Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Blob Grows Slowly

Now that the needle trauma is over there isn't much say about the Lerwick Lace Shawl.

It grows.

But slowly.

120 rows of 800 stitches take a while at the best of times. But when work is busy, and the weather is so nice that any free time you do have you want to spend outdoors -- well, those 120 rows of 800 stitches don't get much attention!

I mentioned previously that I was finding the yarn (1 ply cobweb Shetland wool) quite uneven, and in places worryingly thin. Land o' Lace reported that she had a similar experience with the yarn -- and it even snapped in a few blaces during blocking. Eeeeek!

Anyway - I bring this up again because getting yarn that won't disappoint you in a project of this size is pretty important. If you are going to knit a gazillion stitches you don't want to be let down by the yarn at the end.

That's why I was so pleased this morning that while avoiding work by reading blogs I discovered that the very talented Fleegle has opened an Etsy shop. Fleegle knits gorgeous lace and knows more about yarn in her little finger than I do in my whole body (or whatever that expression is that means she knows a heck of a lot more than most people).

She's selected some yarns that she particularly likes for lace work and has dyed them some gorgeous colours. Not surprisingly I found myself placing an order immediately.

With Fleegle doing the selecting I am confident the yarn will be perfect -- I can't wait for it to arrive!! Stuff is moving off the shelves pretty quickly (no surprise there!) but do check it out if you're in the market for yarn for a lace shawl.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Oh My shiny new Knit Pick (or Pro) Needle - How do I love thee?

After last week's catastrophe with the Kollage square needle I was overjoyed when my shiny new Knit Pick (Knit Pro here in the UK) 2.75mm needle arrived yesterday morning. This morning I treated myself to a strong extra shot latte and sat down to tackle the recovery.
Things seem to have gone well and I think (hope) there won't be any noticeable goofs after the blocking does its stuff.

Working with the ever dependable Knit Pick needle this morning I realised just how much I didn't like the Kollage circular needle - even before it snapped. The stitches caught on the join on the Kollage needles and the weight of the work seemed to bend the cable at the join exacerbating the problem. In fact I think that is what caused the eventual break - the cable at the join got weaker with every row until it broke off entirely.

The tips of the needles were comfortable to work with and pointy enough for lace -- but I'm unlikely to try them again any time soon until I know whether my experience was a one off.

Jomama asked about lifelines in the comments. First I guess I should confess that I never use them - in fact, I had never heard of lifelines until about 2 years ago. However, my not using them isn't to say that I don't think they are a good idea -- just that I'm too set in my ways to start using them at this late stage in my knitting career.

Lifelines (as the name suggests) protect your work in the event of dropping some stitches or finding an error or having your needle snap. Basically a lifeline is a thread (dental floss is often recommended) that you run through all the stitches of a row - usually with a blunt tapestry needle. Then if you do face a catastrophe you simply rip back to the lifeline row and pick up the stitches from the lifeline. The frequency of lifelines depends on the complexity of the lace and the level of risk you are willing to take! Some people use a lifeline every repeat, or in the case of a very complicated shawl (with long rows!) every single row.

There are some good lifeline tutorials here and here and here is one with a great Knit Picks Options trick.

And look! It's that time of year again....I'm knitting little hats (16 so far) for Innocent Smoothies Big Knit campaign.

If you've got some spare yarn and a few minutes why not knit one or two yourself? Apart from keeping Smoothies cosy in Sainsbury fridges 35p from each hatted smoothie sold goes to Age Concern to help keep the elderly warm over the winter.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

I was going to.....

I was going to blog a couple of photos of my progress on the Lerwick Lace shawl.

You know, the usual stuff. Probably this photo of it all bunched up on the needles not looking like much of anything.

And then maybe this photo of the progress on the border.

It wasn't going to be an exciting update and I thought maybe I'd pep it up with some links to some inspiring knitting happening out there in blogland. (I am waaaaaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaay behind on my blog reading but made some progress this week.)

Well, that's what I was going to do.


Until this morning while I was knitting one of the 800ish stitch rounds and suddenly I felt something snap.

"Oh no!" I thought. "The yarn has snapped."

But no. It wasn't the yarn. It was worse. Much worse.

It was my needle! Yep - my needle! The cable snapped off from the needle end and there hanging loose were lots of scary looking stitches.

Naturally while carefully picking up these stitches I managed to lose more stitches as the cable slipped through the work.

There was a lot of swearing.

A lot of very not knitterly, very not ladylike swearing.

I think I've picked up the stitches. And I think it's ok. But I've set it aside for now and will correct any that got away a little later.

When I've stopped swearing.

P.S. Lately a couple of queries have been left in comments - but blogger won't let me see the email addresses. So if you have left a question (or have one now) you can send me an email at thingssoolikes AT gmail DOT com. I promise not to swear in my reply!

P.P.S. For the curious knitters out there the needles were Kollage square(!) needles. I was going to do a little review of them as this is the first time I've used them for lace. I expect now it's probably best if I don't!