Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A few mistakes, a few lessons learned...

...but it came out alright in the end.

This project was never meant to be. I know that now and if I could turn back time (like Doctor Who)(or Cher)(now I've got that dang song in my head) - anyway, if I had it all to do over again I wouldn't have started it. The finished object is nice -but I can't get much more enthusiastic about it than that.

The pattern is fine, if a bit dull. It's the Edwardian Lace Wrap from Heirloom Knitting, and is a very simple garter stitch border with a 12 row repeat diamond pattern for the body.

Mistake number 1: My choice of colour. This blue Kid Silk Haze seemed to have a bit more oooomph when I was looking at in John Lewis surrounded as it was by a rainbow of other yarns. Away from the other colours it just looks sort of drab.

But - this was the yarn I'd chosen, and the Edwardian Lace Wrap had been in my queue for ages so I cast on. The pattern is writen as garter stitch lace (ie every second row is knit rather than purl) and I'm not a big fan of it. So after about 5 repeats I pulled the needles out, ripped out what I had done and started again replacing the knit rows with purl rows.

Mistake number 2: Deciding the second time not to use the 5mm needles recommended but moving down to 4mm needles. I'm struggling to recall my reasons for doing this (particularly as I made a special trip to iKnit to replace my 5mm nickel tips SPECIFICALLY for this project) -- but I can't find one. And it was a mistake. The pattern would be more open, and the edging would be more effective on bigger needles.

I wasn't letting these mistakes get me down (much). I knit on. I knit on with my too small needles and my blah yarn colour. With barely a trace of bitterness. I knit on.

The stole uses a provisional cast on. The first half is knit, then the cast on stitches are picked up and the second half is knit to mirror the first. I added two repeats to each half to make up for the fact that I was using needles that were TOO SMALL.

Finally, I finished the top edge, and cast off the last stitches. Hurrah!

Mistake number 3: Deciding to block the stole at 9pm. On my bed. The one I sleep in. In fact the only bed in the house. What was I thinking pinning a soaking wet stole on to my bed at 9pm!!?? Obviously I wasn't.

I had three choices: 1) stay up all night 2) unpin it all and do it again another day 3) speed up the drying process.

I went for option 3. First I tried turning on the small bedside fan. But it was pretty clear I needed something more drastic. I needed to bring in the big guns.

I bought this fan last summer, and I've never been able to use it. The thing is a wind machine. Anything not weighted down goes flying when this baby is on. So I pulled it out of the closet, placed it at one end of the stole and turned it on 'hurricane' setting.

An hour later the stole was dry and ready to unpin.

Alls well that ends well. Or something like that.

Just the facts:
Edwardian Lace Wrap
4mm needles (fool)
3 skeins Hurricane (blah) Kid Silk Haze

Unblocked: 18 x 56 inches
Blocked: 21 x 68 inches

PS People often (well, occasionally)(errr, once) ask me how I get stoles and scarves to stay put. In this case I've used my latest Romi acquisition - a simple, beautiful shawl pin in silver and black horn. I love her pins and am beginning to suspect I knit lace just so I have someplace to use her pins!


Kai said...

I know you're not overly enthused about it, but I think it's absolutely stunning.. I love the colour too. Mind you, I saw it in JL and it was surrounded by other coolours as well... :D

Still, another stunning piece of work. Loving the shawl pin as well.

Beverly said...

Bummer. I have 3 skeins of that exact color that I intend to use to make a Kiri shawl. I'm sorry to hear the color is blah.

I think the shawl is really pretty. But, I know what you mean - when a project/yarn isn't working for you, it isn't working. Doesn't matter how great it turns out if you didn't enjoy knitting it at all.

fleegle said...

Now pinning the shawl to your only sleeping arrangement is something I would do. Am I rubbing off on you?

Regardless of all the mistakes, it turned out beautifully!

And yes, those mohair yarns need larger needles than you think.

Gale said...

Well, since it is such an error, send it to me! It is absolutely beautiful. A wonderfully gloomy fall/winter garment for a complexion that suits such things.

Kristina said...

A lovely lovely effort, Soo - unfortunate that the colour didn't work out (and strange - the blue Kidsilk Haze looks fab in the skein... it looks nice in your stole too, only not as vivid).

And I'm glad your blocking effort worked out. At least you didn't have to sleep on the floor (as I did, some time way back, when in the Toronto humid summer I decided to block my Whaam! sweater at 4:00 p.m. on my futon in my little bachelor apartment thinking that of course it would dry before bedtime. It did - three nights later.)



Rachel said...

Thanks for your comment...So far, I'm loving the photo challenge!

No matter the problems you had with this knit, it really is another gorgeous lace project! I think the color is lovely too (though I am partial to blues!).

Kate said...

I've done the fan on the shawl thing as well. But mine isn't nearly as big and scary as yours!

The shawl is gorgeous. But I can imagine it would be a bit dull to knit. I am so often caught by pretty but simple lace patterns and then have to remind myself that I have a very low boredom threshold..!

clarabelle said...

Well, I think it looks blinking wonderful! Especially with the Romi pin (aren't they sooper? wantwantwant...). And I love the colour (very apt name, btw, in view of the ingenious 'drying process'!). All in all, you are being too negative!

ps I also like the new-look blog...

the Lady said...

Well, we all have projects that bum us out, but I think it looks pretty cool! I'd love to have it, myself. (:-)

picperfic said...

It looks stunning...sorry you had problems with it but at least you finished it!

Opal said...

you know, despite all your perceived mistakes, that stole is gorgeous. i especially like the color. :-)

cici said...

well maybe you think they were mistakes ,. but all we see is a lovely lace..:D

Anonymous said...

LOL. Augh. So frustrating, but... I think it's gorgeous.

I've been the victim of yay-pin-shawl-out-oops-wait-I-have-to-sleep-here, too.

... I slept on the sofa that night.

Moggle said...

It's really lovely!
But I'll try to beware of that shade of KSH

Susan (ZenKnit) said...

It looks lovely. From my view the "boring" blue looks like it will transform to many colors depending on what you are wearing.

~ Peace

Queen of the froggers said...

Its beautiful Soo, I love the colour too. But now I have that Cher song in my head too!

lv2knit said...

You had me at hello! I was laughing so hard by the end of your travails I almost spit out my coffee! The shawl is beautiful and hopefully after a few days (weeks?) pass, you will see the beauty of it, too!

I am thrilled that you are knitting a shawl for Wrapped in Care! The recipient will be warmed and comforted by your special gift.

Viknits said...

Is that the hazy, greyish blue, same as mine that I used for the FC? It's a stunning colour! I wear mine all the time! But of course some yarns with certain projects just don't do it for you - what a shame, but everyone else seems to think it's beautiful (as do I) so you obviously did something right! :p I admire your perseverance, I'd have probably totally started again on the bigger needles!

I'm with Kate - low boredom threshold usually prevents the really simple, effective patterns (such as that)!

kathryn said...

I think the shawl looks lovely and the colour is beautifully subtle and understated. I bet you end up wearing it a lot!

The pin goes so well with it too.

Laura said...

In spite of all that, who knows? You may find yourself wearing the stole quite often. The color and the geometric lace patterning lend themselves really well to a more casual wear. Anyway you need to show off your pin! Seriously, your lace work is gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

It looks quite nice from here! However, I can understand how it might not be the most exciting pattern to knit.

Carolyn said...

I know the feeling of not enjoying knitting something, but really, your end result is beautiful. Perhaps it will grow on you after you've got over the blah of knitting it?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you don't love your new shawl, but it is beautiful none the less and you learned some valuable lessons along the way...if I could turn back you've got me humming it...Sandra Singh

Anni said...

I love your stole. The only thing is that I can imagine the repeat woud get a little boring after a while but it looks beautiful and so does the yarn colour.