Saturday, 23 February 2013

Friday Night Sew In

Once a month, Heidi hosts a Friday Night Sew-In.  It's a personal challenge to set aside some time on a particular Friday night, in which to dedicate to project finishing.  I find this useful, especially when a project is getting fussy or frustrating and it would be easier to set it aside than to dig in and work through the issue.   Last night, I did just that.  I signed up for the Sew In.   Only, I was going to knit instead of sew.  The sewing room is a tad cool at this time of year and most of the sewing projects I've got going were started on a different machine.  There is definitely a difference in stitch and seams between machines and the projects might actually show  the difference.

After supper, I made myself a huge mug of herbal tea and sat down with the lace shawl I'd started.  It's the first time I've done a huge lace project like this and only the second lace attempt at all.  My first was a rather easy pair of socks with an intuitive and easily memorized pattern.   With only 4 repeats, and no increases to deal with, it was easy peasy.  However this shawl thing was getting me down. 

I'd tried with a single strand of the indigo yarn and I couldn't discern the pattern at all, which made it difficult to follow along.   As well, did you know you must be able to both count and follow a pattern at the same time in order to knit lace?  You also have to marker the bejebbers out of it and lifelines can be very useful.    So I had frogged the single strand of yarn.  I doubled it up and started again, this time with the two strands being about the weight which was actually called for in the pattern.   Note to self - you likely won't see the pattern emerging until you've done a whole repeat of the first chart!  If I'd done that with the first try, it might have been better.
First lace project, other than one pair of socks.

I'd gotten halfway through the first chart and found out why lifelines were recommended.  It was so easy to frog back to a known correct row and go from there.  In the end, by buckling down last night and knitting, I got 1 1/2 pattern repeats down.  I got comfortable with this particular technique and with the idea of counting rows and repeats with obsessiveness and using markers that I didn't even know I had hiding in my knitting bin.

What is amusing me right now, is that the idea that this little bit of a knitted thing, will actually block out to be a shawl!

Marker shows the "right" side, for keeping track of increases.
I emptied a basket which had been collective "stuff" since late last summer. I found this hidden in it.  Okay, it was hidden in plain sight as I didn't even bother to put it in a project bag, but it was underneath a couple of fibery things, so it sort of blended in.   It's another shawl, plain garter stitch, made from handspun, generic grey top from RH Linday.   The fibre was nice to work with and I remember spinning this as it spun up quickly and easily, more so than I'd anticipated.   Obviously with garter stitch, this is a mindless knitting project, a break from the plain socks I normally drag out to meetings and such.   However, there is enough of this yarn that I'm considering frogging the whole things and tossing another shawl project on the loom instead of knitting it.

I started another spinning project on the Mazurka.  It's just plain white yarn again, but this time at about 10 wpi or so.  I've nothing special planned for it, but it's a good project to practice consistency and variety in grist.  Besides, the fatter yarn fills up the bobbin more quickly, which gives me that instant gratification feeling.  That's kind of nice sometimes.


nessa said...

Hello, I clicked over from the FNSI post to see if you'd posted progress on your shawl. Your yarn is GORGEOUS, and I agree with the tinking/lifelines/counting bit - I was knitting a little lace last night too!

katherine said...

Visiting from FNSI and love the start of your knitting. We will be heading into autumn soon so I will be able to get busy with the needles too. Its wonderful to see some spinning happening too. My mum used to spin a lot of wool and knit for us and unfortunately she cant do it anymore but does still have all the equipment so that one day I might buy a fleece and get into it. I've to knit up all the stash she has given me first though lol.