Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shhhh... knitting is happening

Knitting is happening, but nothing too spectacular. There's test knits that I really shouldn't be blogging about, stockings that I have no photos of, and lace shawls that are going to take quite some time to knit.

The stockings - Teri Shea's from Piecework - are done. They came out large, as I suspected, but they're not too bad with the extra 4 decreases I snuck in between the calf and the ankle. And they are warm! Cold legs in bed? Pop these stockings on, given them an extra tug up, and your tootsies will stay nice and toasty.

After the stockings came the Maikell Shawl. My sample swatch came out a bit small, but I didn't have any intention of working a 2/28 laceweight (fine laceweight, at that) on anything much larger than a US 3 needles, so I planned for an extra repeat widthwise, and to knit until it 'looked long enough.' Turns out I might have been able to get away with a size 4 needle, but at 6 repeats in I've about 18" of shawl (stretched) done. 12 repeats, as called for in the pattern, will simply not suffice. And that is going to throw off the entire border.

Sniff. I'm going to have to wing it. See, in a traditional Estonian shawl, the border is worked in two pieces. Two, because the knitters used 10" straight needles. And they worked the border by casting on a few hundred stitches, working 10 rows or so in a pretty lace pattern, casting off, and then SEWING the cast on to the center of the shawl. Since the needles were just 10" long, there wasn't enough room to knit the border in one piece. So, two sides of the shawl would have one border sewn on, and the other two would get another, identical border.

Planned insanity. But they did quite nicely at it. And if I were getting gauge, I probably would too. Seams are overrated as regards difficulty and finickiness.

But to add one multiple in width and oh, 8 repeats in length? And then add in the fudge factor of X border stitches to Y shawl stitches? No. I may change my mind in about 14 more repeats of the pattern, but at the present, it seems good to me to study the fudge factor in the book, stare at my shawl, and then in a good light and with a modern circular needle, pick up a few hundred stitches. No, make that several hundred stitches. I think the book mentions over 300 ... and that's for half, and with less rows than I'm going to make. THEN I can count those several hundred stitches and figure out my Secondary Fudge Factor, which will ensure that the lace motifs come out even.

But that won't be for another month or so. Lace isn't usually a fast knit, and nupps aren't for the speed knitter either. This has both. (Of course. Who would work a nupp without lace?) I'm hoping to have enough yarn (and the good news, Rachel, is that I found another nice fat ball of it upstairs. Yay!) but if not? Well, I can always do it borderless. That would be a pity, designwise, but I wouldn't be distressed not to knit the border rows.

Since the shawl isn't particularly traveling knitting, I made a pair of legwarmers for Filia. And since there was leftover yarn, and I didn't want to put it into my stash, I knit a tube of 2x2 rib until there was about 6" left, then turned the two into two half mitts. How? Bind off both ends of the tube in a contrasting sock yarn, then find the middle of the tube, turn THAT into two new ends, and bind those off with the contrasting sock yarn as well. Voila! Ankle/wrist/handwarmers to coordinate perfectly with the legwarmers!

No pictures of those either.

My mom is really enjoying our Sample Skeins Subscription from Elann. Every month they mail us (me) FIVE SKEINS of yarns that they will be selling at nifty prices throughout the next month. With those five skeins (about 10 yds in length), we can sample, doodle, pet, etc, the yarns before they go on sale. And with the color card included, we can see what the actual colors are! I've been a good girl and haven't ordered any this year, but mom is keeping up her end of the economy and has been picking one a month. She's doing good, too. The January Yarn is already knit up and being worn in a shawl. I'm not sure what she plans to do with her February yarn.

And one of these months, I'll probably see something I 'need' to get. But with cobwebby laceweight, one doesn't need to purchase yarn all that often. Speaking of cobwebby ... one of Colourmart's latest offerings came in at over 15,000 yards/lb. Teensy!!! (For comparison, that's over 1600 yds/50g) Colourmart could be dangerous. Fortunately, they have free shipping, so I don't 'need' to order all sorts of things 'while I'm ordering.' That's how I escaped with just one cone of yarn in my order to them last week.

It'll be traveling knitting, and I need a traveling project.


Doesn't everyone knit lace shawls in mohair for traveling projects?



Deborah said...

It is so nice to see a post again! I love your blog. I'd sure love to see those stockings of yours. I've been wanting to make a long pair for awhile. Sounds like a great idea for extra warmth.

Deborah said...
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