Tuesday, March 5, 2013

rip money pit shawl

I did it.  I ripped out the entire Money Pit (Appalachian) Shawl. I've been sitting on this information for a week.  

I previously posted that the night of the Downton Abbey  season 3 final episode, the long circular needle cable on which some of the shawl stitches were, broke and I spent hours recapturing stitches and securing the couple hundred stitches. It stressed me out and caused me to really consider whether I wanted to finish the shawl.

First, I completely failed to compute the necessary yardage for the project.  I began with 3 bargain hanks of yarn that I liked and some nice left over yarn for the accent color.  Great! It was going to be a bargain.  That's when I still referred to it as the Appalachian Shawl.  Then, I needed more yarn.   And then I needed more. I don't know how my gauge/yardage calculation was so far off! Although the initial 3 hanks of yarn were on clearance, by the time I had acquired 9 hanks of Araucania Quillay, it could never be mistaken for a bargain priced project, nor a stash buster. 

I enjoyed the knitting:  There was texture and that broke up the rows and rows of straight knitting or purling. I liked the look of the shawl and I may even knit it again, with other yarn, but not for a while. I still have to recover. I've never ripped out a 7/8 of a project and still can't believe I did. 


The negatives:  As soon as I began referring to is as the Money Pit Shawl, instead of its real name, it wasn't a good sign.  I knitted a great deal of it sitting in the waiting room for the 44 days E-Rex (my husband) was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. We're so glad that's behind us.  Other things I have knitted during sickness or a stressful time, remind me to be thankful that we've gotten past whatever it was.  The Money Pit Shawl only reminded me of how much more yarn I ordered and reminded me that it still wasn't finished.  

After the needle cable broke and I secured all the stitches, I couldn't even look at it for over a week.  I couldn't bring myself to believe that a day would ever come, in which  I would want to finish the knitting.  So, now I have a big stash of yarn that will make a lovely sweater.  It's not going to be a shawl -- EVER. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

la-rink and la-link helpers

If you're as much of a Cat Bordhi fan as I am, it's likely that you knit socks.  If you do, and you use her paired increases for your instep increases, you may have had to visualize or check and re-check her directions for her la-rink and la-link increases.  I like the way she refers to each row of stitches as a daughter, mother and grandmother and I capitalize on that by using stitch markers that remind me of a mother and grandmother, so I remember which increase I need to use:

The names of the 2 increases, which indicate in which direction the increases lean, always cause me to doubt if I'm increasing correctly. That sends me back to general instructions and interrupts what would otherwise be peaceful contentedness.  One of the increases is in the left leg of the last grandmother stitch and the other increase is in the right leg  of the next mother stitch.  

I use a heart shaped stitch marker for the right leg of the next mother stitch, because mom is usually right and everyone loves (hearts) their mom.  For the left leg of the last  grandmother stitch, I use a square-ish  shaped stitch marker that looks like a little silver picture frame to remember that grandma left but we have her picture to remember her by.  She isn't as fast as the rest of us, so she arrives last.

If you don't need a mnemonic device to remember which way your increase will slant, I like your brain.  I need a little story and a stitch marker that reminds me of Cat's "relative" stitches.  If alphabet letter stitch markers aren't too profitable for your sock knitting, try the heart and picture frame approach. I hope they'll liberate you, as they have liberated me.

(The heart and "picture frame" stitch markers were found in a craft store bead department. They weren't intended as stitch markers, but they work perfectly.)

karbonz review

It was ironic to see Clara Parks's review of Knitter's Pride Karbonz carbon fiber knitting needles when I was planning to do the same.  I've had my  set of 2.25 mm 24" circs for a few weeks.  I've been knitting intermittently on my  Jungle (yarn colorway)  socks. My usual tactic, when knitting socks is 2 at a time on 2 circs.  When I first learned this technique, it was recommended in someone's book, to use 2 different length needles.  For me, that wasn't optimum.  Then, I used Knit Picks'  Options Harmony Wood and  Nickel Plated needles (which are made by Knitter's Pride, for Knit Picks.)  With 2 different needles the same length, I was a happy knitter... until one of the  Options Harmony  Wood needles snapped.  At such small diameters, it's not surprising that a wood needle could break.  I've had size 6 wooden needles snap.  Knit Picks was quick to replace the needle and I continued to knit with one of each, being especially careful.

As I Tweeted a few weeks ago, I picked up a Karbonz 2.25 circular needle at my LYS Creative Knitworks (the web site is under reconstruction presently).  I replaced the Options Harmony Wood needle that was in the toes of my socks with the Karbonz needle.  I've been using it since then and I'm finding it to be a fine needle for my purpose - especially that it won't snap if I put a bit of extra pressure on it.   

Unlike Clara, I don't find the sound of one Karbonz rubbed against another to sound any different from the Nickel Plated ones.  I'm pretty sensitive to unpleasant sounds, so perhaps I got one that was polished a bit more or  hers may have been from a different manufacturing run. They are also warm to the touch, much like wood needles, which  I prefer to the Nickel Plated ones.  Although I don't use a death grip on my knitting, my tension is average to tighter than average.  I haven't had any trouble moving first stitches on the needles (which I tighten up with a good tug on the second stitch of each row to prevent any ladders or large stitches) to the next needle.  They move as smoothly as on the Nickel.  That was my primary concern when I purchased them.  Sharon, the proprietor of my LYS,  said she had been using them for a while and liked them for all her  small diameter needle knitting.  She said if I didn't like them, I could take them back.  Take them back?  I'll be getting them in other sizes as I need them.  Knitting socks is a very pleasant experience with them.  

I give them 2 thumbs up  - or should that be 2 toes up? 

(Curious about the heart and square stitch markers?  I'll mention them in my next post.)

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