A happy New Year to everyone who celebrates the same this week.

Progress continues on the Mystery Project. Apologies to those who
have written in dying to know what it is, but I can’t reveal more
details without permission from those who have contracted for the
article in question. I haven’t asked them yet if I can do
so. Being late on delivery doesn’t put me in a position of moral
certitude from which to ask special favors.

What I can say is that it’s fulled, it’s knit from Classic Elite
Renaissance in purple, it’s double stranded, and it’s being embroidered
right now. In addition to the base purple, I received several
complementary colors of the same yarn in which to do the ornamental
stitching. The design I’ve sketched out is a fanciful fruit, sort
of like a Renaissance pomegranate. Given the colors supplied, it
was either going to be that or autumn leaves, and leaves are all too
commonly seen. Because the stitching yarn is worsted weight and
the ground is fulled quite thickly, I’m taking pains to use stitches
that cover ground and anchor without requiring that the stitcher pierce
the fulled cloth completely. Yanking a needle full of worsted
through a tight fabric is a huge pain. There’s also a bit of
couching, in which a lighter thread is used to fix down the heavier

On yarn consumption – I’ve seen people dither at yarn shops because the
project they wanted to make required just a bit of a contrasting yarn
for the ornamentation. They’ve wondered if it’s truly necessary
to buy a whole skein for just a yard or two. Sometimes it’s
not. If you’ve got a good stash and have yarns roughly comparable
to the suggested one on hand and you are comfortable color matching (or
selecting a whole new color suite) – there’s no particular reason to
buy a whole skein for a tiny bit of embroidery or other
embellishment. Stitching in the same color as the ground is also
a possibility, especially for fulled items, as the color/texture play
of the original texture yarn used for the stitching and that of the
fulled background can be very effective. Or if wools are being
used, I sometimes look to the yarns sold for needlepoint. They’re
thinner than knitting yarns, but can be worked multi-stranded to make
up the equivalent. Personally, I prefer the look of stitching
when done in thinner wools, so I’d probably use tapestry in less than
worsted thickness equivalents, but a commission is a commission and for
this item at least I’m sticking to the "use what’s furnished"

I’m still not 100% pleased with the item. In spite of intensive
swatching, my final row:stitch gauge fulling ratios were off a bit and
the shapes didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I wish I could do it
again, taking the lessons learned on this piece to make the second one
better. That’s a big problem with fulled pieces compared to plain
knit ones. Unlike unfulled projects where you can always rip back
and start again, you only get one shot at the fulling. After that
you’ve got what you’ve got and you can’t return to the beginning.

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