Sunday, January 10, 2016

Magnum Opus

This project has been SIX YEARS in the making, and I am so happy to say it's finally finished!

I first started this hand-knitted testament to my insanity in May 2009, when I announced to the blog that instead of working from the already reasonable Vogue Knitting charts I wanted to re-chart Every Single Country to make the map more accurate.  I believe those charts are still available as a pdf here.  However after all that work are they accurate?  No.  No, they are not.  Because this:

Now looks like this:

NOOOO!  Curse you South Sudan!  I'm sure you probably had your reasons for the split, but did any of you think about me?  I don't think so.  I think this happened around about the time that I was knitting the last panel, back in 2011. Never mind, I can always embroider over the top of it later if it really bugs me, but for now I'm just happy that I can actually point to Sudan on a map.

As you can imagine, there were some fairly large chunks of time that I wan't working on this (I know it's big, but I'm not so slow that it took me six solid years to knit), so after knitting the main map on and off for 2 1/2 years I then abandoned it for about a year before sewing it together with a border, and then another 2 years before I got round to actually finishing it.  That was my main worry as I was really nervous about backing it without ruining all the work that I'd put in.  I wanted a wall hanging rather than a blanket, and since this thing is ridiculously heavy there's no way I could get away with hanging it up without stabilising the stretch somehow.  I bought some curtain fabric from Ikea in April, seamed it into one big panel with some hanging loops and then...sat and stared at it for several months.  

In the end I've gone for a mix of strength and neatness, so the edge is attached with 3 rows of machine stitching which sort of disappear into the moss stitch border and the middle, where machine stitching would be visible, is all painstakingly hand sewn to the backing.  This was pretty hard on the fingers so I could only do a few rows a day and it ended up taking a month to finish, but I think that's pretty quick in comparison to all the previous years!

The map has now been hanging up in my living room for 3 months (it was lovingly draped in fairy lights last month), and it still makes me grin every time I come home.  Every meticulous hour I spent charting countries, weaving in ends, embroidering islands and hand quilting the back has been totally and utterly worth it.

Plus every guest to my home now gets a free geography lesson on the side!

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