On Giants' Shoulders

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ssh Don't Tell Anyone

I hesitate to even say this because pride goes before a face plant, but I honestly think this lace thing is starting to work.  I just finished yet another pattern of the Elfin lace, I'm at least eight rows beyond the furthest that I'd gotten before.  It's not only starting to shape up, but I'm beginning to get the hang of figuring out if I made a mistake before going on to the next row.  I'm starting to see like the garter stitch border that's being created well enough that I may not even decide to put the other more complicated border on, we'll see.

I love the yarn.  It's a lace weight yarn in varying shades of aqua that was hand dyed by a local craftsman.  The varying shades really work well with this particular pattern and I can see how they're going to catch the light in some nice ways once it's finished.

I have definitely figured out that the Addi turbo lace needles are more difficult to work with than my double points.  They aren't as sharp, and they're definitely slicker which means that you have to really pay attention to keep the end stitches from slipping off.  Since the end stitches is where I was getting into trouble (as I couldn't always tell if they slipped off whether I needed to make one over again or not) I do have to be pretty conscious of keeping the knitting slid all the way onto the cable any time I have to set it down.  I am really tempted to look in my knitting needle stash and see if I don't possible have a size two circular needle that isn't an Addi Turbo.  Although, now that I've got more stitches on the needle things do seem to be coming along more easily.

I'm always surprised at how much more difficult any knitting is in the first few rows than it is later on.  I'm not sure whether the weight of the growing project simply makes it easier to get the stitches actually on the needles to actually be manipulated or what.  I know I always find it to be the case, even with socks which I knit nearly compulsively the past few years, that I'm far more apt to mess things up in the first few rows than once the knitting gets to a certain length.  Hopefully, I'm now at the point where I'm less apt to mess things up.

In one of the Yarn Harlot's books she talks about process knitters as opposed to product knitters.  I think I'm most definitely a product knitter.  I enjoy learning a new technique and challenging myself a little bit, and I definitely do knit for relaxation some of the time.  At the end of the day, however, it's all about actually having something to show for the work.  It's one reason that gauge samples are something I hate doing. I never do one anymore with socks, I just take a look at the yarn and sort of know whether it's going to be a size one or size two project and then plug the numbers in respectively.  I want to get knitting on the end product, not spend extra time knitting something I'll never use, washing and blocking it, just to find out what I knew in the first place.  I'll even confess that when I do a gauge sample, I rarely ever wash it before measuring.  If it were something where close fit was an issue I probably would, and in at least one case I probably should have because I would have figured out that the fair isle type knitting I was doing was going to pull the stitches closer together in a way that was going to make the yoke of the sweater to tight unless I changed some numbers (hence Abby's purple sweater's yoke got knit twice instead of once).  Gauge aside, however, I don't simply delight in new techniques and just seek them out everywhere.  I'm perfectly content to add a new one every now and again, and mostly spend my time cranking out things I know I can do well (Jackie Fee sweaters, socks, hats, etc). 

Anyway, production knitter that I am, I'm glad to see things starting to shape up with this shawl.  I might even finish it before Labor Day at this rate.  I was a bit taken aback to realize that the people who give instructions to beginners in lace knitting recommend not starting out with lace weight yarn.  However, I figured that since I've knit lace socks (not the soles of course), with size 2 needles and fingering weight yarn  a number of times, I'm not exactly a beginner with lace.  I'm just a beginner with shawls, and a beginner with lace weight yarn.  Hey, at least I'm not using that gossamer cob web stuff.  It's pretty and all that, but if size two needles and lace weight are hard to see at some points in the day (much easier in natural than artificial light, I've discovered), it's a sure bet that size 000 needles (which I'd undoubtedly have to find online) and gossamer yarn would be a challenge I don't want to undertake.

One interesting thing I discovered today while wandering around the Ravelry site was that there was a thread about blind knitters that directed me to a blog that actually is for people who are blind or visually impaired.  So I've sent the link to my sister-in-law whose daughter is a blind knitter,  In case any of you are interested, here's the link: .
 Now it's off to the post office, and the store for dinner supplies, then back for more knitting.


At 4:39 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

Can you post a picture? I'm a very basic knitter. So basic that I mostly knit scarves. The most elaborate thing I've ever knitted was a beard for my 10yo son who didn't want a scarf!

I've always been fascinated by lace making though, and I can't picture what you are doing. Is it tatting?

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Wendy, If you go over to Ravelry (if you haven't signed up, do, it's a great place for knitters and crocheters) and where it says pattern type in Elfin Lace Shawl. That will give you pictures of other people's finished projects, or projects in progress. You just have to look on the right side of the page and it will tell you how many projects are featured.

Knitted lace is not true lace. It's made with the same knit/purl stitches as regular knitting. The big difference is the yarn overs that get put in that leave holes in strategic places. The yarn overs are usually matched with decreases (either left or right leaning). This project starts with 3 stitches on the needles and increases up to nearly 300 (if I don't decide to do extra repeats)by increasing one stitch each end every other row. Some lace patterns are knit exclusively from charts (a lot of people really like that), this one happens to have written out directions. Every lace pattern is different, but the techniques are mostly pretty similar. Some of them have neps that have you knitting a bunch of stitches together at a time, and that's a challenge. The most challenging stitch in this one so far is a SSKP (slip two stitches, knit the third then pass the two slipped stitches over the knitted stitch). However, if you can knit and purl you can pretty much do most everything else, you just have to do it slowly to start out with.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Wendy, I just put the link up so you can see the page with the projects.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

Thanks! Wow! That's beautiful!


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