Gift knitting is always a tricky one for your average knitter. On the one hand you don’t want it to take over your life, on the other hand you want it to be so glorious that everyone around you sees your greatness. Vanity is a great motivator, and so begins the tale of the tree pillow.
My good friend M is a cross stitcher, and in the process of moving house she unearthed a bag of yarn from her one and only stint as a knitter and kindly re-homed it in my direction. Inside this bag was also a set of nine completed squares, the starting point of the blanket which never was. I felt sorry for these squares, once they represented a new hobby, an ambitious beginner project which gradually fell from favour and wound up vacuum packed in a loft. I also felt a bit sorry for M, these squares must have slowly destroyed the knitter in her (and, judging from the 12 balls of yarn, not even made a dent on the intended blanket). These squares were a failed dream and lost time. Playing with these squares I quickly realised that they made a good grid and were about the right size for a pillow. “Aha!” I thought “Christmas is coming and her new home could do with some new stuff. Let us turn a broken dream blanket into a Pillow of Glory!”
Hours spent poring over my stitch directories led me to a nice tree pattern (twin trees II) from Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns
This is a nice way of creating a picture by using knit and purl stitches, but in my brain it looked lacking in colour. Now I have done intarsia colour-work before and I have certainly done cables before, but never the two at the same time. As Mr T would say, “I pity the fool that tries complex techniques to a deadline”. What with miss-crossing a cable (fixable, but make sure you have a little lay down before and a large glass of wine after), 14 bobbins doing the twist and Christmas rapidly approaching my iron-will crumpled like a wet rag and it went into the sulk pile.
A pair of Batman hats for my nephews later, I was back in the game. Surprisingly things starting getting better (not to say I didn’t buy an emergency present just in case). The tree narrowed and the bobbins were removed, the finish line looked close. But, matching someone else’s gauge (especially a beginner’s) is a bit of a task. By this time I had picked up edge stitches to create a border and some of the stitches weren’t even facing the same way. Time was up and sadly Santa wouldn’t let me move Christmas (even though I had been good all year). Hopefully she will never notice that the massive blocking, stretching and swearing session slightly failed to match her work to mine. Maybe next year I will give her a nice book.