Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Wyvern socks are finished (I'll get help with a FO shot soon), the scarves have lost their charm, the weather is getting nicer, and I have shawls on the brain. Those three balls of variegated softness? Destined for Kiri.

Here was my progress as of yesterday. One shawl half from center increases to edge is almost exactly one handspan along what will be the top edge, which for me is 6.25 inches. (See my new larimar ring? A little present to myself!) I'm using size US4 KA Bamboo needles, my very favorite brand so far. The tips are wonderfully pointy for bamboo without being sharp, and they are great for lace. Even so, this shawl is slow-going. I can only work on it after the girlie goes to bed in the evenings, and preferably on my husband's work nights (Tuesday through Saturday) so that I have no interruptions. I don't have a lifeline, as you can see, but so far I've only had to tink partial rows to fix little mistakes. (Knock on wood!) Fortunately it's fairly easy to see if you are off in the pattern before you get to the end of the row. I was confused about the instructions for beginning the shawl, where you knit this little strip of garter stitch three stitches wide, then pick up a stitch from each ridge. I've only knit one other shawl (which happens to be my most favorite and most worn handknit) and it was constructed differently, so this instruction didn't make sense to me until I gave up worrying and just started doing what the pattern told me to do. It turns out that little strip is the center of the long edge, or the part that will be at the back of the neck, and beginning this way makes it blend in with the three stitch garter border along the top edge. I had assumed that since this was a triangle shawl and I was starting with a small number to cast on, that I would be knitting from the point up. Not so! (I have so much to learn!)

I find it fascinating and unexpected that a shawl will shape itself this way. I don't quite understand; logically, I guess I do understand, but I just don't quite have a mental picture of why it works this way. Which becomes apparent when I show you this:

I couldn't find a pattern I liked for the J.O.Y. Aziza I showed off recently, so I decided I'd have to figure it out myself. I just wanted a simple mesh triangle. Not garter stitch. Not stockinette. With bigger holes! I chose a stitch pattern from the Vogue Stitchionary. I wanted a triangle with paired center increases, but knew each half would have to increase by two stitches each row in order to maintain the stitch pattern, so I needed an increase at each edge too. It took about six tries before I got the set up rows figured out and stopped making mistakes with the stitch pattern, but I finally got what I was aiming for and was knitting along happily when the girlie walked up, grabbed a needle, and pulled it out before I knew what had happened. The tencel is so slippery it all came apart, and with all the yo's and k2tog's everywhere it was too hard to fix it. So, I call it a swatch. I pulled the other needle out to get an idea of the shape, and look at that. My three cast on stitches are at the center of the neck edge! And I thought I was knitting from the point up again. You can see where there is a gap in the garter stitch border along the top edge. That's what the confusing set up of Kiri takes care of. I haven't decided if I'm going to modify my set up rows and begin in a similar way or just leave it like that. I don't mind it terribly, and I do have limited yardage to work with, so probably not. Now, if I was a math whiz, I could measure this little swatch, then rip it out and measure the length of the yarn, and then estimate the size of the finished shawl based on the amount of yarn I have to work with. But I really have no idea how to figure that out. It hurts my brain. I am a little afraid that one 525 yarn skein of lace/fingering weight is not enough for a shawl of this shape. I was working on size 5 needles. I think I'll go up to a 6 to stretch the yardage a tiny bit more, but I am still afraid I might get a puny triangle. We'll see.

My sock mojo is still on vacation apparently, and I don't have a single sock on the needles. It makes me a little antsy, like I'm in sock withdrawal! I've also done something terrible to my right wrist, probably involving keyboard and/or mouse, and I can't knit tonight. So, it's a reading night. There are far too few of those nowadays.


PinkPorcupine said...

Kiri is looking beautiful! I want to see piccies of the other shawl you knit - I've been wanting to make that one!!!
I hope there is enough JOY to make the size shawl you want - I'll feel bad otherwise!

Channon said...

You've been tagged! Head over to my blog - - to figure out what I mean! ;)