Monday, March 03, 2008

the blanket project continues

Intrepid friends Alison and AK braved a snow storm this weekend to enjoy pancakes and continue work on the reclaimed felted sweaters patchwork blanket. First we cut the felted sweaters apart at the seams, resulting in a colorful pile of seams:
(I know, doesn't this look knittable? Into rugs, maybe? Too bad I didn't think of it until I'd already tossed almost all of it out. Next time.) Fortunately, our work also yielded a pile of cut apart sweaters, which Alison proceeded to lay out on the floor, picking and choosing until she had just the colors she wanted in her blanket.
After she'd decided which colors would become her blanket and which would become part of my felted sweater stash, we started cutting them into rectangles, 4 inches by 8 inches. We did this the old-fashioned way, with pattern pieces, pins, and scissors.

And we cut, and cut, and cut. After a while, Alison discovered that it was just as precise to cut the rectangles without pins, holding the pattern piece flat to the fabric, which made it little easier, but it still took f o r e v e r, hours, after which we quit and took the families out to dinner because we were utterly whipped, and still we had a formidable pile of fabric to render into rectangles.

At which point I said, you know, this would be so much easier with a rotary cutter. Now, I didn't really know if it actually would be easier with a rotary cutter, but I thought so. I'd never used one, but I knew that people who do a lot of precision cutting of small pieces use them, and so it seemed a likely lead.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, I did a little online research and discovered that rotary cutters are not terribly expensive. I already had a cutting mat and several metal rulers, so I dug out my coupon for my local big-box craft store (Jo-Ann's, which used to be a fabric store. Sigh.) and got myself down there. After exhaustively perusing the choices, I settled on this:
It's a Fiskars, 60 mm. For a short time, things went swimmingly. I was rendering rectangles at a dizzying rate. My rectangles had precision and speed. They were charming. I loved my new toy.

And then I sliced off the tip of my left index finger. Much bleeding ensued. Band-Aids were applied. A phone call to a doctor friend revealed that all I could really do was lay low and apply pressure until the bleeding stopped. I bled on my new favorite Salvation Army found sweater. Joe rinsed it out. I became pathetic. Joe sat by me. (He's a good one. We'll be keeping him.) And then, finally, the bleeding stopped.

This morning, I find that it is sort of relaxing to have a minor injury. I am more mindful as I go around the house, because I have to wonder which of my usual things I can do, and which I can't. Shower? No. Bath? Yes. Wipe down the table? Yes. Wash the dishes? No. Prepare Big's math work for the day? Yes. Read to Little? Yes, but it turns out that my tiny but constant discomfort makes me not quite patient enough for yet another round with Where's Waldo.

Thankfully, I am still able to knit. The Shetland Triangle is finished and needs blocking. Like all unblocked lace, it is a strange and shriveled thing. Blocking lace is the magical opposite of felting. Pictures of the properly blocked shawl to come.


Ipo said...

what, no picture of the finger? who wants to see lace when blood and gore is available?!

elsie deluxe said...

oh, believe me, you don't want to see the finger. Or, maybe you do, but nobody else does. It looks gross even all bandaged up.

Sullyce3 said...

Oh E....ouch and more ouch...heal quickly!!

Tara said...

I've done the same with an x-acto knife at work, comping up a project. The big joke was that at least I didn't bleed on the project and spoil the presentation.
I hope you heal up quickly. The sweater blanket and shawl look amazing.

Sandy said...

Can you knit with the finger? I guess you must be able to otherwise you would have said. No knitting would be a pretty big disability.

On a completely different note, I'm on the look out for a cool/cute hat pattern. I borrowed a hat from someone in NYC this weekend and they claim to not want it back, but I thought the nice thing to do might be to knit one. In NYC black, perhaps.

elsie deluxe said...

Hmmmm.... are you thinking a basic watch cap? I knit one up for my BIL in California, and I could tell you about it. It came out pretty well, better than I expected. No pattern, just my own knitting around.

For lots of interesting free patterns, though, check out