Knitting Like A Sailor

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Getting to know you...

As I mentioned prevously, I'm participating in The Amazing Lace. I'm surprised at myself, never having been a joiner before, this is my fourth sign up for the year, the others being Secret Pal 7, 200Sox, and Dye-O-Rama. I know why I chose this one though. I have some lace projects marinating that I'd relaly like to see completed. Please allow me to introduce them.

Rosy-Fingered Dawn.
RFD has been mentioned fairly recently. Still not liking the chart design, although I've moved on to a different charted motif that's more intuitive. Within the first row of the new chart I figured out the problems and have been able to compensate. This charts' particular issue is that the designer has long stretches of plain knitting, so she provides the stitch count for each stretch in the chart. She also only charted half the pattern, with a pivot stitch that is only counted once. I can do that, no problem. However, when the stretches of plain knitting encorporate the pivot (which happens every other row) she lists the total stitch count for the entire run. This isn't a problem, but she doesn't make it clear that the stitch count includes the pivot and all the return stitches, so rather than knit 14 total stitches, I knit 14, then pivoted the chart (in my mind) around this stitch, and knit 14 back for a total run of 29 knit stitches. I caught it right away, and it made sense once I knew what was going on, but no where in the pattern does she explain it.

I know many people had issues with mistakes in the charts, understanding the charts, running out of yarn, and the size of the finished shawl. I know a lot of people gave up in disgust, but I look at it as a challenge. Figuring out what is going on is a pain, but it's helping me understand what I'm doing a little better. Emphasize little. And, once I do figure out what is going on, the knitting is fun. I'm not too worried about the size, the unblocked finished shawls that I saw were around 35 inches across or so, and blocked out to the 50 ish inch region, mine is on chart 4 of a total of six body charts, and it's already at 36 inches. I would be worried about running out of yarn, but I bought my kit after the KAL had already contacted the company with yarn shortages, and so far I've had mucho excess for every chart, plus they sent two balls for the edging. If I run out, I run out, and I'll have to substitute something else. Irritating, but no big deal eh? Anyway, here she is in all her wadded up glory.

Two charts worth of knitting is folded under because the circular isn't large enough to stretch it out decently, and I wanted to show off the pretty star motif. If you look closely, you can see where the purplish tint in the yarn overs (that would be the holes, Rob) stops and you can see the gold of the sheet coming through, mostly in the lines of yarn overs (again, that means holes, Rob) that look like spokes in the arms of the star. That's how much of the shawl is folded over, about 7-8 inches all the way around. Posed like this, it reminds me of a giant pink lace beret :) (no links included to any place where you can get the kit or the pattern, I'm not encouraging people to buy something so poorly done, but if you really and truly want the aggrivation this shawl is, Google it.)

Next on my plate, we have Kiri from Polly over at All Tangled Up. It's a lovely shawl, knit with a yarn that is appealing both visually and sensually. Here's the color I'm using, and it's accurate on my monitor. I linked it so you can see how poorly my camera captured the rich magenta. I tried toning the screaming fuschia down, but it just developed pixellated purple spots. Kind of interesting, kind of diseased looking. Also, the picture is in focus, the Kid Silk Haze is just that fluffy. I thought long and hard about making this shawl in the required yarn. It's far and away the most expensive and decadent yarn I've ever used. Yes, I've bought skeins that cost more, but the price per yard is what I'm looking at. Ouch. I ordered the yarn, and let it sit on the shelf, intimidated. Finally, in a fit of I bought the damn stuff, It's going to waste sitting there pique, I started the shawl. I'm glad that I did finally start it, it's light, shiny, fluffy, and so deliciously girly that I'm surprised I like it. However, it's a fairly simple, repetative knit that requires attention be paid to avoid missing a stitch in the mohairy goodness. It's not too bad to knit while watching tv or listening to audiobooks, but tv time has been relegated to sock knitting and audiobook time has been devoted to RFD because I want to get that sucker DONE. You're next, Kiri, m'dear, I promise.

Last, but most intimidating, is the Spring Shawl, designed by Sharon Miller. So far, it's been pretty straight forward. Unlike RFD, the charts are bang on, everything is Clearly Explained, and the designer is readily available and appreciates questions. Really, she does, she's such a sweet person.
I'm knitting it in Silk Organzine from Habu Textiles with a Crystal Palace Bamboo circular, size 0. Silk Organzine is made from reeled, twisted raw silk fibers that are then plied together. My yarn underwent the additional step of boiling to rid it of the seracin, which was well worth the price difference for me. I've smelled wet silk, and it's not the scent of choice.
For an awesome site about silk (even non-fiber people will probably enjoy this site <* looking at Rob*>) go to WormSpit.
The Spring Shawl starts at the point of the border for the center triangle, then you pick up for the real borders and knit those down, then knit on the edging. Obviously I'm not very far, but that's okay. I anticipate this taking a long time, especially since I prefer not to knit on it continuously. I'm considering it practise for Unst, which will be practise for the Ring Shawl, which is practise for my own handspun, self designed ring shawl. We're talking years down the line, but that's one of my goals.

Well, those are the introductions. Have a good week and Lace On!