Monday, August 3, 2015

Show and Tell: Christmas Present in August

I'm really trying lately to finish works in progress, so that I can move on to my new and exciting ones without guilt. Yesterday I finally gave my brother and sister-in-law their Christmas present: a Seahawks - Patriots toaster cozy. Yep, a toaster cozy.

My sister-in-law is from Massachusetts and is  a lifelong Pats fan. My brother and I are lifelong Seahawks fans. (He had a Steve Largent poster on his childhood bedroom wall; Jim Zorn was one of my earliest celebrity crushes.) Here's the Patriots side:

I was prescient, was I not? Because it looks like a Super Bowl XLIX-inspired present, but I conceived the project and bought the yarn in December 2013, when we hadn't yet experienced the awesomeness that was Super Bowl XLVIII. I started making the cozy last October, when the Hawks had just lost to the Rams and we worried whether they would make the playoffs, let alone play in the next Super Bowl.

I made this using the intarsia technique, with Caron Simply Soft acrylic yarn. NEVER AGAIN. The yarn is nice and soft, and it had a great shade of bright green for the Hawk's eye. However, being acrylic, it does not stick to itself at all. Stickiness is a good quality when you're doing intarsia and changing colors in the middle of a row! It was hard, very hard, to make it look good. But I'm stubborn.

The intarsia piece is knitted in one wide, short piece. I learned to do it from YouTube videos -- specifically Staci Perry's and Arenda Holladay's videos. They are my go-to knitting teachers.

I created the color chart in Microsoft Excel from two free charts I found online. That part was really fun. I learned how to do it from this ChemKnits blog post. I believe the Patriots chart I used was also from that blog. The Seahawk logo chart I used is here. I love how knitters are willing to share their hard work with each other! Because I wanted the Patriot and the Hawk to be face-to-face, I reversed the Hawk logo.

Construction was simple. I knitted the intarsia as one wide, short piece. I think the cast-on was around 170 stitches. The intarsia piece goes from the back left corner of the toaster around the front, to the back right corner. The top and back are made from a single piece of stockinette. I seamed the two pieces together using mattress stitch.

I used a steek in this project -- steeking being yet another absolutely insane thing to try to do with acrylic yarn. I knitted the top/back piece in the round and then cut it to lay flat. That's how much I hated purling then. (I've worked on it.) The steek was perfectly fine. I used the crochet method, with a very sticky wool yarn. I don't think it would have held if I had not had that fine, crazy sticky yarn  to keep the acrylic safe from fraying.

My yarn sense was not as developed when I bought the yarn for this project. If I had really thought about it before starting, I would have realized that I had made a bad yarn decision. This cozy would have been just as functional and way more enjoyable to make if I had used wool. But my brother seems to love it, so WIN FOREVER!!!

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