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Things are going well, knitting wise. I know admitting this out loud is a major no-no, sure to bring down the wrath of the knitting gods upon me…wait…yes, let me emend that, the dog just threw up.

Let me start again.

Things were going well, I thought, knitting wise, but obviously I was being delusional. I wanted to share a picture of the progress I made on the sock. The heel was finished and I was just beginning the leg. Following a brief search that made Columbus discovering the new world look easy, the camera was located and I put on the sock to photograph it. The sock that was just humming off my needles, the sock that looked good with all its neat little knitting stitches lined up and even, that sock was way too big for my foot. That’s impossible, I thought. What chicanery is this? I swatched. I measured the amount of little stitches per inch. Of course! Relaxing sigh. It’s an optical illusion. I took off the sock, slapped it around a bit, put it back on. Darn if it still didn’t fit the same way. It was too large.

So let me start again.

Things were going south faster than a bird flies when winter is barreling in and I wasn’t aware of it. The sock I was happily knitting was never going to fit, but I was so entertained by the changing patterns in the yarn that I never realized this until I tried it on. So I frogged the little imp instead of photographing it. The yarn in all its frogged kinkiness looks like the nest of a small deranged animal. Speaking of which, the lace edging on the shawl continues to go forward. I knit a little on it each night. I don’t want to push it, I’m just beginning to feel the rhythm of the 12 stitch rows. It flows the way the car moved when I first learned to drive a stick shift. A quick jolt forward, followed by a sudden stop that snapped the head back, then another surge ahead and a stall.

So let me start again.

I am knitting.

The snow was vanishing. Patches of ground, like knife slashes on cold white canvas, erupted here and there. All undone now. Twenty-four hours of snow. A new canvas upon which to work.

Inside knitting continues. I cast on a sock. I am never really comfortable without a sock on my dpns.

schoeller and stahl fortissima colori sock yarn

This is a new yarn, for me. Schoeller and Stahl Fortissima Colori in Mexiko (their spelling, not mine). I need some regular, hard working socks where the yarn forms a pattern and I can just knit away in stockinette stitch. My basic construction of short-row toe and heel with a sewn bind-off at the cuff.

The progress on the Rock Island Shawl.

rock island shawl brooklyn tweed 2

madelinetosh prairie yarn lace

My lifestyle finds it impossible to let me knit 16 rows without moving the life line. So I move it every 8 rows. I can live with it.

A New Project

A new project is on my needles. Rock Island Shawl by Brooklyn Tweed.

rock island shawl brooklyn tweed

I’ve admired it for a long time. My knitting skills are getting a real workout and I am not even beyond the 12 stitch edging. I found Madelinetosh Prairie Yarn in the Medieval colorway and decided to go for it. The shawl is a long-term project. Very long-term.

I cast on about three days ago and I’ve managed to complete only 10 of the 71 repeats of the 8 row pattern. That means I have 488 more rows of edging to knit. One would think 12 stitches per row wouldn’t be difficult to whip off the needles. In fact, when I first looked at the edging chart I thought no problem. Lace making takes place on both sides just remember to reverse the decreases, yadda, yadda, yadda. I forgot the knitting gods don’t like hubris. They really, really, really don’t like it.

To make my arrogance complete, I decided I wouldn’t work with a life line. I mean a life line for 12 stitches? I completely blew past the reality that this was complicated lace making. Thus, dear fellow knitters and crafters, I paid and paid well. How badly did I mess this up? Let’s count the ways.

Forgotten yarn overs.

Forgotten decreases.

Knitting the first stitch of a RS row as if it were a WS row.

Knitting the first stitch of a WS row as if it were a RS row.

Knitting the wrong row.

Knitting the wrong row.

Knitting the wrong row.

Mixing up the decreases. Using k2tog when it called for ssk.

Mixing up the decreases. Using ssk when it called for k2tog.

Talking while knitting a row. The result wasn’t even close to the pattern.

Moving my attention from knitting to Yarn Rascal. A disaster all around.

Suddenly putting down the knitting in the middle of a row for any crises imaginable, picking it back up hours later and knitting the wrong row ending.

Thinking it was possible to tink back a row and get it right working in lace weight yarn.

I could go on, but why torture myself? Suffice it to say, I am now working with a life line. It hasn’t stopped the ripping back, but it has contained it from going all the way back to the start every time I make a mistake. I no longer speak while knitting. I no longer respond to crises. Nothing interrupts me until I get to the end of a row and check that sucker off my little counting sheet. This is why I knit ladies and gentlemen: it’s so darn relaxing.

Picture2

It’s been awhile since Yarn Rascal has earned the Golden Paw Award for Best Deviant Behavior with Yarn or Other Knitting Tools, but he racked up a humdinger this weekend. I foolishly led myself into believing such conduct had fallen by the wayside. Not so. The Bluefaced Leicester yarn, the completed front of the new baby sweater, and the locking stitch marker attached to the knitting were casualties.

In hindsight, I see that Yarn Rascal was winding himself up for this big moment. I was quite sick the last two weeks due to an awful reaction to medication. Two late night trips to the emergency room for rehydration while we waited for the medication to clear my system upset everyone. Yarn Rascal has never seen me sick and I could tell by his behavior that he was scared. He clung to me like a spandex outfit. Sick and rather scared myself any comfort I tried to give him fell hort of what he needed; which was for me to be up and about.

Finally, this weekend I returned to normal. Our household routines went back to being the same old same old. I picked up my knitting again, Yarn Rascal rejoiced. He got to slap the buttons on the calculator providing wrong answers for my computations. He got to sit on my lap, thereby sitting on my knitting too. He got to steal my pen. He was in his glory.

About the time we went to bed a wind storm came up. Strong winds buffeting the house make Yarn Rascal crazy. He gets very hyperactive. Combine his normal nocturnal tendencies with a keyed-up state and we have the makings of a disaster.

I, on the other hand, was tired and fell asleep. Yes, I heard the thump, thump, thump of his tail in the hallway just outside the bedroom door; a sound that can only mean trouble. I called his name and fell back to sleep. The rhythm of little feet running up and down the stairs bodes nothing good. Crying and tail wagging in the bedroom doorway is akin to disaster. These were some of the ways Yarn Rascal used to try to tell me that he’d gone over the edge and could no longer help himself. He was asking for help. I knew this and yet I just couldn’t break through to full conscientiousness. Then he came up on the bed and jumped up and down on me like a chimpanzee on cocaine. That got me awake.

I was too late. He destroyed and ingested part of the plastic locking stitch marker. I was horrified, sure this meant a trip to the emergency vet. The last thing I wanted was another late night trip to a hospital.

Needless to say we both survived. The Bluefaced Leicester yarn held up surprisingly well under assault. Only a small portion of the finished front needs to be repaired. Since Yarn Rascal ate the last locking stitch marker I had, I ordered more.

baby knit Blue Moon Fiber Arts Yarn 003

This is the fabric I’m creating with two different size needles and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Bluefaced Leicester yarn.

baby knit Blue Moon Fiber Arts Yarn 002

I am totally in love with the fabric.

I am also in love with the yarn.

Sometimes a mistake is fortuitous. It happened with the new baby sweater design I’m working on. We won’t talk about the infinite number of times I’ve knit and ripped the right front of the sweater except to say the amount of reknitting easily equals a completed baby sweater. No, there are many things I won’t say and in not saying them it is my hope to get beyond them.

Last night I had the chance to sit and knit, a chance that has eluded me for a long time. Half-way through the evening’s knit, I realized the fabric made by my US size 3 (3.25 mm) needles did not resemble the 6″ (15) cm of fabric that preceded it. Something was wonky and it looked like it was my tension (gauge). Without any angst or anger I slid the stitches off the needle and ripped back to where the fabric was correct. No, I didn’t have a life line. I have ripped so often that I am comfortable with leaving the live stitches hang in mid-air as I pick them up and seat them on my needle. Another bonus of constant ripping is that I can read this particular knitting in such an intimate manner that I know where I am in the pattern on any given stitch on any given row. This is extremely helpful when the correct stitch counts occur only on Wrong Side rows. So, as I said I ripped, picked up the dangling stitches and began again, carefully monitoring my tension.

Four rows in and the wonkiness reappeared. I paused and assessed my choices. One, I could rip out the entire piece and begin again. Two, I could investigate and try to find out why my US 3 needles were no longer producing the fabric I had fallen in love with. Before I could do either, life once again intervened and needles and yarn were hastily put away.

This morning I thought I might sneak in some “quiet” knit time. It would mean I’d need to close myself up in the closet or hide out in the bathroom, but I felt the imprisonment was worth it. Since the closet has no window, hence no light, the bathroom it was. I quickly grabbed needles and yarn before The Skipper and Yarn Rascal came in from their walk and barricaded shuttered myself in the bathroom.

I ripped the piece back to where the fabric was correct. A new day, a new time, perhaps a new tension might just give me the fabric I had knitted before. Yes, sometimes miracles do happen.

As I knit I was producing the correct fabric. A feeling of serenity fell round my shoulders and embraced me as I knit. The problem had worked itself out. I was smiling and patting the fabric when I noticed that the needles looked different from each other. Quietly, I snuck out of the bathroom to the craft room, located the magnifying glass (my eyes are not what they once were), and looked at the miniscule stamp that tells the size of the needles. One needle was US size 3 (3.25 mm), the other was US size 5 (3.75 mm). The fabric that I loved was being created by two different sized needles! What a beautiful and fortuitous mistake!

Finally, the pattern writing part. Pages are numbered, the header is the name of the pattern, the footer is copyright and contact info. This is page 2 of the pattern. Skip a space or two and begin.

All headings regarding garment names such as, Hat, Sweater, Gloves, Scarf, Socks etc. are written in Heading 1 in Word. All headings regarding garment pieces such as, Brim, Crown Shaping, Sleeves, Back, Right Front, Neck, Wrist, Thumb, etc. use Heading 2. When writing about garment pieces within an instruction always capitalize the first letter of the names of the garment pieces . For example, “Work Left Front same as Back.”

Paragraphing occurs whenever there is a logical break where the knitter will naturally look away from the pattern for a time before completing the next instruction. At these “look away” points, one paragraph ends and the next begins.

Use italics for construction notes. For example, at the same time. Or when signaling an instruction applies to only certain sizes. For example:
Size 6 mos only:
Inc Row: Increase 12 sts evenly across row.

Rows / Rnds are written in bold. For example, Row 1:. While some use ordinal numbers with superscripts as in 1st Row, I dislike it. I also haven’t seen it making big inroads to becoming a common way to denote rows or rounds. Do place periods at the end of row / round instructions. If delineation between a RS and WS row is necessary cite it like this: Row 1 (RS): and then the instructions. Don’t let instructions peter out and become vague at the end of a row or round. For example:
Row 1: K1, p1; rep to end of row. Or Row 1: K1, p1 across row. If a certain number of sts at the end of a row or round are worked differently than what has come before them, write it out Row 1: K1, pl to last 3 sts. K3. Don’t assume the knitter will just know what to do with the last few stitches at the end of a row or round. If the last few stitches are always worked the same way at the end of each row, it can be written as a pattern note before starting the segment. Be aware too that many knitters, myself included, will blissfully knit on forgetting the pattern note only to remember it 4″ (10) cm later.

Every row / round that includes decreases or increases should have a stitch count at the end of the row. Yes, even if only 1 st was changed. The exception is when a stitch pattern has accurate st counts only after a certain row is completed. Then an accurate st count goes at the end of that specific row taking into account the increases and decreases that occurred in the previous rows. Remaining stitches can be cited this way: K2tog, p1.–84( 89, 93) sts rem.

There is more regarding style sheets and the use of parenthetical marks (), brackets [], asterisks *, citing complex stitches, and when one can accurately claim a pattern is both charted and written.

Until then. Enjoy your weekend. I am having oral surgery on Friday and hope to be more myself by Monday. By the way, I haven’t knitted a thing this whole time. With the medication, I haven’t dared pick up needles and yarn. Not being able to knit is having an unnerving effect on me. The Skipper is spending a lot of time in his man cave areas of the house. Yarn Rascal spends his time curled up with me giving me comfort and love.

J T Weaver

And in the end the love you take, is equal to the love you make. -- The Beatles

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