Friday, August 12, 2005

Is that a swatch?

We are all squared away on clue 2 of the Mystery Shawl. I have completed both the Hyacinth and the Mystery Green versions. No pictures - they are the same, but bigger. So I felt justified in having a play.

I took out the 2mm, 2.25mm and 2.5mm needles. I took out the samples card from the Wedding Ring shawl. I took the silk sample and I wrapped it round a piece of crumpled tissue (as Sharon recommends):

I started with the 2.5mm needles and the sample chart and I did one repeat, then I moved to 2mm needles and did another repeat. (I put a row of eyelets inbetween so I could see the change):

Here it is still on the needles and therefore completely unblocked.

Here it is pinned out as tight as I could get it:

Some observations:

It is very difficult to keep the tension of the edges regular. In the "real deal" we will be picking up stitches from these edges to continue with the borders. I will need to think very carefully about what selvedge treatment (if any) I want to use to facilitate the picking up.

I think I prefer the 2.5mm needles to the 2mm.

It is very difficult to see the stitches on a plastic coated metal needle. The stitches slither about something dreadful, too. Some people advise using bamboo needles to counteract this. I'm sorry to say I can't stand bamboo needles. It's like nails down a blackboard to me. I believe there are ebony needles in existence. These would be the ideal but they seem to be rarer than hen's teeth. Do you think I could get a sponsorship deal? Would there be someone out there who would be prepared to let me use their needles in return for - what? The Glory? Yes, I think the glory, together with copious plugs on the blog as to how wonderful the needles are; how the points are perfect; the joins smooth; the cables flexible; blah, blah, blah. Any takers?

I had to do two stitches of tinking. This involved an SSK. Sharon suggests K2tog, tbl but I usually do SSK (first stitch slipped as if to knit, second as if to purl). You absolutely do not want to be tinking an SSK on teeny-tiny needles with ultra-skinny yarn. I seem to remember reading somewhere that with these very skinny yarns the knitters of the olden days simply did K2tog in all circumstances and did not bother with pairing the slant of the decreases. On the second repeat of the test pattern (that would be a swatch in technical terms), I did K2tog throughout. I also did K3tog in place of any more fancy double decrease. I can't see that it has made one whit of difference, so that is what I am going to do when it comes to the "real deal".

I wonder how long it takes to train a Guide Dog for the Blind? I feel I may need one before this thing is over.

In other knitting news: Annie of "Up Knit Creek" fame (Isn't that the best name for a blog?) asks how I can be so prolific and produce so much knitting in 24 hours. I'd like to say that I have learned to warp the space-time continuum but the truth is much more prosaic. I have tunnel vision - I look neither to right nor to left; I do not see the dust bunnies; the piles of un-ironed clothing; the unpolished silver (chance would be a fine thing!); I just look at my knitting and it gives me joy.

Also, I came across this blog the other day in my travels. It was via the Knitty surprise page. I was completely blown away by the sheer exuberance of everything on the site. Turns out that Kiki has been impressed by my humble efforts here and has offered me the first copy of one of her original lace shawls which is in the designing stage now. It gave me goosepimples when I read that. How kind, how generous, how honoured am I?


Heather said...

Kiki and her clan truly are wonderful people that I get the pleasure of seeing on occasion at our Stitch & Bitch gatherings. I wish my kids would knit! Wait, then I'd have to share the stash. Nevermind.

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Luscious Gracious said...

Dear Kate,
I just sent you an e-mail, then hurried to your new post. I was so excited with all the knitting lace info (ALWAYS using K2tog? K3tog instead of double decreases?). What an absolutely amazing, groundbreaking, idea!!!! I started shaking, realizing that, indeed, yes!!!!! Who can tell on such small stitches? I can't wait to get out my needles and start.
But then I read the last paragraph of your post, and I teared up. What a wonderful thing to say, and then Heather's comment got me laughing, as I adore her humor! And yes, it is a very hard thing to do, sharing the stash. I have to remind myself that I love these people, and they may (gasp) felt the angora if they so choose....
Can't wait to see what else you do with that silk...