Thursday, May 6, 2010

Setbacks and Opportunities

As most of you know by now, the May clue for the 2010 Sampler got a little gnarly on me and I had to do a major rewrite. It was all charted, written, spell-checked, and it looked good until I started knitting my own shawl and stumbled upon insurmountable stitch marker placement problems. Meaning that, if I left them where I had place them, I would have to move them in a random manner more often that would afford for comfortable knitting. I had to think a little outside the box until a somewhat elegant solution came to me (I swear I could hear Mariachi music, I was so happy). The clue remains a bit confusing and gnarly but more manageable and allows some room for personal choice. I know you guys like a bit of choice. However, I am not offering a second alternate clue, y'all have to knuckle down and brave this one. I promise the rewards of the sheer beauty of the lace are worth the trouble.

Speaking of another setback turned to opportunity, here is the update of the Triangle Shawl. After I lost all the charts, it came back from its ashes fast and furious. Many thanks to the KnittingKninja tutorial I figured out something I was doing really wrong and kept causing my edge lace to look wonky. The shawl  is computer-charted all the way except for the edge, which I have had-drawn in three separate pieces in my trusty Moleskine. In fact I think I could simplify the charts enough to allow written instructions, since it is for the most part really easy knitting.

Here is the initial section, in the Wabi Sabi sock yarn. I am not sure if I will keep this pattern or an alternate one, depending on how it looks after the transition section. It has a bit of texture to it as it uses knit and purls.

A little closeup here - not as nice as when it is blocked for good.

It is Barbara Walker's Harebell Lace. The charting did require a little tweaking to make it fit, but it is done.

I did mention that one feature I am very happy about is that you will be able to customize the size by adding more repeats of some of the sections. I think I have it down to a shawlette (about Ishbel's size) needing an estimate 450 yds of fingering, a bit less of lace, a medium (about 600-700 yd laceweight) and a full sized, at about 800-1000 yds laceweight. Once I am more far ahead and I have at least a crack at the edging chart, I will probably poll around for some testers willing to do the larger sizes. At this stage, it has to be people that can knit from charts because I design exclusively from charts, and I won't write instructions until it is all finished. And before you stick your hand up and volunteer, consider that it could be a total waste of your time, or go over size, or have chart problems, as many beta testing patterns have.

Now that the blankie is packed and mailed off to Knit Picks (still wondering if they will take it... since it is getting a bit hot for blankets), it is time to tackle the rest of the mess in my WIP drawer. I have been attacking the Manly Sweater made out of Mirasol Qina. The yarn is a dream, supersoft Alpaca/Bamboo blend, light and warm. It does not have much memory though, and it is a bit twisty so stitch patterns don't pop as nicely as with your standard wool yarn. The gauge is also a bit odd, falling in the light worsted to heavy DK range. The sweater has been a year in the making, in part due to the cables (recognize the pattern? It is the same as the blanket!), in part due to the chest girth of the DH. I am down to the last bit of the sleeve

Here is the saddle detail at the shoulder. Front and back in two pieces, then the shoulder saddle part, everything stitched up and then the sleeves picked on the round. The advantage to that design is that you are done with the annoying sewing somewhere in the middle of the sweater, and the saddles give some extra structure to the alpaca blend, which tends to be saggy. And no gorilla arms! I may have to design a simpler mansweater with similar structure in the future.
And the huge V-neck? Well, that is still a work in progress. The last bit of math to be done. Stay tuned.

Yarn porn of the week: Fearless Fibers Merino lace in Rubicund color way. Found it in a Rav destash, and it is the very same yarn that Anne Henson from Knitspot is using for her Twining Lace stole. I had been drooling after that yarn for a while. It is a lovely, springy yarn in the heavier side of the laceweight. The color is between salmon and pink, complex and delicious. It does not seem too pricey, but watch it, the yardage per skein is only about 400 yards (about the same than Malabrigo lace).

Perchance to Knit Silk-blend laceweight jumped on the mail package to make sure the FF did not feel too lonely on the ride. It is a colorway dyed for the Loopy Ewe, named Garnet, but really unabashed Raspberry without any brown undertones. Feels about the same than Zephyr. Lovely bright color!

Will be seeing you all next week, when the May clue is released. I will try to post spoiler pictures, as well as a pictorial of the most difficult bits. No promises though - I actually have to work this week.

You can tell I have an expensive yarn habit...

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