So Much To Tell You

I have so much I want to say and I cannot figure out where to start.

Let’s start with the beach. Two Sunday’s back, we ventured down to my hometown of Hampton, Virginia, because I had a high school reunion. The reunion was kind of blah, but we started the day with two hours at Buckroe Beach.
We had an absolute blast. Grace is a fearless little water baby and I was so proud to watch her just march straight into the surf.
The poor girl also swallowed several mouthfuls of saltwater, which was enough to drive her back onto the sand for a while.
But we did eventually get her back into the water. It really was an excellent time and I loved that it cost us a half a tank of gas. I believe we will be making the early Sunday trip to the beach more often in the future.

In direct contrast to letting myself be photographed in a bathing suit, I resisted being photographed in my pajamas, as I plotted out my newest project.
That is how all my new projects generally start. In my bed. I do my best thinking and planning after the kid has gone to bed, and without the distraction of the internet or television in front of me.

Those are two balls of Knit Picks Shadow Lace on a pair of 4mm needles. The project in question is Miralda’s Triangular Shawl from Nancy Bush’s stunning book, Knitted Lace of Estonia.

This shawl is cast on from the bottom and worked up, rather than the typical American top down triangular shawl. This means casting on several hundred stitches, instead of 3, 5,or 7, like so many shawls start off with. I recommend using stitch markers to help keep track of how many stitches you have cast on. I put in one every 50 stitches, and as I knit the first row, I counted each 50 stitch section just to make sure I had the right number (I was off by 1 stitch as it turned out, which was very easily added in invisibly).

Knitting the first patterned row was a bit tricky as there are no landmarks to let you know where you are at in terms of the center stitch. I was smart and when I thought I had done the appropriate number of repeats for the first half of the first row, I counted the remaining stitches and discovered I had fewer stitches than I was supposed to have left, but not enough to have accidentally knitted a full extra repeat. Working my way back, I discovered on the very first repeat, I had screwed up my count and while the 14 other repeats were correct, I had gotten off by 8 stitches right out of the starting gate.

It was already time for the lace knitters version of beer:
It is my experience that booze and lace do NOT mix well. There is nothing wrong with knitting lace, stopping and drinking a beer. If, while knitting lace, you discover that 7 rows back that you missed two decreases and you have to unravel 3,000 stitches for two measly little decreases, then throwing it across the room in a fit that my preschooler would be hardpressed to match for intensity gently setting aside your mangled lace project and diving head first into the beer cooler is completely appropriate. Fortunately, I was not frustrated, nor did I have more than 160 stitches to tink. I was just irritated at my own ineptitude, so I made something caffeinated, added flavored creamer and a dollup of sugar free whipped cream, and I had an appropriately nerve-soothing beverage that fortified me enough to take another swing at Row 1.

Attempt number 2 worked out just fine, and I have been toodling along on it quite nicely ever since. That being said, since Sunday morning, I have achieved only the cast on, two knitted rows, and five patterned rows. That’s a few thousand stitches for those keeping track at home; let’s not include the tinked and reknitted stitches. But let’s just say, I haven’t gotten very far on this shawl yet. Only one quarter of the way through the lace edge.
I have to voice a complaint about the aforementioned Knitted Lace of Estonia book. I love Nancy Bush’s designs. I love every book I have seen of hers; they are all beautifully photographed and the projects appeal to my traditional eye. You won’t find eyelash yarn or anything with sparkles in it from Ms. Bush. My complaint is directed at whoever lays out the charts in the books. I recognize that they are placed to best take advantage of the space on the page, which means they are not in any way laid out in a logical sort of fashion. The first chart you find on the pattern is the Left Lace Edge chart, which is fine, until you remember that you have to start with the Right Lace Edge chart. And worse, that those two charts are not on the same page.

Well, maybe they are close to being on the same page. I am working strictly from photo copies because who actually works a pattern right out of the book?

But I ran into the same problem when I started the still unfinished Peacock and Leaves scarf. The very first pattern shown is not the pattern you start the project with. This resulted in some cursing and ripping when I started that project. I would prefer it if the charts showed up in the order you are supposed to work them.

But then, I would prefer world peace, too. You can’t always get what you want, I suppose.

I have a multitude of unfinished projects waiting on my attention. Let’s not get into details, but the list of WIPs is ridiculous.

That being said, I am happy to say I can take one project off of my Work In Progress list. I completed the ever so creatively named Bernat 2150-160 afghan, knitted for a lady whose grandmother started it some two decades ago.
A nice sexy shot of it in the tub, soaking in hot water and, get this, wool wash. That is only funny because there is not a natural fiber in the thing. It was slightly yellowed and a bit dingy looking, so a good hot soak seemed in order, and it did seem whiter when it was done. It also stretched a good deal, which I did not think acrylic would do, but it did and it looked so much nicer for it. It really opened up that pattern .
I would, in theory, knit this again. I might be risking some horrible copyright infringement law suit, but I retyped the pattern when I got it because I was working from a 20 year old, frail and yellowed photocopy from a book or magazine. I needed something I could actually read, so therefore, some retyping was in order.

If I did knit it again, I would prefer to use a superbulky yarn instead of two worsted weight yarns held together because I did not like the hassle of holding two yarns together. I would also use wool or at a least a wool blend instead of 100% acrylic because I am generally a wool-snob. I am also pragmatic enough to accept a blend when looking at a project like this and recognizing it will take a thousand yards or more to complete.

No matter what, while yes, I would knit it again, it is going to be a while before I even consider it. This was a big project and I ran out of yarn when it was only about 2/3rds of its intended size and before the crocheted edge was put on (not that I was crocheting any edge; I just don’t know how to crochet). It is just too much to wrap my brain around to rush into casting on my own version of it right now. But it does go on the list of possible future projects.

This probably checks in as one of my longest posts to date, so let me wrap it up. More soon.


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