Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Star is Born

I have for you today two more Christmas items I actually made over the holidays this year.

The first is an ornament ball crocheted out of 34 gauge craft wire (two strands). The beads were prestrung on the wire and added after every other stitch.

I used a very simple ball pattern from Dragonfaeriee Crochets, originally intended for children or pet toys. Instead of doing it in two halves and sewing it together, as the pattern says, I made it one piece. I could get away with that because I wasn't stuffing it with anything.

I was hoping the ball would be a little more malleable, but it's not too bad a shape--not quite sphere, but close enough. (Next time I'll think about stretching it over a clear glass ball if I want it to be more "perfect.")

It was a quick project that I finished in a "bonus" afternoon when a flight I was supposed to meet was canceled. Working with wire is always a little fussy but no worse than some fussy yarns I've worked with!

The second project was a little more involved (to grossly understate the situation). It certainly took more time, for one thing. And it had a lot more shaping and fiddly work. But the pattern caught my eye just at the right time to take advantage of some clearance yarn and...ta da! a star is born!

It is a dodecahedron, (in the "small" stellated version according to Wiki); that is, a twelve pointed star. How could that not catch my eye, right?

The pattern is by the prolific Norah Gaughan, well written and easy to follow. Each point is made in the identical way and joined as you go by picking up stitches off of previously made points. There's a lot of casting on, however, and it all goes in fits and starts as each point is quick, but there are 12 of them to do.

Things zip along like holiday traffic (fast in between bouts of stop and go) until you get finished the penultimate point. Then you have to stop and stuff:
Then you have to figure out how you're going to pick up all the stitches around the opening for the final point.
Things are a little stretched out and although it is quite straight forward, that doesn't mean it's simple to actually do!

But I managed. Then you proceed to knit the final point, stopping occasionally to stuff it while you still have the chance.
(That opening is only going to get smaller.)
Until finally, the point is knit; the star is stuffed; and you are holding a perfect 12 pointed star in your hand:
It really came out great.

Project Stats
Started
: 12 Dec 09
Finished: 2 Jan 10
Pattern: Celeste (free)
Materials: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk (color 144), 1.2 skeins @ $7.50/ea
I'm very happy I used a "luxury" yarn for the star--it is a tree-topper after all and should be worthy of that position of honour. The silk gives it a very nice sheen without being as gaudy as actual sparkles!

I was planning to just lay the star on the top of the tree next year (removing the center spike that's usually there), but Troy has plans for suspending it from the ceiling so it hangs just above the tree. Should be nice.

I haven't had a tree in years, so this will be a nice incentive to get going on it next year.

4 comments:

  1. I had my eye on that yarn but didn't know what to do with it. Good call!! They are both wonderful.

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  2. Thanks, Kallie! Yes, it was beautiful sitting in the basket, wasn't it? Hard colour to wear but worked great for this.

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  3. Oooh cool. Now I see what you meant by stellated dodecahedron. I really like your star. And crocheting with wire - pretty nifty as well. Not something I would think to try on my own. You say 34 gauge wire and I'm trying to remember, that's pretty thin wire. How big is your wire ball? Anyway, very nice work here as well!

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  4. Hi Darla--34 gauge is thin. Working with a double strand is easier than working with a thicker wire. (I can thank the designer Romi for that tip.) The ball is about 3 inches across.

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