Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Dream of Knitting

View From Our Front Window On A Very Hot Day

Dear Blog-

I know I joke that I dream about knitting, and I know that whenever I have a knitting conundrum all I need to do is sleep on it, the answer will come to me when I wake up in the morning. Always works. But DH tells me that three nights ago when he rolled over in the middle of the night, I gave him a very enthusiastic and heartfelt, 'Thank you!' Of course, this was all news to me. And he decided to tell the story when we were out to dinner with friends. Anyway, when he asked me what I was thanking him for, thinking I was perhaps grateful he was not sleeping on his back and therefore might snore less (as though anything less than a Sherman tank rolling through the room is going to disturb my rest) I replied, 'The knitting pattern!' Of course, we all had a good laugh about that. But I found myself, just before the alarm went off yesterday morning, explaining to someone how to do an afterthought heel in a pair of socks. So I guess I really DO dream about knitting more than I thought. This is somewhat scary. No naked young men larking about in my dreams waving cans of whipped cream. Oh, no! I dream about yarn and teaching strangers what to do with it.

Of course the big thing in the online knitting world right now is the Mystery Stole 3, which is due to start this coming Friday. I signed up on the first day and was person #11, by the time I was finished signing up and registering, there were 117 people. As of today there were over 3000! And another week to go yet before she closes the group to new members. I'm thinking we will hit pretty close to the record for Knitting Olympics, which was 4000. You think knitting isn't big? You just aren't paying attention. I just read that the single biggest group of bloggers are knitters. We can take over the world! Maybe I need to make a World Domination Through Yarn button. Our slogan can be, Make Socks, Not War. Hmmm...

So just over a week ago I received my yarn for this project - a cake of Zephyr lace yarn in charcoal grey - from Sarah's Yarns. Of the few things we DO know about the project right now, it seems that black or white yarn would be the ideal with this year's theme. Failing those, off-whites, greys, etc would do. White just seems too... well, not me. Black is too limited in my real life. Charcoal grey should be just right.

Right away I sat myself down and worked on my swatch. As Melanie, the MS3 Goddess, explained, this is to get an idea for the kind of fabric we like best, not for gauge. I worked my swatch in three repeats each of the lace pattern, starting with size US 5 needles, then up to 4s, then finishing with 3s. In photography we used to call that bracketing. Heck, maybe they still do. I did put a tiny row of purls in between the needle changes, but you can't see that here. The fabric with the 3s seems the best to me, it gives the greatest contrast between solid fabric and yo's. But... Melanie tells us that her finished shawl using size 4s measures out to a 20" width. I sure would like mine to be about 4 - 5 inches wider, and yet she tells us that adding width is not one of our options, other than by changing needle sizes. We can make it longer, but not wider. And that we don't need to add a border to the shawl. Hmmm... I might just opt for a border anyway. I have over 1200 yds of yarn, and the shawl took Melanie about 780 yds. It's a real Mystery, for heaven's sake!

At any rate, here is my swatch while blocking. God, I love my blocking wires! Anyone who tries to block anything without them is really missing out.

MS3 swatch blocking

And here is the same swatch after blocking. You can see a 6" ruler at the top, at the size 3 end, and a larger ruler at the bottom where I used size 5s. A difference of 3.5 inches in width between the top and bottom. You may see that I have left a stitch holder at the end of the BO row. If I can use this yarn over again for the shawl, why the heck not?

MS3 swatch after blocking

For anyone not familiar with this yarn, it is a blend of wool and silk, and has gorgeous luster and drape. This is going to make one delicious shawl, and will probably be my default lace yarn of choice from now on. Here are the beads I'll be using with the shawl...

MS3 swatch with beads

In the meantime, while waiting anxiously with seemingly half the rest of the known world for the first clue to appear, I am working on my Scheherazade Stole, another design from Melanie at Pink Lemon Twist. This was last year's MS2, but I found out about it too late to join the group - like millions of others, apparently. Melanie worked this pattern in Zephyr as well, but I am working mine in Merino Oro. Lovely stuff, but a cobweb weight rather than a lace weight, so my shawl is much less substantial than hers is. Once I found the Addi lace needles I have been ripping along on this baby. The difference in needles and how well you can work with them is amazing! You may remember me complaining over the winter about not being able to find the right needle for this. Everything I tried had some sort of flaw or other that made knitting with cobweb yarn a nightmare, it hung up on the teeniest bump or ditch. But with these Addi's I am just flying along now. I would like to see how much I can get done before The MS3 starts. I don't imagine for a second that I'll be finished, but I'd like to get as close to that as I can before Friday. This shawl has been telling me that it wants to be a Christmas present for someone who shall remain nameless. If it were going to stay with me, I would make a border for it to make it just that little bit wider, and I may just do so yet. But the intended recipient likes things that are not as wide, so maybe not, the jury is still out

I couldn't resist blocking the first half so that I could see what the fabric would be like, and it is just so lovely. Very floaty and light, ethereal. On the other half I am just about to start the second set of paisleys down the sides, so I am going along nicely.

First half of Scheherazade

Detail of Scheherazade with end border

In other news with me, I have been asked to set up and run a blog for the LYS where I teach and sometimes even work. This is just so exciting to me - to be able to combine knitting and writing, my two great loves, AND be paid for it seems too good to be true. I can see great things coming from this! So check back in about another week and I should be able to direct you to the blog site then. In the meantime I am getting things set up, painting the walls, arranging the furniture, hanging pictures, getting the database written and links added, etc. All with the help of the LYSO's brother, Craig, who is patiently setting up the database pages on the main shop website for me.

So, blog, that is all for now. I might take a Scheherazade break this afternoon and make some felted baby booties for my Dr., who is about to have a baby boy.

Knit On!

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Blogger KarenK said...

Lovely stole - I made the Scheherazade, too, which you can see if you visit my blog:

For the MS3, I'm using charcoal grey cashmere from ColourmartUK, and it feels heavenly. I'm looking forward to seeing Melanie's design!

9:40 PM  

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