Thursday, March 06, 2008

Fear of Lace to Year of Lace part II

Okay. Minor techno-burp aside, I'm back on track with the Swallowtail.

Must remember to READ the pattern, and not count the knit after the first yarnover (in my eagerness to get to the best part - the lacework) as ONE stitch. They are two, distinct, separate stitches, despite the fact that the YO is simply lying on the needle, in wait, patiently, to be purled into a Real Live Stitch.

I made the same mistake, in the same spot, no less than six times in a row. Knitted, and unknitted, and back again. FSI (Forensic Stitch Investigation) case 1.01: Failure To Actually Follow Pattern. (at least I'm consistent).

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for enjoying the knitting path, and being rather Zen about what most people consider "errors". I fall back on the advice of an old music teacher who said, “it’s not a bad note, it’s a Jazz chord in disguise”. In knitting speak, especially when I'm teaching beginners, or chatting with those doing "process knitting", my philosophy is that things that show up that aren’t in your pattern are “embellishments” or “design alterations”.

However, in lace, "design alterations" don't work quite as well if you want your lovely shawl to look the way it looks in the lovely glossy magazine picture.

Off & flying again!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

From Fear of Lace to Year of Lace

I'm in my first KAL (that's Knit-A-Long for the acronym-phobes among us, me included. Engineerspeak abounds, everywhere, so chide me if I get glib with abbreviations). It's a mini KAL, doing the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits Fall 2006, which my lovely new friend known on Ravelry as Spinknit got me into.

Did I mention it's a lace KAL? Firsts for many things, apparently. After somewhat abandoning my Charlotte (poor thing, not her fault, just my lack of patience and not enough blessings from Arachne), I developed an unnatural fear of lace. Cringed at doilies. Ignored blocking how-tos about pinning down shawls. Peeked at light-as-air shawls, stoles, scarves from the tiniest corners of my eyes.

And then, much like I was told to "get back on" when a horse bucked me off in my zero-fear youth, my inner knitting goddess has been urging me forward. So much so, I joined Make One's Year of Lace on Amy’s advice. As I've said on Ravelry, my inner adrenalin (fueled by my “can-I-do-it?” freakout and “I-so-MUST-do-this!” yarn mistress) is just pumping in anticipation of the first kit, which is coming soon - sometime this month.
And so I "got back on", or at least, cast on, on Sunday. And today, I'm at 40 rows. Which is where I got to on Sunday. And on Monday, discovered I'm missing a stitch, either side, after 5 repeats of the main pattern. So now I'm ripping back. Carefully, not to disturb the horse. Don't wanna get bucked off. But I've got some sagacity behind me now, some skill. And courage.

So we'll see how it goes. And when the going gets tough, the tough...knit other things. Like finishing my second Fiesta Mitten, which captured my attention (and that of a few admiring gals at M1 - thanks, you've fed my sorely hungry ego) for much of February.

I'll keep you posted.

PS: I just got word from my baby brother (here, with my daughter on a recent fun-day) that he's safely in Afghanistan (if one can actually write such a thing in a sentence and mean it) as of last week, and has written by e-mail a couple of times to say things are "inhospitable" but that he's actually enjoying the peace & quiet outside the wire. (?!) Soldiers are a funny (not ha-ha, the other kind, in this instance) breed. (He will hate me writing this...) He needs new underwear - a special wicking kind that doesn't smell after a week of no laundering, and socks. And his guys need helmetwarmers. It's cold in the nighttime, when they're out doing what they do. And most of them are bald, naturally or otherwise, and the helmets are, well, metal. So I think I should start the Operation Helmetwarmers B (for Beaver - Canadian thing) Company for our Canadian guys. Here's the link to the American site, with patterns - I have some revisions to the pattern, which I'll post soon, that my brother has suggested. If you send some to me (send me a note here on the blog), I'll package them up & send them forth. Here's the link to the American site for the patterns - and remember, gauge is everything: