Friday On The Needles

I am oh so sad. I was ecstatic to finish my Eva Marie hat, only to have it completely collapse when I washed it. I mean the thing was big enough to hold a couple of gallons of ice cream. I even put it in the dryer on high heat, hoping that would tighten it up, but it’s still loose and shapeless. It’s also still somewhat damp, so I hold out hope that it will gain some shape after it is completely dry, but at the moment, I want to cry.

It looked beautiful (if somewhat large) when I first finished it, though!

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Now it is just a shapeless blob. If it doesn’t shape up, I will take it apart and make it again on MUCH smaller needles. MUCH smaller.

In spite of that disaster, I’m quite happy to have Morrigan out of time out. I’m about halfway done with repeat four, which means I’m technically just about done, but it is way too small for my taste. I will have to add at least two if not three more repeats. I think the pattern as written is more of a shawlette. Or maybe it’s just my yarn…although I did use cashmere lace, which is what the pattern suggests.

I am looking forward to future projects, one of which will be Larisa Valeeva’s Queen of Roses shawl.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/queen-of-roses-

(Sorry, all the photos are copyrighted, so click the link to get a glimpse!) I’ve been dying to make this as a wedding shawl for my daughter’s future marriage (no, no guy or proposal, but I know how slowly I knit, and this thing is a bear). I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, and the idea that I have the ability to make it is phenomenal. It will take ages, as we’re talking thousands of yards of lace yarn. I am prepared, though. I’ve spent the last two weeks studying her instructions, practicing stitches, plotting, planning… I will only do this once, so it has to be perfect. I plan to attack it in February at the fiber retreat, where I will be surrounded by experienced knitters including a self-professed lace surgeon (she is!). I want three uninterrupted days of quiet in a pet-free environment when I get started, until I have the hang of the repeats.

It has taken me a full two weeks to even figure out the setup chart. I kept reading the instructions that talk about 42 rows, 21¬†stitches plus 12 yarn overs, and trying to make that equal 43 stitches while simultaneously equaling 27 stitches plus 10 edge stitches. Huh? Finally, after a blurry eyed morning of reading the pattern for the fifth hundredth time, I found the problem…I kept looking at the numbers (41, 19, 21, 12, 43, 37, 8, 5) and trying to get them to add up…I was missing the bit that said, “yo, k1, yo.” After finding the missing six stitches, it all fell into place and I had a monumental “AHA” moment. I need to practice garter tabs, but I’ll be ready by February.

Between now and then, though, I have Bella Botanica printed, yarn and beads purchased, and I’m ready to get that one on the needles soon. I still have Dr. B’s Quilt and Cable throw in time out, but it should be allowed back into the light soon. I need to re-thread my Dragonfly colorway of the Kuura shawl and finish it, as well as pop another Tidal one out for Aubrey. I’ve still got the Winter Flame scarf on the needles, and I’d like to make the Status Quo scarf before Christmas. I have Matt’s cowl to do before Christmas. There are a few other hats in the Knit Scene Accessories mag that I’d like to try, and finally, I want to give a go at a pair of two at a time, toe up socks. Whew! Oh, and I’m knitting bandages for the DOVE foundation as part of a meetup group called the Bandage Brigade.

As for hats, and socks, I have learned my lesson. Swatch. Swatch. Swatch. Including washing and drying the swatch. Yeah……

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Friday On The Needles

Wow. It’s amazing what can be done with a simple knit and purl when you add a few yarn overs and knit2together and slipslipknit stitches. But damn, it is seriously complicated to keep track of exactly where your yarn is supposed to be when you’re switching between all of the above stitches.

After a hole disaster with the cashmere scarf that was on my needles last Friday, I had to frog that entire project. I guess when I started it, I either missed a stitch or didn’t completely slip under a stitch and instead just caught a bit of fiber, because as I was well into my second skein of yarn, I noticed a huge hole somewhere around row 6 or 8. It wasn’t there when I took the picture last week, so my guess is the fiber just gave.

Very depressing, but a lesson well learned. Instead of restarting the scarf, I decided to move on to the next project that I’ve been looking forward to and that is the Cavallo Point Wrap. I’m using JL Salvia merino wool yarn (discontinued…I’ve had this yarn for a few years now), in a cream, rust, and forest green colorway. It’s really soft and is working up beautifully.

While I feel like I’ve sort of mastered the five simple stitches (K, P, SSK, YO, and K2Tog), doing them in combination is like a giant puzzle. Doing a K, YO, K2Tog, YO, P, YO, SSK, YO, K is a serious challenge for a beginning knitter, but now I think I’ve got the hang of it. The occasional S2KPSSO still throws me for a bit of a loop (PUN!), but as long as I pay attention, I can muddle through it. I love knitting because I love watching what seems like just a mess of yarn slowly take shape into a beautiful piece of lace work.

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Rather than buy a manufactured lace chart holder for a small fortune, I was lucky enough to take advantage of my friend Bill, who machined a scrap piece of sheet metal into paper size with nice smooth edges and rounded corners. At a discount outlet store, I found a package of “magnetic locker wallpaper” for $2; it is really just three magnetic, 8.5″ by 11″ orange sheets with purple butterflies. I spent $2 for a plain white binder and $1 for a set of tabbed index sheets. Using a small paper trimmer, I cut two long, two medium, and two short strips from the magnetic sheets. I now have a ¬†knitters notebook where I can organize my printed patterns into categories and a lace chart holder, all for $5. I may pick up a package of sheet protectors so that my patterns don’t tear or wrinkle, but for the moment, I just slide my printouts into the pockets in the binder.

Slowly, I’m starting to feel like a real knitter…now if I can actually finish a project!