Monday, March 24, 2014

Retinking lace

Lace has a weird effect on me.  I find lace-weight yarn very appealing, and have acquired a nice collection of it as a result of this.  I find pictures of lace shawls and scarves difficult to resist.  However, I have a habit of starting a lace project only to let it languish indefinitely after a few days of work.  Lace has its challenges, that's for sure!

I recently helped a knitting buddy revise her own abandoned lace project.  She had ambitiously set out to make a large lace shawl for a friend as a retirement present.  It was a very complex pattern, with 3 sections, each with unique and intricate patterns made with linen.  She almost made it to the end of one section before realizing that it would never be finished.  It sat in a bag that way for at least a year, until a few weeks ago when she handed it to me (for the second time, it turns out--I had helped her take out a few rows to fix a mistake awhile back) and said she'd like to take out a few inches to render a simple triangle that could be used by itself as a scarf.
I put in a "life line" a few rows up from the widest part of the section.  The life line turned out to be on multiple rows, but I managed to pick up enough to salvage it.  Then I tinked about 7 rows.  Have you ever tinked a row of lace?  Painful.  Several sessions of tinking, with the aid of a few drinks to make it fun, and I was ready to apply an edge and bind off.
Now it's beautiful.
You might expect this adventure to turn me away from knitting lace.  Instead, I've started (and abandoned) one project, and started another that I'm still working on.

Other adventures:
Milano is offically done:
A duplicate stitch heart, on my sleeve.
And I have recently visited Beaver Brook Farm:

 Those lambs are too cute.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Not Quite Done

Dear Oogy,
Here I am, all excited to be posting on the blog about my fabulously completed sweater, when I discover that it's not actually done!
I started Milano a few weeks ago, using Palette colors that I have accumulated over the years (thanks to you!).  I chose 13 colors and arranged them as instructed in Carol Sunday's amazing pattern.  I made a few mistakes and switched one of the colors midway, but the overall result is very appealing:
I liked the way the design called for a wide body and reasonably fitted sleeves.  I didn't make mine as wide as the pattern indicated--it's 56 inches around, instead of 71.  I also liked how the neck was constructed:

Look at the nice cabled decreases:
The applied I-cord around the neck stabilized the opening and made the decreases look great.  I used the applied I-cord around the sleeves, as well.
The pattern calls for the sleeves to be knit from the cuff and then sewn into the shoulder, but I take any chance to go the other direction to avoid the seaming.  I determined that I should pick up 4/5 of the stitches to make the sleeve fit properly.
About half way down the first sleeve I realized that I was violating the pattern in a major way, using the  prescribed sequence of colors in reverse order, but by then it was too late.  A mistake made twice becomes a design element, right?

One word of caution, in case you consider making this yourself: There are many ends to deal with.  
I managed it by weaving in the yarn at each color change, and then trimming the strands to about 1 1/2 inches.  The inside is looking a bit hairy, but I'm sure that the ends are secure.

I usually work on multiple projects at the same time, choosing each to suit my mood and energy level.  However, this was the only project I worked on for the past month.  The color changes and interesting edges kept me engaged, while the endless miles of stockinette allowed me to mull over work and family issues.  I'm feeling a bit of withdrawal, and am now eyeing the still-substantial collection of Palette.
It looks done, but it's missing a very important element!
As seen from this picture from Sunday Knits, there's a cute duplicate stitch design added at the end.
I had thought of using duplicate stitch on the elbows to look like patches, but it's only now that I'm remembering that!  Stay tuned.