Sunday, 28 August 2011

318 days

318 days of work. Not like, every day work . . . but it was there and in progress for 318 days.

That's 10.5 months.

I started it before Boober was born. It was supposed to be his. Now, I don't think I can let the kids play with it.
What is it? My trusty and faithful Companion Cube.

Long ago, I went to Shall We Knit, and I got myself 3 skeins of Cascade 220. 1 in pink and 2 shades of grey. I carefully transported it home, and brought it inside, full of caution and optimism. This was to be Boober's Companion Cube - to keep him company on long, cold nights. To always be there for him when he needed it most. To play with in the car seat, and the stroller, and wherever else he might be.
And then I prepped for the big cast on. I printed out the pattern. I wound skeins into infinitely more useable balls. I checked the Ravelry pattern page for info re: needle size - and I froze in horror. The yarn called for in the original pattern is fingering weight. The yarn I purchased was worsted weight. For those of you who a) don't knit, or b) don't give a fig about gauge - there is marked difference in the size of these 2 yarns. This would take the Cube from a handful, to something rather . . . large.
I cast on anyway. 'So what,' I thought, 'it's a toy! Gauge isn't really important! It's kind of funny when you think about it.'
And then I knit a few rows. And it was kind of tedious. But hey, it was for Boober and his Cube! A worthy cause! But stranding over 13 stitches kind of made me want to stab one of my needles into my hand over and over. So I put it down. For months.
It was only when I decided to knit the cube itself in a plain grey, and duplicate stitch the motif on that I was able to actually make the knitted sides. At first, I was knitting a row, and then doing the duplicate stitch on that same row. Eventually, I declared that too boring to proceed, and just did the whole grey cube in a few sittings.
Duplicate stitch is fun in short doses. I learned this over the next few months. When I was feeling very motivated, I could crank out 1/4 - 1/2 of a side in motif in one night. When I wasn't feeling motivated, it would stare at me reproachfully from the coffee table while I worked on other things.
And then Boober was born, and the whole thing got shelved for many, many months. I would occasionally flirt with the Cube. Do a few rows of duplicate stitch before putting it down. Getting the first 2 sides done was really exciting for me -- I was able to cut the steeks, which I find really exciting, and get the sides blocking, which I find to be the opposite of really exciting.


And then, something happened. Remember that mobile I made? Well the baby it was meant for was due - and that made me think a lot of the Cube . . . and I wanted to cast on new things, and that made me think of finishing up. And suddenly, I was hauling ass through the Cube again.

I got more sides done, and seamed, and blocked and blocking.


For a lot of people, this sort of finishing on a project is a major deterrent. I actually enjoyed it. I recently learned how to properly seam, and now I find it much more enjoyable. It took me a week to get it all set - but then . . . .


I was just about ready to sew it shut. The foam was in there - I got a piece of furniture foam and a bread knife - it was a little hairy for a while! First the cube was 8" square, but things were looking a little stretched. I cut it down to 7" square, and it was a little too small. So I wrapped the foam block in 2 layers of quilt batt. Perfect.
And then I sewed it shut . . . .


And then I was just kind of . . . astonished that it was finally finished, and sitting there in front of me. Just. Wow.

Things I learned about this pattern: the stranding will give the cube structure. Do The Stranding! Even if you think it's dumb. Or impossible. Do it.
Turn each side perpendicular to the last when seaming. It looks cool.
Felting (my original intent) with duplicate stitch is ill-advised. Think about it - different thicknesses of fabric, not good.
Putting plastic canvas or a foam sheet in each side for structure is a good idea in theory. In practice it made me totally crazy. I threw out $3 worth of supplies for this reason.

For those of you who think I might be crazy for even doing this, yes it's a video game thing, and no I'm not a gamer . . . but look at it! The nod to Maslow and his monkey experiment kills me! I Love It! Only a homicidal computer could think that taking an inanimate weighted cube and putting hearts on it would be a comfort. And yet, somehow, you do become fond of your cube. Fond enough to make one of your very own.

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