Mustard smiles

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          Remember my “mustard jumper” ? I knitted it out of 100% cotton yarn, in such a lovely colour. It caused so many smiles during the making of, that I thought it would end up being one of my favourite jumpers and eventually just fall apart, worn out by old age. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out this way.

          I wore the jumper once, washed it, and put it away in a drawer while I thought of more ways to make myself like it more. Once it was finished it stopped making me smile, and for about five years or so, it stayed in the drawer making me frown.

          Eventually I decided there were no more smiles available in its present form, and on one of my five hour train journeys to visit my sister, I undid it and arrived at Little Sister’s House with a bag full of tightly rolled balls of cotton yarn… And the bottom “ring” of a hexagonal lampshade.

          I let the shape of the ring, and the thinness of the yarn tell my fingers what to make and by the time I made my return train trip home, I had a pattern forming of small diamonds, twisted strings, and a diagonal design of berry knots … And I had started to smile at it again.

          Instead of knotting from top to bottom as I usually do, I started to knot from the top left and eventually ended up at the bottom right. The original lampshade had been of particularly good quality and I don’t think a weaker one would have stood up to the amount of pulling and tugging needed to stretch the final pattern into place, but with a few sore fingers and a pair of very aching wrists I pulled the design into place and waited for the next bit of inspiration.

          I didn’t have to wait long, the top ring of the lampshade was a hexagon shape too and as the heavy knotted centre of the design pointed down towards the bottom left, I decided to balance the picture with the smaller hexagon suspended on the strings below to the right, and gently fill the gaps with some dark brown wooden beads I’d bought.

          The strings took a bit more thinking than I had expected, as they had been worked diagonally across the large hexagon, when their direction was changed to hang down, they were too close together, but I solved that problem bt tying off and cutting a few strings to continue.

          The diamond bead pattern I added to the left of the strings caused a little frown, but I carried on, one little frown could be overcome.

          Unfortunately, the little hexagon didn’t quite hang straight, it was slightly higher to the right, but I worked out in my minds eye that with a little pushing and shoving of the knotting along the top line, and maybe a few threads of sewing cotton strategically pulled through the supporting strings, I would be able to fix that so I carried on knotting, downwards this time, not from left to right as I had on the large hexagon above.

          As the diagonal bar of berry knots appeared in a similar design to the top. I decided the diamond knotting to the top left of the little hexagon was too plain, but instead of undoing what I’d done already, I again worked out how I could tie a charm or two onto the plain stripe and continued knotting.

          By the time I had knotted the corresponding diamond stripe below the berries, I still had hopes of decorating the little hexagon with tied on charms, but as I neared the bottom of it, it became very obvious to me that my tension was too tight and no amount of pulling and stretching of the string was going to make my pattern work without a couple of extra rows of knotting. I knotted an extra two rows of diamonds and pulled the pattern tight to secure it onto the bottom of the ring… Then I left it hanging on the wall waiting for more inspiration.

          The more I looked at the whole piece, the less I smiled until eventually I frowned so much that I took a pair of scissors to it …

          I cut out the offending knotting. I also undid the few knots holding the diamond beads to the left, and eventually took the design back to the last time I was happy with it.

          This may seem a little drastic, but the more I looked at it in its previous state, the more the whole thing was in danger of heading to the bin, so if everything went completely pear-shaped with the cutting, I really had nothing to lose.

          The hexagonal lampshade had been one of a pair, I made use of the second “ring” by tying it onto the first and just letting it hang down as a guide, then I carefully undid just enough of the “chopped” knotting to be able to tie on extensions. I’ve worked out that twisted strings are the best place to hide a join in the thread so that worked pretty well, then I continued to knot the twists and thread more little brown beads to form a pattern.

          Hubby follows world affairs, I just decorate it, but sometimes the affairs of the real world affect life, even on my little planet. I started to run out of beads and my stash had originally come from China.

          Well, you can imagine, there was another wait while new supplies were ordered, despatched pretty quickly and then delayed on route.

          Eventually the little package completed its journey and landed on the doormat.

          With some more knotting and threading I finally had all my beads in place and although I wasn’t overcome with a wave of satisfaction, there were no more frowns. The imperfections are small enough not to make me frown. I have enjoyed the making of this piece, it hangs on my wall now with an air of indifference so it will shortly be looking for a new home as I already have another project in mind.

          More from before: A little peek further into the world that I’ve “Created“.

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