Friday, April 16, 2010

a lovely lemon, a cute cupcake, and a nice finish

Okay, I know I got a little behind on the Year of Ami thing this week, and last week.
Last week, I think we can blame on the kiwi. And my obsession with just-so shaping. And, in part, we can blame this week on the kiwi, too. Because I was trying to finish that first, before going on to lemons & limes.
Then, I volunteered to make some cute knitted cupcakes for some little gift baskets for the secretaries in our office, to thank them for all they do for us during tax season. So I had to set aside both kiwis and lemons/limes to knock out some of these:
Cute, no? I forgot to take pictures until I was done with this last one, but there were 5 in all. Different colors for the "wrapper" and different fluffy novelty yarns for the "frosting". Twin1 said I should put on bead "sprinkles", but I had to skip it in favor of getting them done on time.
Finally, today, with the cupcakes done and delivered, I felt I could get back to ami. But, the thought of trying to finish the kiwi just about put me off yarn. Seriously. So, I gave myself a break, and made this lemon instead:
(Her pattern doesn't specify, but I used a worsted weight cotton, and size 5 dbl pnts. No pattern errors or clarifications - I love a good pattern! Only took about an hour to make, too.)
And then I thought this would be a good time to show you something I discovered, not long ago, about finishing off the ends of a knit/crochet item, especially a small something, with a small number of stitches at the end of it. Like, say, an ami.
If you've made many ami, you may have wished, after looking at the start and finish, that they could look more the same. I find my beginning ends look all tidy and have those little spokes of yarn, neatly radiating out from the center. Then you get to the end, and the instructions say "weave yarn tail through remaining stitches and pull tight" and you get a funny puckered little knot. I kept trying different ways of ending, hoping to get something that looked more like the beginning. Because I'm a little obsessive that way, and because it would be cool if it was hard to tell which end was which. One day, I figured it out. It's simple (maybe you already know how?) and I now wonder why basic instructions don't include this little tip. Maybe it's one of those things our grandmothers thought was obvious, so nobody thought to point it out?
Anyway, here's how it's done when you're knitting:
Cut your yarn, leaving a tail to sew with. Thread it in a yarn needle, and then, one stitch at a time, insert yarn needle knit-wise into the next stitch, take stitch off needle, and pull tail through. Repeat until all stitches are off the knitting needles.
Then, count backwards from the last stitch you sewed through until you come to the first stitch (I find this necessary, even when I didn't just do decreases, because the lower rounds try to pretend they are part of the finishing round, just at this point where they start and end) and finish by running your yarn needle purl-wise through this stitch.
Take your yarn down through the center, and out the side.
To keep the yarn from working back out, make a duplicate stitch, and run the yarn end through and out again.
Pull tight, and cut yarn end.
(see the duplicate stitch? that tiny arrow is pointing right at it here, but you won't see it later) The yarn end should work itself back in and release the pucker you created when you pulled it tight to cut it. If not, just squeeze your little creation a tad until it does.
See? Nice little finished end.
I'll show you how to do this with crochet when I do the lime (which I will do today, because I like to keep to a schedule, and it's already basically the end of the week).
In the knit version, your starting end won't look like tidy little wheel spokes:
but I still like how this looks for a finish. And, it works really well as the center of something flat, like the bottom of the cupcake.
(Yarn used for Lemon is Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Sunshine. Cupcake is Vanna Baby in Pink Poodle, with Sensations Beautiful in White for the frosting)

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