Yes, at precisely 1:02 this a.m. I clipped the final piece of yarn and the biggest knitting project I've ever undertaken in my life was done. It was quite a surreal feeling and I had to sneak back into the living room a couple of times before climbing into bed to make sure it wasn't all just a dream.
My husband was suitably shocked and awed to see the completed afghan draped over the couch this morning and to show just how impressed he was with my work he offered (such a sweetheart) to hold it up outside for me so that I could get a good picture of it in daylight.
Keep in mind it's just hovering around the freezing mark today and it is one of the rare Sunday's he had to go to work and we live on the 4th floor of a brownstone in the middle of the city.
Not every man I know would so proudly flaunt his wife's work on the sidewalk in front of all the Sunday dog walkers. But then he's been very patient too as I've been knitting away on this project. "Just 100 more stitches and I'll start supper, and oh, just let me pick up all those stitch markers before you vacuum, and oh, wait, don't move that, I'm in the middle of a row. Can you just sit somewhere else for now?" He definitely has earned the right to snuggle under this afghan first although he tells me it's so nice he's afraid to use it.
Of course, after a MAJOR knitting accomplishment such as this I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge all the other help I got behind the scenes. So I'd like to thank:
-My BKF for sending me the link to this pattern after she heard I bought a Tree of Life Pak-Persian Rug . Her confidence in my knitting skills was astounding considering I was only knitting scarves at the time.
-Amy Singer for being there at Webs when I was looking for the yarn and recommending I give Berroco comfort a try (it was the perfect yarn for this project)
-the staff person at Webs who helped me find this color and enough balls of yarn in the same dye lot
- Duke (my papillon) who stuck by my side through the long hours of knitting and made sure I took regular breaks
-And all of you who have put up with post after post of alternating bragging and complaining about this project and have still kept returning to read my blog anyway.
The particulars of the project are as follows:
This is the Tree of Life Afghan Pattern by Niky Epstein. I made one adaptation to the pattern by substituting a row of artichoke shrubs for 2 repeats of the garden section. The artichoke shrubs came from the Nature in Natural Afghan Pattern. Both patterns are available from Lion Brand Free On-line patterns.
The afghan is knit in Berroco Comfort Worsted Weight(50% acrylic, 50% nylon) Color 9760 Dyelot V1315. I used number 8 u.s. (5mm) knitting needles for both the body of the afghan and the border as well as a cable needle for the tree sections.I knit the border separately (as per the pattern directions) and stitched it on afterward using a modified mattress stitch which I'm at a loss to explain.
Before stitching on the border I washed the body of the afghan on the handwash cycle and laid it out on a quilting pad on top of our bed, pinning it to block it. It came out really well and the blocking made it much easier to attach the border with stitch holders (love those things).
I first cast on for this afghan on October 18, 2009. However, I did not work on it exclusively and barely touched it during most of the month of December. I'm not a fast knitter and I frequently make mistakes which means there were numerous rows of this afghan that were knit two or three times over which is just to say that the project may easily be completed more quickly by a more experienced knitter.
On reflection, the biggest hurdle for me with this project was in my head. I often avoided this project for days or weeks at a time because the thought of starting another new section of pattern was overwhelming and then later, because the thought of doing that particular section all over again was depressing. Or because some days I just didn't have the physical or mental energy to work through it. However, if you like new challenges and enjoy repetition in your knitting projects and have plenty of uninterrupted knitting time then these things should not be a problem for you.
I have also determined that projects of this weight and size are just too heavy for me and that my next afghan will definitely be knit in squares. BUT, all of that being said, I'm REALLY, REALLY, REALLY glad I stuck it out and I am so thrilled to have this afghan grace our home.So, here's where it's going to live -- just like I envisioned it when I first saw the pattern. Color me content!