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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lace is finally 'lacing'

Back on track with the white shawl, after a few hours of grief, more than a bit of anxiety, and even a silent scream or two out of frustration.

After putting all the stitches back onto the (wrong!) needle and doing what I thought was the right thing to center the new design within each section, I relaxed into the pattern.  It's important to 'relax' (read lecture to self) so that the pattern begins to sculpt itself into some cells of the brain.  Then "wrong needle."  Oh well, I'm relaxed, right?!

Began the 'rest row' (as in all purls back across the 300+ stitches) using the correct (and larger needle.)  After a few rows of sorting out the pattern repeats and locations, I think I'm on track.

Finally -- a partial view of the chevrons at the bottom
of the picture.  Moving up you can see a row of
eyelets.  Then the flowers and another row of eyelets.
The last few rows are that pesky pattern that just
wouldn't fall into place.

There's an important 'secret' (read 'tip') to lace knitting, to all knitting for that matter.  You must learn how to read your knitting.  This means you must be able to locate each type of stitch, in its respective row, and determine if a) you've knit the correct technique and b) you've knit this stitch in the correct location relative to previous stitches and rows.

In this picture I've marked with a smaller (US 6) needle the column of stitches that, at last, I was able to read from both the pattern chart and my knitting.
Hoping you can see that the needle is aligned with a
column of stitches to its left.  Above the eyelet (which
is the first hole at the bottom of the picture) you should
be able to see that each stitch is just a simple, plain, and
wonderfully welcome KNIT stitch.

The plain knit stitches line up from row to row and if I can keep this fact in my head and connect my fingers and hands to that fact I will be able to knit the rest of the shawl.  

Within a few rows I'll be up-sizing the needle, yet again, from a US 8 to a US 9.  This is why we have interchangeable needle tips and long cords to connect them -- so we can always have the size and length needle we need.  Extremely flexible concept.

Here's the four needles I will have used for this shawl.
Reading from left to right they are all US sizes,
6, 7, 8, and 9.  (US 8 in use on the shawl at the
time of this picture.)
In anticipation of the joyous and celebratory moment when I will graduate to the final needle size, I have prepared the US 9 needle tip and cord.  Actually I 'borrowed' the US 9 from a UFO (vest in progress) and left behind the knitting accessories which serve as bread crumbs to get me back to where I need to be when I return to the vest.

The blue tip on the blue vest yarn is the US 9 I need.
I've removed the other tip (lying across the top) and attached
a disk that shows me the size US 9.  Then I've applied a cap
so that the stitches of the vest do not escape.
I will repeat for the needle tip now holding vest stitches;
and when I am done the vest stitches will be on the cord, with
no needles.

Oh, but there are just too too many lessons in this project.  But one lesson stands out as supremely valuable.

I once had the following question from a non-knitter:  "Have you ever tried a pattern that you could not do?"

My answer -- and this shawl is an example of the answer and the attitude:  "Only when I assumed I knew how to do it and resisted actually paying attention to the directions."

If you can suspend for a moment all the things you think you already know, then and only then, will your mind and heart be ready to receive a new lesson.

And that's the lesson for today, folks.

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