14 February 2006

"A tentative process.."

Knitting is a tentative process. At any point a firm tug on an unsecured piece of yarn could unravel the entire work. Because knitting uses no knots, every stitch is little more than a twisted and twined bit of yarn making up a simple tenuous web. - Zen and the Art of Knitting, by Bernadette Murphy, as quote in my KnitBits page-a-day calendar for February 11-12
I found that quote particularly appropriate as I started my very first fair isle project this weekend - with all those unsecured ends hanging about! - so thought I'd share.

Right then, lots to blog about; hopefully I won't lose too many of you in the process!

First, Miriam asked about Adamas: Did you like the pattern? Any suggestions? What yarn did you use?

Yes, I liked the finished pattern, but I have to admit that the center-out style was hard for me. I like rows to get shorter as I get farther into a project and the rows getting longer made the end seem like it would never come. But I do like the pattern and the shapes it makes, so in a few months once I forget my aversion to longer-toward-the-end rows, I will pr'bly try it (or another like it) again.

Suggestions.. hrm. This is only the second real lace piece I've done, so I'm not sure what to suggest. Patience? This is not mindless knitting - you have to pay attention to where you are. In addition to counting stitches on the right side rows, I learned that counting stitches on the wrong side helped me to pick up missed yarn overs before they became hard to find. That pr'bly saved me quite a bit of time ripping back as my most frequent mistake was missing a yarn over.

I used stitch markers as suggested in the pattern, but found it a little futzy to have to shift them after each repeat. Even with the futzy-factor, I'd still recommend using the stitch markers, though. Even as I neared the end, this pattern never really became intuitive for me - I could see what stitches needed to happen next without referencing the pattern sometimes, but really did have to have the pattern near to hand all the way through to the end.

As I mentioned earlier, I purposely tried to stay a little detached from this one as I knit it as it's a gift and I didn't want to be too torn at having to give it away!

Yarn was KnitPicks Shadow in the Lost Lake colorway. I'm not sure I'd use this yarn for a shawl like this again as the heatheryness of the yarn tends to get overlooked with the lace and to me, that's the attraction of this particular yarn. I think it something like Gossamer would complement this pattern a little better. And as I have a couple skeins of Gossamer in Blue Jeans, I might just find out once I'm through with the sweaters I'm working on at the moment!

Okay, moving on to the Knitting Olympics.. despite being a complete and utter idiot Friday and forgetting the pattern at home when we left to go out of town for a winter wonderland weekend at a friends' resort, and thanks to my knitting goddess guardian angel Kim who fielded the phone call from half a continent away to get me the information I needed to get working without the physical pattern (I had my little swatch, so I could figure out the chart, but needed to know how many stitches to cast on and what do to until I got to the part with the chart), I made enough progress this weekend to feel like I'll be able to finish the sweater by the end of the Olympics.

I'm still struggling a bit with the tension, but I think I'm more often erring on the side of being slightly too loose instead of slightly too tight (if you look at the yellow stitches in the top/will-be-middle band, you can see that they're too big and drown out the red stitches directly under/over them in places). But I'm learning. I figured out the two-handed thing in the car this morning which is making things go a little quicker, so I'm hoping to finish the colorwork by Thursday and then finish the body by next Monday.

And, at least so far, I'm really liking my alterations to the color scheme. It's earthy enough that I have no problem envisioning myself actually wearing the sweater, but also colorful and bright enough not to be ho-hum. Jack suggested that I repeat the colorwork chart on the sleeves, just before the wrists, and if I can figure out a point where that would work sufficiently well and have enough time when I get to that point, I might give it a go.

Photos show progress through yesterday, most of which was really done by Sunday because...

Monday is Rogue night! I finished the pocket last night and got almost finished with the first chart, but had to stop as it was getting late and I needed to go to bed.

The pocket picture is not at all color-true - the yarn is no where near that green! I like it so far, but am a bit worried about how well it will wear. I've only ever done felted slippers with Wool of the Andes and they tend to wear out pretty quickly. Granted, a sweater shouldn't go through the same abuse as slippers, but it still makes me a little nervous.

I'm hoping blocking will erase a multitude of sins when it comes to the cables (which you can't really see in the picture because it's a tad blurry - sorry!). I can see loose stitches from the longer crosses that really stand out to me now, but if I tug at the cable panel I can get most of them to behave, so I'm thinking blocking will work to even out most, if not all, of my inconsistencies.

There's another post in here brewing about some stuff I'm digging into as I learn how to be a good board member for Houston County Women's Resources, but I think that's quite enough for now.


Liz said...

Looking good! Both sweaters are coming along nicely!

I had a hard time putting my Rogue down. I'm really enjoying the process and it's hard to make myself wait a week...

Teej said...

Heh. I had the same feeling. It definitely helps to have two going at once, both of which I enjoy working on. We'll see if I'm able to keep my hands off Rogue once I get finished with Fair Isle 101, though!