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Old 12-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
Knitting the Flap
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FO: Hockey Chicken
NHL Lockout notwithstanding, there are still hockey fans. One of those is my almost-3 year old grandson (and his dad, and his grandpa, and...)

This is based on the same Susan B. Anderson pattern as the UK Chicken and as I said in that post, it makes a great learning aid. This time around I was trying out intarsia, and learning that intarsia is hard. That also meant learning how to seam two edges in a way that was mostly invisible. There was even a (mostly successful) felting experiment in the mix too.

The needles were the same as the UK Chicken, but the yarn this time was Jojoland Baritone that I got on closeout for around $2 a ball. Not bad for what I paid for it, but when I first opened the bag I thought they'd sent me the sheep instead. Phew! Not sure if it was the wool or the dye or something else, but it pretty well reeked. Fortunately it didn't persist, but it did make my dog go a little nuts for a while.

I also learned a little about charting, even though the band around the bottom isn't actual Fair Isle (Fair Isle and any other technique that involves extensive use of the left hand is... problematic for me). The "wings" were the intarsia part, starting at 4 stitches of red bordered in black that shifted one stitch to the rear on the leading edge and 2 stitches on the trailing edge, with an additional 2 stitches added on the trailing edge about every 5th round to give it some stagger.

The seam was interesting because I neglected to allow for selvedge. But never fear. When you don't know what you can't do, you can accomplish all kinds of stuff. so what I did was cram a size 4 DPN in each edge for an equal number of stitches and do a fake Kitchener stitch to close it up. (Yeah, there are probably a lot of better ways to do this, but I don't know any of 'em. ) It probably didn't matter anyway, since most of the seam was covered by the wattle.

The helmet was completely ad lib. Basically it's like any other top-down hat... for someone with a head the size of a ping pong ball. To felt it, I just filled a sink with hot water and scrubbed it around to agitate the fibers. A couple of things went wrong here. First, this was knit probably way too tightly for felting purposes. Second, the yarn is white which often doesn't felt very well because of the bleaching process they use when they make it (something about the bleach affecting the cuticle in the hair or something). Third, I'd already added the red comb to it before I felted it, so the red started to bleed. So it might have worked better if I hadn't stopped in order to avoid having a pink helmet. Then I blocked it on (wait for it) a ping pong ball, holding it in place with a rubber band. So there were a lot of things I'd do differently if I were going to do it again. All of the above, plus I wouldn't have tried to add the accent stripe when I sewed it on. (And apparently my threshold for when to stop stuffing chickens is modeled on the gavage method used to make foie gras. I probably overstuffed it by at least a third.)

For all that, I thought it was hilarious. Which was kinda the point. I figure the three-year-old will like it. (Either that or he'll give it to the dog. Or the cats.)
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