Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reality cannot be ignored

Sometime on Thursday I reckoned with reality -- a couple of the Christmas scarfs are not going to be finished for package-opening day.  With that nugget of news, I sat down to make some progress on the white lace shawl.  I wanted to get an idea of just how much knitting is ahead of me.  The best way to get a glimpse of that knitting future is to finish a total repeat of the pattern for a triangle shawl.

During this process the pattern is adding stitches so each row has just a few more stitches than the row below.  Since this shawl is three sections, making half of a hexagon, each right side row adds 6 stitches.  It's very 'comfortable' knitting -- the first pattern is easy to remember and, importantly, easy to correct on a subsequent row when I realize I've missed a yarn-over (add stitch) or knit 2 together (take-away) on a previous row.

Here's where I am now -- finished one repeat of the first pattern, with one more to go.
Santa is standing just to the left of the second point.  There
are 16 rows in the repeat -- 8 right side and 8 wrong side.
At the end of this section of knitting, I'm to the top of
a second point after the original diamond shape.
The knitting bowl is a wonderful companion.  I think wood items are soothing and calming.  They come from trees and I love trees -- trees are strong, sturdy, endure and survive despite storms (in most cases).  And they give us such beautiful and useful things, like houses, cedar trunks to store treasured sweaters, and knitting bowls to keep our unruly ball of yarn both tidy and available. 

This shawl pattern, from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace, has one extra instruction that puts it in a category all its own -- the shawl is knitted with three different size needles.  I don't mean that you start with a short needle and then need a longer one.  Though that's true (to hold all the stitches), this shawl begins with a US6 and then progresses thru a US7 and finally a US8.  Well, those are the needles that work with the yarn I'm using; may be different if you select a finer or bulkier yarn.  

Santa's red pencil is pointing to the
next section of the pattern, which I will
begin after I complete one more set of the
rows that make the point.
When it's time to begin the next set of pattern instructions, called a chart in this case because it's not in words but in a diagram, I will remove the US6 points on the long cord connecting them and replace with US7 points.

This is the wonderful thing about interchangeable needles.  Mine are from WEBS and Knit Picks.  No, can't mix between the sets.  Why two manufacturers?  Well, WEBS introduced their set with more tips at a very favorable price.  Knit Picks introduced theirs with three tips, one each in wood, aluminum, acrylic.  Gotta try it all to decide what works best . . . and what I can afford.  

Enuf about that.  

I'm thinking about all the knitters who just know they won't finish that last gift item.  One blog even had a draft note to include, something like "sorry I didn't finish, but I'll deliver the finished scarf/hat/mittens/whatever right after the New Year."  The idea is that you planned this for the person and picked out the yarn and pattern.  And when you worked on it you thought about them.  

So whether it's finished tomorrow or the next day, the gift will always carry all of the knitter's careful work and a piece of the knitter's heart.  Both show the recipient they are a treasured person.

Try to find a minute or two to knit during the next few busy days.  All knitters know that knitting is soothing to a frenzied spirit -- and I think we are meant to have a quiet spirit during this special time.

Merry Christmas

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