15 October 2011

Pumpkins, or let the gourds begin

Halloween or All Hallow's Eve aka Celtic New Year's Eve has oddly inspired me this year so I guess it makes sense that I should revive the blog at this time of year.

Little side line about the gap in blog postings, I've written drafts, I've saved them, edited them, and consciously decided not to delete them but also not to publish them.

In the age of cult of personality and over share, I'm still in the don't drop the veil mode which will, undoubtedly confuse the Hades out of those who see me as a total extrovert -- buzz, sorry, wrong answer, thank you for playing, please try again, we have these lovely parting gifts. . .

Short-form is wrist/hand has improved since last report but not as much as promised. I'm still dealing with challenges from the fracture that I'd rather not but I'm coping.

Onto the pumpkins.

Recently I knit some knitted balls and blocks for a friend's grandchild.

The balls were done using short row wedges in garter stitch. They are really just one of many variations of a Knitlist pattern exchange recipe -- double pie wedge short rows that form a ball.

Since my walkabout knitting was still sort of in the training wheels stage of its comeback, I had some trouble keeping track of how many wedges I'd worked. To remedy the situation, I decided to finish each segment with a plain knit/purl row to give me a reference/sanity check. Once stuffed they had a ribbed sort of look that, had they been orange rather than yellow, looked a bit like pumpkins.

This got me in the decorating mode so a big ball of orange cotton jumped into my cart at the local JoAnn's and it was suddenly a let the gourds begin moment.

A big challenge was finding the yarn for the stem. In a good/bad news moment, I'd not actually managed to unload some nasty Xmas green acrylic so it got pressed into service.

The first one I did got "filled" with an inflated 15" helium quality balloon.

The rest were stuffed it with a mix of crumpled junque mail and plastic shopping bags. I didn't sew up either end (stem or bottom base) of the pumpkins so that I can remove/recycle the stuffing and store the pumpkins flat when they aren't seasonal.

So what's the recipe? The basic recipe, as mentioned, is from a gift to the Knitlist from 1995 which, sadly, no longer exists on the web except perhaps on the wayback machine. The nearest version I've seen is from Tia Judy's page which is more pattern than recipe but I'm providing the link to help 'splain how the short row pie wedges work.

My versions are 48, 36, 30 & 24 stitch cast ons @ about 5 spi (stitches per inch) but any evenly divisible by 3 which results in an even # of stitches will work without too much thought/effort. Twelve wedges for a nice full pumpkin.

Short form recipe = cast on 48 (36, 30, 24) . Knit 32 (24, 20, 16) wrap & turn "orphaning" 16, (12, 10, 8) stitches. Knit 30 (22, 18, 14) wrap & turn "orphaning" 2 sticthes. Continue last two rows until you've reversed which side the stitches are orphaned. Complete the wedge in the next row, and this is this is the key to the ridges for the pumpkins, by purling 48 (36, 30, 24). Eleven more wedges, cast off & sew cast on & cast off stitches together.

Stem -- with green pick up about 24 (or any multiple x3)
stitches. Arrange on dps -- join. Knit one round. Knit 2, Purl 1 all round for 2 rounds. Next round K2tog, Purl 1 all round. Knit 1, Purl 1 round for 2 rounds. Bind off.

Cut yarn, weave in ends blah, blah, blah. Stuff with tissue paper, crumpled junque mail or plastic bags

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