Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ravelympics – Final Update

I actually got the stole done in time for the Ravelympics deadline. In fact, I got it done early, on Friday 22 August, because my husband and I were going out of town for the weekend.

I had a few bad moments when I realized that despite my best efforts at binding off loosely, I wasn’t managing to do it. My bind off had no give to it whatsoever, and I was afraid I was going to end up with an overgrown scarf instead of a stole. It took me the better part of an hour to undo the bid off and get all the stitches back on the needle. Then I switched to US6 tips, and conducted what has to be the loosest, sloppiest bind-off I’ve ever made.

01-Bind Off

I was reasonably certain that it would block well, so I tried not to be too concerned with how it looked fresh off the needles.

In fact, I kind of liked it.

I spread it out on the floor, just to try to see the scope of it. If you click to make this photo bigger, you can see a lifeline just to the right of center. That’s the lifeline I ripped back to after the beer incident. I still have a hard time comprehending that I actually knit that much in that period of time.

210 rows... That’s a lot of lace!

I draped it artfully over my husbands broken foot.


It didn’t seem to make him feel any better, which was a surprise to me. How could you not feel better wearing baby alpaca?

Time for the bath.



Time for a beer.


I let it sit while I had some supper, and then hauled it gently out of the water.


I crawled around on the floor for quite a while, adjusting pins and checking measurements with a yardstick. Finally, I was happy with it.


I still have a hard time believing that I made something so lovely and delicate.


Even though this lace is destined to live with my mother, I couldn’t resist trying it on.


There are things I would do differently if I were to start this project again, but I’m doing my best to stop counting the flaws in my work so often. Especially for this project, I want to take the time to appreciate the things I learned while I was making it.

Mom, your stole’s ready in time for the symphony. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh Honestly…

What exactly is my problem?

My sock-knitting mojo, she has abandoned me entirely.

These are my feet.


Sandal Tan

I’ve had them for a long time, nearly 40 years. It’s not as if anything about them has changed recently. They haven’t grown since I was about 15. They’re a US size 7.5, 8 inches around with nothing to distinguish them.

But I can’t seem to knit a pair of socks to fit me. My last pair of socks was too big, and they were given to a friend with slightly larger feet. They fit her quite well, and she likes them very much. I liked them very much too, but it was not to be.

No biggie, I thought, I’ll just make another pair. I have a metric ton of sock yarn to choose from.

So I knit a quick gauge swatch with the Pagewood Farms Camo (Ravelry Link) that the Random List Generator chose for me. Then I settled on the Stansfield 12 pattern out of Sensational Knitted Socks, cast on the requisite number of stitches and got to work.

It was coming along quite well, I thought…


Indeed, the knitting was going well. A long lovely spiral of knits and purls coming off the needles day after day. There was nothing wrong with the pattern, the yarn, or the gauge The socks would have been perfect if I'd just kept knitting them.

What was wrong was all in my mind. I got it into my head that the leg needed to be 6 inches long, even though the very comprehensive tables in my book say that the leg should be 7.5 inches.

Nope, had the number 6 stuck in my head, and 6 it would be.

I knit my first short-row heel, and it turned out OK. But the leg was too short, although my brain refused to see it. Heck, I even took a picture of the silly thing on my foot, and it didn’t compute that the leg was at least in inch and a half too short.


To compound the problem, I then proceeded to knit the foot too short as well. Finished off both socks with my first pair of round toes, and tried them on.


Finally, I saw it. Heck, I felt it… these socks are too small for me. Not just a little short in the leg or the foot, but too short in both.

I can take some comfort in the fact that when I screw up I do it with a will.

It’s as if I had been carrying around this picture in my head of feet that were smaller than mine, feet that belonged to someone else entirely.

My mother’s feet.


At this rate, if I try to knit a pair of socks for my mother they’ll turn out the perfect size for my 2-month old niece.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ravelympics: Update One

I decided that I needed an extra push to get my mother’s Candle Flame Shawl done, so I signed up for the Ravelympics 2008, in the WIP Wrestling event.

Fridays are Pizza Day at my house, and I was very careful to have only one beer with my dinner. This isn’t a sock or a ribbed scarf I’m working on, this is lace, and I didn’t want to screw it up.

Surely one beer wouldn’t hurt, would it?

You can see where this is leading, can’t you?

I started my Olympic knitting on the 28th row of the 5th pattern repeat, and I honestly thought I was doing quite well. Then, as I was getting ready to knit the 36th and final row of the 5th pattern repeat, I saw it.

I’d dropped a stitch, of course, and it had run itself down 5-6 rows. I tried to get it back up with a crochet hook, but it was stubborn and obstinate, and I failed completely. I had to rip back to my last life-line, all the way down to row 24.

8 August 2008

Rows knit: -4.

Rows to go: 210

Lesson learned: Beer and lace don’t mix.

The next day, I got all 97 stitches back on the needles, settled myself down on the couch, and got back to work.

It turns out that coffee is a much better beverage for lace than beer.

9 August 2008

Rows knit: 32

Rows to go: 178

On Sunday, I had some running around to do, and lace just isn’t a good choice for portable knitting. I got some done in the morning and some more done in the evening. Things are looking good, I feel like I’m really in the groove with this project.

10 August 2008

Rows knit: 19

Rows to go: 159

Pictures with the next update, I swear!