Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Lace (and my new pointy bracelet)

This lace has been driving me crazy, no joke.  Before I go on, take a look at this swatch (which is currently the only surviving evidence that I am indeed knitting a shawl and it's not even in my possession.)

Ok, so there you have it.  That is a swatch for the Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, knit with Habu 40/2 kakishibu ramie.  This yarn is 100% ramie (a fiber derived from the nettle plant) and there are, I kid you not, 373 yards in a whopping 28 grams.  This stuff is tiny.  I have been having a few issues with this shawl.

Oh, before I go on, I suppose I should explain why I am actually knitting this shawl.  I was approached by the owner of my LYS and asked to knit a shawl for display in the store.  "Of course!" was my reply and I was eventually given this pattern and this yarn with which to knit said shawl.  It is very likely that I am indeed crazy for saying yes, but I will, I will, knit this shawl.  Based on the fact that it took me only 3 hours to knit this first swatch (the second one, which I am not showing here because it was not the winner, took only 2), I estimated that this shawl will take me 200+ hours of knitting time, provided I make absolutely no mistakes, ever.  Well, I can safely say that this estimate has already gone down the drain, many times.

I have yet to make it past the first pattern repeat.  Here's how things have gone down:

Provisional cast-on.  Check.  Oh, crap, wait, too many stitches.  RIP!

Provisional cast-on.  Recount stitches.  Check.  Add working yarn.  Knit 4 rows of garter.  Check.  Start knitting pattern.  Check!  Knit three rows in pattern.  CHECK!  (can you tell I'm getting excited?)  Get up to check my email, trip on working yarn, pull half the stitches off the needle.  CRAP!  RIP!  This yarn is nowhere near sticky and once a stitch is off the needle, there is absolutely no hope for picking it up again, especially with the patterning happening on both sides.  I just couldn't do it.  There were yarn-overs everywhere.  It was a nightmare.

Provisional cast-on, add working yarn, do garter, check.  Knit 7 rows of pattern (!), drop a stitch.  Oh for the love of flowers and candy!  RIP!

Provisional cast-on, add working yarn, do garter, knit 8 rows of pattern.  Check.  No mistakes.  Knit to the end of row 9, what?  I'm missing a stitch?  No worries, I think I found why it's missing.  I'll just unknit this row and it will all be fine.  Finish unknitting row.  Check.  Count stitches on the needle.  What do you mean I have seven extra stitches?!  That's not even possible!  Ok, fine, I'll unknit one more row.  Whoops, just kidding, I dropped a p2togtbl and those stitches ran like there was no tomorrow.  RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPP!

I have yet to find the courage to start again.  I know it's around here somewhere, but for now it's in hiding.  I will tell you one thing I learned from all of this though.  The yarn I'm working with really softens up once it has been ripped multiple times.  It is very stiff and crunchy at first, but it's really becoming much more pliable.  Isn't that great?

Moving right along, I figured this is as good a post as any to introduce you to yet another potentially disastrous knitting project I have recently started.

That there is 12 rows of the 25 rows of corrugated ribbing for the Vespergyle Mittens I am attempting to make for myself.  Let's have fun and list all of the ways these mittens may not work out for me:

1.  Finished measurements.  8" around.  My hand circumference.  9.25+".  My reaction?  "Oh, it's fine, knitting is stretchy!  Nothing to worry about."

2.  This builds on numero uno.  Gauge.  Well, let's just say I didn't bother checking gauge.  'Nuf said.

3.  I tricked you and said "'nuf said", but in reality there is more.  Yarn choice.  The pattern calls for Harrisville New England Shetland.  My reaction?  "Sweet, I have some of that in my stash!  I think instead I'll knit with some Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply I have here.  I don't care if it's a bit thinner."  Look how pretty it is though.

4.  Needle size.  The pattern calls for US 1.5.  My reaction?  "No problem, I've got some of those sitting around.  I think instead I'll pull those US 0s out of the sock I'm working on and use them instead, I think it will make for a much denser fabric.  Besides, I'm using thinner yarn.  Yes, it may make the mitten a bit smaller (although I don't know because I never bothered to check gauge to begin with), but that's ok, knitting is stretchy!"

All of this has lead up to the reason why I have been wearing a snazzy new pointy bracelet for the past 45 minutes.  I nearly broke the needles trying to get this thing on and am too afraid at the moment to attempt to take it off.  My reaction?  "Look, it fits perfectly around my wrist!  SUCCESS!!"  I'm just going to have to carry the yarn balls around in my pockets while sporting this new accessory.  No biggie.

Denial anyone?  I am still banking on the fact that after the ribbing is done, I am going to increase some stitches before working on the body of the mitten (who cares if it's only 6?).  I am confident that this mitten with turn out wonderfully and fit me like a


  1. literally laughing out loud (my officemates must think i'm nuts). good luck with your, er, bracelet.

  2. Good lord. Your all-nighter must have made you lose your sanity. But, knowing your track record, I'm sure everything you make will turn out perfectly somehow. :-P

  3. On the mitten, I hope you know several people with smaller hands, because it looks like it might be turning into a very nice Xmas gift for someone. :-)

    On the lace, use a life line. Really. I don't mind ripping back when there's a mistake, but when the good stuff has to go too, I get annoyed. Use a life line.

  4. omg - my face actually hurts from laughing. At least you haven't lost your sense of humor.

    I'm sure it will all turn out fine. That habu yarn is to die for.

  5. Haha, this blog does soooo go into my rss-feed!

    I wish you all the luck with the lace, and I look forward to seeing more of the pointy bracelet! Love your sense of humor!

  6. Wait, who in hell thought it was a good idea to knit a shawl in Plant Fiber?!