Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Time Out on Mrs Hill's Jacket

I've got a photo somewhere but I don't even want to look at it again. Blackberry stitch! Oh, how I hate blackberry stitch. The problem is that it's not recoverable - once you've knitted past the mistake, it's impossible to got back and undo it - unlike moss stitch or cables which can be rectified quite a long way past the error.

I'd made a bad error and it was too ugly to live with. Threw it in a corner until Mrs Hill came to visit. Tried it on. I think I've over corrected. The initial couple of inches look OK on her and fit, but then I'm not happy with the 6" I knit on the smaller needles. It looks a bit small and also the change looks naff, somehow. I'll pull it back to the first 4" and start again.

But not this week!

I am so fed up with trying to make things fit. Suddenly decided that I needed to knit something easy. A shawl say. The only trouble is that I think shawls, no matter how beautiful, make a house look messy and a person look stupid. The only thing I've seen that I like is the Swan Lake stole, which began life as a mystery stole. It's a kind of asymmetrical wrap. It also looks too hard to make for what I want now. And then I suddenly remembered how cold our circular tent floor is. How wonderful a circular knitted shawl would be as a carpet.

Spent an hour or so on Ravelry and decided on Jared Flood's Girasole. It's designed for thick wool and several hundred people said it was an easy and enjoyable knit. It was great fun buying the pattern - by using Pay pal and Ravelry, it was mine in moments. Brooklyn Tweed says that you are welcome to contact him if you have problems, which is nice. I think it's great to be able to deal directly with the designer. He gets to keep all the profit, and I don't have to buy a book of patterns that I'll never make. There are also several links to tutorials in the pattern as well. Very modern and interconnected.

I began in green 4-ply (the tent is green and grey). I soon went wrong! The knitting was easy up to Chart C, where the leaves start. I got horribly tangled up trying to make those leaves, mostly because I hadn't realised that a row of spirals starts inside one of the leaves. The whole shawl also looked a bit small. Frogged two days knitting. Then hunted in the stash. I've probably got enough double knit in various shades of grey to make a full Girasole with. Got started again, this time I found the circular cast on (Tech knitter's disappearing loop) much easier to do, and I placed markers for Chart C. I knit 2 rows before remembering that I should have been knitting a plain row between each row of lace work. When will I learn that it's quicker to check the pattern than to undo 3 rows of lace knitting? But other than that, it's going OK. Not perfect, but OK.

I'm finding that I make a lot of errors in the lace when I don't understand what is happening. I'm trying hard to 'read' the pattern. Not just saying, SSK, but saying 'Now the edge of the leaf moves left with a SSK.' That helps. I am also counting the number of stitches in each repeat between the markers on the knit row as well as the lace row, which is a bit of a drag but does mean that I'm catching any errors where they can be redone. So far so good! And I have the blissful knowledge that even if my Girasole (known as the gray camping blankie) turns out SEVERAL FEET larger or smaller than I expect, it really doesn't matter at all.

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