Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fine Gauge

At left are the two current active projects. The legwarmer is shown next to its mate which is in the beginning stage on the right. Yes, those are knitting needles, not toothpicks. When the second legwarmer is complete, I will have a set that is suitable for either a girl or a boy baby, depending upon what Rachael has. I've already completed a white toddler sweater and a baby blanket project is in a bag inspiring guilt. I'm good for baby gifts.

The amorphous green bit is what I'm really working on now. It will be a triangular shawl/ette from a pattern written by Evelyn Clark. The Evelyn Clark stuff has been creeping up on me for a while, years apparently. Over the winter, I saw the pattern for Springtime Bandit and absolutely HAD to make it. I had a rather difficult time with that pattern because it was my first lace piece. The project was successful, but I did not understand what I was doing. That drives me bonkers. I started researching lace and lace shawls and found the work of Evelyn Clark. I got a copy of her book, Knitting Lace Triangles, on eBay, after a bidding war that lasted several days. I bought laceweight yarn at KnitPicks. I tried all sorts of needles from my collection....plastic, bamboo, metal, straight, DPN, circulars......and was utterly miserable with the whole mess. Laceweight yarn is....string! The stuff is so fine, I could barely (NOT) feel it passing through my fingers. Couldn't find the right needle. Tantrums, agita! In the meantime I picked up fingering weight and size 4 needles which suddenly felt just dandy. Anyway, not to be defeated, I found an online Evelyn Clark pattern called Old Shale Shawl. It was originally published in Piecework magazine and a variation is available for purchase online. I bought the pattern. I like the fact that this pattern is for a true BEGINNER lace triangle. The body of the shawl is done in garter stitch so I can concentrate on the shaping details. The shawl ends with a deep edging in the Old Shale pattern, which is an easy lace. Finally, Evelyn Clark specializes in patterns that can be adapted to a range of yarn weights. I'm doing this one in a 440 yard skein of laceweight yarn, on size 4 needles. The stitches are tiny. Even so, after blocking and massive stretching, I should have something I can wear around my neck. My gauge before blocking is around 7-10 stitches per inch. This project is going to take a long time...... I am getting to the point where I can control the tension and feel the yarn slipping through my fingers. Still, it's a very different experience. This yarn really feels like string. The finished project is going to feel and drape differently. The yarn is inelastic. I also am adjusting to metal needles which I avoid, but they are the primary (only) option in the smaller sizes. Hopefully I'll have enough completed soon to post a real picture. Currently, the project is the size of my palm, after 3 days of work.

1 comment:

bunnits said...

Keep up the good work, tedious though it may be. I have a difficult time with lace patterns that have more than 4- or 5-line repeats because I lose my place and strange things happen. I'd really like to try the Old Shale pattern sometime. When I can concentrate more.