on the eight peg end of the Knifty Knitter spool loom. The basic steps to making this flower, which is made from the top down, are as follows:
  • Using two strands of yarn as one, do a chain cast on using all eight pegs of the spool loom. The cast on edge forms the lacy lip of the "cup" on the daffodil.
  • Flat knit for eight rows.
  • For the petal, work an eight stitch I-cord between six of the pegs. (Instructions for the I-cord stitch technique are outlined in the jellybean basket pattern). Due to the narrow opening in the center of the spool loom, I had to pull the I-cord "petals" to the outside between the pegs as I completed each petal. The best loom for this project would be a regular gauge six peg spool loom with a standard opening in the center. I've not seen one with these specifications available anywhere, but Noreen Crone-Findlay's spoolies come close. Eventually, I may get brave and just make one, but for now the little pink KK spool loom was the loom of choice from what I had laying around.
  • Do a hang hem by lifting the ladders between the pegs from row eight of the flat knit row onto corresponding pegs. This step was difficult, because there is so much bulk in the small opening of the KK spool loom that it is hard to determine which strands of yarn you need to be lifting. Therefore, if you guess incorrectly, you will need to touch up your mistakes with the yarn needle at the end of the project.
  • Flat knit for one more row.
  • Do a gathered bind off. Cinch the yarn tail tightly and tie off leaving a 12-inch tail.
  • Thread one strand of the yarn tail on a yarn needle for doing touch ups.
  • Finishing touches include running a gathering strand at the base of the"cup" and tightening it to make it smaller at the bottom. Also, depending on how good your guess was on lifting the ladders when you did the hang hem, you may need to cinch the vertical space between the petals.
These are actually fairly easy to make. The biggest aggravation was the compromises that had to be made for the inadequacy of the loom. Now all I need to do is buy some emerald green yarn to make stems and leaves.