Friday, January 19, 2007

Blocking

As I was blocking Shawl with No. 20 Edging, I saw something I didn't want to see.
My first thought wasn't panic, however. It was more along the lines of, "Haven't I seen something like this in Heirloom Knitting?" One of my bad habits is reading about things that might happen. When I was expecting a baby, I read a fascinating book by a pediatric geneticist about his residency and the children he saw ... learning, along the way, about all sorts of disastrous outcomes and chromosomal disorders. When I delivered (was delivered of?) my firstborn and learned she had spina bifida, I didn't panic. My thought was, "Oh, I've read about this." I knew we weren't dealing with a worst case scenario because in the book, the baby with spina bifida had such a large sac of spinal fluid along his spine that he got stuck and had to be delivered via c-section. Okay, too much information. Still, I saw a large hole in my knitting and knew the world had not come to an end.

I even knew what had happened. I knit the fuzz, instead of knitting the yarn. There's a lot of fuzz to this yarn. I traipsed to my knitting box, got my Lovely Sterling Silver Yarn Needle (makes all unpleasant tasks more lovely), my yarn, and headed back to the shawl. Then I retraced my steps to snag a camera and a piece of white paper.

Have you ever wondered if it makes a difference if you block something upside down? It doesn't, theoretically. But if you find a mistake, and are inadvertently blocking something wrong side up, it entails pulling out a few pins and turning things right side up for fixing. Unless you like fixing lace from the back side? I don't.

I threaded up my yarn needle, admired it's sheen, it's workmanship, it's nice feel in the hand ... and turned my attention back to less pleasant matters. Gaping holes. A bit of study, a bit of stitching, and it's good as new. Because it is new. It's almost as good as knit correctly, to boot. While I was correcting it, I noticed another stitch (which had the courtesy not to run) that was sitting all by itself, with no friendly stitches to hold on to. I marked it with a purple pin, and secured it with much less thought.
It's not invisible, but it will do.
Here's part of the shawl, blocking. Did I mention that, when selecting a space to block a shawl, it's a good idea to think how much space you need first? I ended up rearranging my craft room a bit, since I ran into the chair mat for my sewing table. Small matter ... I just settled myself firmly NEXT TO the pincushion, and gave a big pull. Chair mats must give way before the intricacies of lace blocking.

Here's a close-up of the shawl. You can see a faint tracery of the joins at the beginning and ending of the faggotting. No holes! If you're planning on thinking about this photo very hard, do remember that the wrong side is up.

One other note, with a caveat before the note. Caveat: I am not a crocheter. I can wield a crochet hook. I will use it as a last resort for knitting repairs. But it is not my friend. Okay - caveat over. Note: The directions for the picot edging say to do a row of sc, then to chain three, sc into next sc, etc. Now, when I knit and the directions say to knit the next stitch, I knit the next stitch. BUT if you study the picture in the book, you will see that the 30 stitches of the edging result in only 15 chain-3 loops. Either I don't speak crochet and the pattern is wrong, or I just don't speak crochet.

My edging looks nothing like the lovely edging in the book. A blocking wire through the sc would have helped, I think, but I instead pinned out every second chain loop. It'll look better without the pins.

9 comments:

Pensguys said...

Beautiful!

Glad I've got you to call on if I run into anything like this! I'd have no idea what to do!

Brenda said...

You did an amazing job fixing the hole! The shawl is beautiful and I really, really love the color. Congratulations!

denisesyed said...

I see no trace of anything. Even with my glasses on.

Pensguys: I will likely never try this ... but, if I did and if there was a hole like that I would simply wrap it and send it to her. That's what I would do. (Can you imagine her delight to see some lace and help someone stitch a small hole?). But, it won't likely happen because I could not imagine knitting this. I couldn't even imagine wearing something so lovely, let alone knitting it. : )

Awesome, amazing job, Carolyn.

Cheryl said...

You did an amazing job of fixing that hole! I've already had a devil of a time with the fagotting and missing stitches. I started putting in a lifelines and stretching out/yanking the knitting every few rows to try catch missing stitches before it's too late. Unfortunately, I haven't had any time to work on the scarf lately, but maybe this coming week I'll be able to pick it up again. I don't think I'd want to try knitting this again with a fuzzy yarn.

hege said...

Your scarf is looking beautiful! And this is your second one, amazing. Nice work repairing the hole!

I think there may be some error in the crochet instructions, because it says to chain 3 then sc into the next sc 2 times(?!). I think you need to chain 3 and then sc into the SECOND sc. That way you skip every other one and get 15 loops over the 30 stitches.

Theresa said...

Beautiful! I am itching to get knitting from this book! :o) I'm glad you were able to fix it and knew how.

Carolyn said...

Hege, you're right! The directions don't say what I thought they said, and I think what they say will work out right. You don't need to skip a sc. Chain 3, sc into next sc, sc into next sc, and repeat from ch 3. That will give you 15 ch 3 loops, no skipped scs, and it will all come out right.

So the book is right, we're both confused, and I was right ... I don't speak crochet!

Holly said...

It looks fantastic-I can't see a thing(except for the beauty and loveliness :~) )

hege said...

Awwe, you have a greyhound! I looked to see if any pictures, but I couldn't find any. But hello to Katie :) Greyhounds are so sweet, we spoil ours as much as we can :)
Yes, you definitely have to count the fuzzy part of the mohair yarn, because it will knit up to a larger gauge. When it comes to the plies, and designations like 20/2, I don't know. It must just be a description of the yarn, not a size.