Saturday, September 08, 2007

'Tis easier to knit than to tink

One advantage of a shawl that starts at the tip and gets wider is that if you make a mistake before the pattern is firmly in your head, it is no big deal to tink out a few rows. But if the pattern begins with "Cast on 339 stitches" it is another story. And so it is with the Icelandic Lace Shawl from Knitting Daily. It is a beautiful shawl and promises to be nice and cozy in the Jaggerspun Main Line that Sarah's Yarn kindly put up into kits for the Icelandic Lace Shawl KAL. This yarn is fingering weight, and since I am also working on the Bee Fields Shawl in very fine merino at the same time, this one seems like a fast and easy knit.

Maybe that's the problem: since it isn't too complicated, maybe I don't give it the attention it deserves. On Thursday night, I was knitting while watching the Channel 13 tribute to Luciano Pavarotti – a replay of a wonderful production of l'Elisir d'Amore from the early 1980's. I didn't think it would be a problem knitting this shawl while keeping an eye on the subtitles of the opera, though I knew that it would be out of the question with Bee Fields. Unfortunately I overestimated my multitasking capabilities, and after doing one the the last gray-beige section realized that the whole row was one stitch off in the second row, throwing the whole lace pattern out of whack. So, stitch by stitch, I worked my way back to were the first error was made. What a tedious process! When I finally got to reknit these rows, it because clear that it takes much less time to knit than to tink the exact same stitches.

Meanwhile, work proceeds slowly on the Bee Fields Shawl by Anne Hanson. What a gorgeous design! What a difficult thing to knit! The first sign of trouble was the instruction to p2tog tbl (purl two together through the back loops). I could never have figured out how to engage in this particular maneuvre without Anne's explicit explanation, and I still feel like I am doing a backbend when I do it, but it seems to be right, because the Bee Swarm section does (with a little imagination) look like a swarm of bees.

If I thought that was bad, the third section asked for a knitting move that I couldn't imagine doing until I had the needles in my hand. It involves a series of multiple yarnovers and dropping of yarnovers and picking up of multiple rows of dropped yarnovers... It is almost like magic how it all works out to look sort of like bees after the 6-row repeat is completed. (See the "bees" just below the needles in the above photo.) The yarn, from Wooly Wonka fibers, is absolutely scrumptious, and the shading of the green and yellow is even more subtle and interesting than it looks in the skein.

I am knitting this shawl (gasp!) without lifelines. I usually put in lifelines at least between sections, on a row that is plain K or plain P... but there are no rows that simple in this pattern. So I spend a lot of time holding my breath while knitting. Does that count as multitasking?

1 comment:

anne said...

it looks great! you are doing a marvelous job . . congratulations on tackling maneuvers you haven't tried before. that's the spirit!