Saturday, April 7, 2007

My Lace: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl

Since I gave you a teaser earlier, I thought I'd divulge a few details about the FCSS I've started. Here's a current progress shot:

In the beginning, I thought I would be clever and do a lace swatch from the outside of the ball. I usually leave my swatches attached to the ball, and frog them after I'm done with them (they call me Ebeneeza Yarnover). So, I figured that instead of having a bunch of yarn pulled from the center of my neat ball, I'd use yarn from the outside, and then wind it back around. Well, I failed to take conscious note of Susan's comment from the pattern on the lace swatching step:

"When I knit small, top-down triangle shawls like this one, I use the shawl itself as my second gauge swatch."

When I had completed the setup rows and first pattern repeat, I liked what I saw, and didn't want to rip it out. So, I kept on going, using yarn from the outside of the ball. Perfectionist that I am, this bothered me. (Don't ask why. I don't have a good reason.) So, after bending some gray matter toward a resolution, this was my solution:

Yep. A broccoli rubber band (just the right size to hold the edges of the folded lace shawllette against the ball winder core). I wondered if it would work . . .

And it did. It held on beautifully while I wound the ball from the outside, even leaving enough room at the top for the rubber band to keep from being incorporated into the yarn ball itself. So, as a nod to the old junior high sentiments:

♥ Ball winder + broccoli band = BFF ♥

And now, back to our regularly planned blog entry . . .

For the most part, I'm enjoying working on the FCSS. I can't say I've done a whole lot of knitting, per se, since I've tinked or frogged just about as many rows as I've knit. However, I've learned a few very valuable lessons:

1. I agree whole-heartedly with Stephanie about variegated yarns and lacework . . . with one exception: your first lace project. Having different colors throughout the work makes it a LOT easier to tell one row from another, and to identify mistakes. (Let's see . . . I know I've got the right number of stitches on the yellow/peach/orange row . . . so I must have missed something after that.)

2. I'm afraid I don't agree with Susan on the use of metal needles in lacework. I've tried valiantly to use bamboo (of which I have a nice suitable assortment), but I can't stand knitting on anything that doesn't allow the stitches to slide freely. Maybe someday I'll invest in some especially expensive and slippery hardwood needles (maybe some Lantern Moon ebony circulars, hmmm?), but for now, it's Knit Picks for me. If I'm careful, I don't have any trouble due to the metal. And when I'm not careful, I don't have trouble due to the metal, either. And I do love the sllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide. It's like knitting on air.

3. Tradititonal lifelines don't appeal to me--the idea of pulling even something as smooth as mercerized cotton crochet thread through a delicately knitted something (even when the fiber is a smooth, super-soft merino) is just not appealing. However, I've used a modified version (which I'm sure has been "discovered" before this) that I really like:

A US2 32" circular. Because the wrong side rows are all purled, it's easy to pick up a row of knitting to protect it when you need to frog a few rows (as I'll be doing when I get back to the lace). Due to the variegation, it's even easy to pick up lace rows, once you get the hang of it. As you can see above, I've picked up the right leg of each stitch (including yo's), and can frog neatly back to that row. Then I just knit off of the little needle and I'm back in business. This time I'm frogging due to somehow putting in an extra yarnover. (Maybe I'm subconsciously reading my knitting already, and saw the yo's below . . . but I'm not sure that's a good thing. lol) I laddered down and took out the extra stitch--but there was no way I could get all of the slack out of the stitches. Frog pond, here I come.

And now, off to work on my grocery list for next week. (Romantic, I know . . . but there's nothing that says "I love you" like home cooked meals. :o)

Have a great weekend!