October 18th, 2006

fiber: silk shawl

Bored, bored bored....

but hey - it's Wednesday! The week is halfway over!

I did a regular wash on my hair today, and the blonde is back. Very bright, in fact - so I guess I'll do the final rinse every other day, and expect my hair to be dull on those days. No biggie.

The shawl is coming apace. I've reached the black hole portion of the knitting: it is taking 30 minutes to work 1 row; I've worked at least 40 rows in the 3rd pattern, but I just can't see any progress. I mean - I know I'm making progress (see 40 rows knitted), but it doesn't look like I've made any progress. (I'm up to 256 stitches per row, now - but it grows by 4 every other row. Or something).

I'm not happy with this shawl. Oh, it's beautiful, and will look stunning when I wear it, but.....the Pattern. Ick. The pattern, really, sucks. Why?

Well, first off, it's not symmetrical. Instead of the 2 sides being mirror images, you knit them both the same (IOW, when you hit the center, instead of *reversing* the pattern, you keep going the way you were...so that the left side starts where the right side ends, if that makes sense.) I've read and re-read the pattern, and that's the way it's written. IF I ever do this again, I will reverse the patterns at the center point so that they stay symmetrical (it'll look better, and make it easier to keep the patterns straight, I think).

Secondly, the patterns AS CHOSEN are, well.....kinda boring. The first one - English Mesh Lace - is just a bunch of seemingly random holes. I love Horseshoe Lace (the 2nd one), but the pattern only calls for 3 repeats of it (*yawn*) - I did 7, because it's a pretty pattern and I wanted to show it off. The 3rd - Mini Vine Lace....well, I don't like it. It's a *very* simple pattern; the lace holes are offset by 1 stitch every other row - and that's where the problem comes in.

See, you are already increasing each wrong-side row (which is, in itself, odd - most patterns want you to increase on the right-side rows.....whatever). So, on the first pattern row (Row 2), you're ok - k2, yo, k1 blah blah blah to end, k2. The 2nd pattern row (Row 4 - it's only a 4 row pattern, thankfully!), you k1, yo, k1 blah blah blah to end, k1). Easy enough...but you've got those pesky increases that are waiting "in the queue" to be added to the pattern. Follow me so far?

OK, so....normally in lace, each *increase* is paired with a *decrease*, so that your stitch count stays the same. (Normally - some patterns have you decrease in a different row, but this is basic stuff here). On row 4, you have an *increase* IN THE QUEUE that isn't paired with a decrease IN THE QUEUE, and this - THIS - kept throwing my stitch counts off.

This wouldn't be a big deal, except that you only need 7 stitches to add another repeat...and, remember, you've got to have both sides match (or, well.....sorta match. I'd prefer to have the same number of pattern repeats on each side, y'know?) That increase on one side, and lack of increase on the other, really messed things up.....until I had a DOH moment last night.

All I had to do was NOT increase (DOH!) on the WS row after Row 4. Simply count how many stitches I had in *that* queue (the one(s) with the extra YO), then increase the other 2 areas so that they matched. :sigh:

No biggie, and it looks fine...but *still*. Irritating as all get-out.

If I ever do this shawl again (and it's a BIG IF), I'll change a few things. Toss out the Mesh Lace and put in something more...pretty, keep the longer horseshoe lace portion, and CHANGE the mini vine to something that makes more sense, and yet still has the same look. Like - I dunno, maybe feather and fan. I'll also mirror-image the 2 sides so that it looks better and more symmetrical.

I need to be thinking about this, anyway - at Bedford I was commissioned to do a Shawl for one of my 'cousin's' anniversaries. I have 18 months or so to get it done, and the only request was PURPLE (well, and cushy-er yarn. No laceweight, and no silk. Something warm). Hmmm....purple. I'm thinking 3 or 4 various shades of purple on...Targhee or Falkland Island wool....not sure if I wanna weave it (faster! But not lace - I'm on a lace kick right now) or knit it...and if knit, what pattern/shape/etc?