Lace is addictive...

I thought I'd break my long (unintentional) silence with a post about lace. I've probably said it all before though... My husband may soon commit me to some twelve-step program for lace addicts 'cause I love the lace.

And yet... it drives me kinda insane.

To be fair, some of the problem is being a Sinister knitter. I never know exactly when I should follow the directions and trust it to all work out, like my "nephew" Soren's baby sweater:

Those who know the Baby Kimono pattern, mine came out backwards. I followed the directions...and that means left becomes right and right becomes left for me.

For lace, there's just a whole plethora of questions, which I found myself asking over in the GoddessKnits group. As always, Renee was quick to pop in with clarifying examples and others chimed in with suggestions of how to handle the charts.

As you can see over on the right, I'm currently working on Renee's pattern, Dracula's Bride. It's going to be absolutely *stunning* when it's done...and I'm going to have earned every single blasted "oooh" and "aaah" I get! *snort*

I should try to take it out and get some decent pictures of it...but have you ever heard what unblocked lace looks like? I think the term "yarn barf" is close, despite that term being frequently ascribed to the part of the skein that comes out when you're trying to find the inside end.

For other Sinister knitters who wish to try their hand at lace, let me save you lots of trouble: read the charts LEFT to RIGHT on the right-side rows and vice-versa on the wrong-side rows. So far, I haven't needed to change any specific stitches, just the order to read them in. I've been meaning to go in to Tempe Yarn and Fiber and sit down with Terry and see what, if any changes a Sinister knitter needs to make for slanting increases and decreases that are not symmetrical.

Oh...and for this shawl, I once again ordered from They were incredibly speedy in getting my order out, even though I didn't put a rush on it... (You know how it is when you're jonesing to start a new project and waiting for supplies...)

Speaking of shawls and lace... I've been back to work on the Trinity Wedding Shawl/Stole for my mother. The pattern itself is less unwieldy now---I managed to streamline it down to "only" twelve pages...from 27! So, hopefully, I can stared alternating work between the Trinity shawl and Dracula's Bride. And maybe take some pictures of both!

Trinity Wedding Shawl in progress!

There's a rumor floating around that Mom's wedding might be the end of this month! I've cast on for her Trinity Wedding Shawl and am making every effort to have it done in time. Here's my progress at 2:30am on the 12th of September:

I'm really pleased with how it's knitting up. I'm doubly glad I simplified the pattern so that all "wrong-side" rows are just purls!

I'm working on US4 needles. I started with a provisional cast-on (for the eventual border to be easier to work).

Trinity Wedding Shawl pattern

I received a question regarding my plans to sell the pattern for the Trinity Wedding Shawl I'm designing for my mom. I had enough to say on the matter, I thought I'd make it a full blog post.

I am hoping to sell the pattern, once I've completed the design. This is my first pattern, so I'm struggling with the charts and how to get them to come out nicely. The ones I've been able to print are, in my opinion, too small for actual knitting---the chart is too tiny by the time I can get it to fit on the page.

So, I've been breaking the pattern up into pieces and trying to reduce the "fiddlyness" (I made that up) of the actual knitting process. I dislike having to stop, put my knitting down, count out spaces, then begin knitting again. And there's a lot of spaces in this pattern. I've taken borders and figured out repeats, so I could make smaller charts for those sections (a smaller chart ends up with bigger squares to show the pattern in). That is helping to reduce how much I have to show on one chart.

I was hoping to have an entire row showing at one time, but I just can't get it to happen. So, I'm putting half a row to a chart and then deciding whether to have that chart go for the whole section or half a section.

The very last problem is the other end of the shawl. If you know knitting charts, you know that you start knitting from the bottom of the chart and work toward the top. In my spreadsheet program (sigh Yes, that's what I'm using) that means the pattern starts on row...oh, let's say 250 and works to row 1. Now I need to insert above row 1 and take rows 250 to something like row 185 or so and flip them so that row 250 is also row 1 and row 185 is now just above the old row 1. Confused yet?

Fortunately, I'm married to a rocket scientist. Randy should be able to take the rows I specify and spit them out in reverse order into a new file. From there, I can import them into a chart, then copy/paste into my current chart and voilá the full pattern....which will need to be broken down multiple times.

All this still needs to be my own test knit of the pattern to see if I was smoking some really good (imaginary sigh) weed when I designed it in the beginning.

But, once all this is done, I do want to pack it all up into a PDF and offer it for sale. Maybe I'll make enough money from it to actually buy some software to design the other shawl ideas I have in mind. snort, laugh, giggle Yeah, I doubt it too. Non-open-source software is expensive!

Trinity Wedding Shawl yarn

I managed to get a bunch of yarn pictures and get them uploaded---all in one night! So, here's the yarn for Mom's Trinity Wedding Shawl:

You can see Sebastian helping me take pictures in the second one. I think the ferrets love the smell of Susie Yarn as much as I do!

I hope to get far enough on my test-knitting to be able to cast on with the actual yarn soon!

Spring is done. Finally

I finished the Spring Mystery Shawl (finally!) very (very!) early Monday morning. I ordered my wire blocking kit on Tuesday, so it'll be a while before pictures will go up showing this one.

That leaves me with the Anniversary Mystery Shawl (a pi-shawl), which is the one I've ripped out a bajillion times already. I'm slowly working my way through Clue 2 and hope to be on to Clue 3 this evening. (Yes, for the very observant, it's 4:15 in the morning and I'm up, writing a blog entry....)

I've got a doctor's appointment at the very ungodly hour of 7:30am and I've pretty much given up getting any sleep before the appointment. So, I figure, I'll come home and crash afterward.

I'm expecting yarn to arrive tomorrow for two upcoming shawl projects: one is Mom's shawl. The other, is Goddess Knit's Dracula's Bride, which I purchased some time ago but finally got around to ordering the custom colorway I had in mind. I've got some concerns that the circles as I've charted them in Mom's shawl might go a little more oval-ish than I want, so I'll probably start with that one next.

There's another Mystery KAL starting Saturday--a Faroese shawl--but my yarn is delayed (through no fault of my dyer), so I'll start that one behind schedule.

I think I've missed a month or two of my reading lists for this year.... *sigh* I'll have to root around and see what I've been reading. As far as audiobooks go, I've devoured the first four books in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. That is truly outstanding listening. In fact, I would recommend listening over reading, to truly capture the places best. Davina Porter narrates the ones I bought from Audible (are there any other narrators out there doing Outlander?) and she does an amazing job.

In contrast, I had to stop listening to "The Immortals" by Tracy Hickman precisely because of the narration. The narrator? The author himself. And it's not "narration" but a sort of embellished presentation, with some sound effects added in---very very annoying. If I wanted to listen to a radio play, I would. I wish I could get my credit back on that book.

Oh, I got to get my geek on last week. We've got one of the Mac Powerbooks (codenamed Pismo), which was the last Mac I used regularly. Long ago (back in 2005?) one of the cats no longer residing with us (I'll leave it to you to decide why) managed to knock it to the (then concrete) floor---totally killing the screen. Randy was given another Mac Powerbook and we planned to swap the hard drives so I could get to my old genealogy files and do a GEDCOM dump. Only, it turns out, the free computer isn't another Pismo, but a Lombard.

When swapping the hard drives didn't work, I thought, well, maybe I can swap the monitors. Nope. Now I have the Pismo back together, minus it's "head". I think that'll be our new Halloween scary story: The Headless Pismo! I am debating bidding on the head over at ebay.

Since I just dropped *mumble-mumble* dollars on the Interweave Press Hurt Book Sale plus the blocking wires and some more books at KnitPicks during their 40% off books sale....I'd probably better wait.

Still, check out the titles I'm scoring in these two orders:

Not bad, I say! I can't wait 'til they get here! Oh! Plus!!! I just ordered several cones of Peaches n' Creme! ::rubs hands in glee:: Fun!

Oh, hey...look at the time. I've got to get up in an hour. Like I said earlier....I'll sleep after the appointment. Zzzzzzzzzz


I think I'm going to ritually burn a pattern.

Honestly, it's not the pattern's fault, but hey....someone has to pay. I'm working on the Anniversary Mystery Shawl by GoddessKnits, celebrating her store's 3rd year. It's a pi-shawl, with each clue doubling in size. I managed to get the first clue done, was halfway through the second clue and had to set it aside to work on the Spring Mystery Shawl, which was 1.5 clues behind---and I'm really eager to finish that one. I finally got within 4 rows of being caught up on the Spring Mystery and (since the last clue wasn't out yet) set it aside to work on the Anniversary shawl. Here's some pictures during Clue 4, I think:

Clue 1 and Clue 5

Clue 2 and Clue 4

Clue 3

When I picked up the Anniversary shawl last night, the stitch count was wrong. I dropped decrease stitches when frogging a row back several times. I started working on it at row 9 of Clue 2 and ended up back at row 6, then had another problem and frogged again...and again...and finally, took the whole damn thing off my needles and frogged it back to nothing. sigh

Then, today, the last clue for the Spring Mystery Shawl was released...and reading it over, I'm totally lost. Totally. Lost. So, do I work on the border which eludes me or do I cast on for the umpteenth time for the pi-shawl? Maybe a ritual pattern burning would somehow help?

On the fun side of knitting, I spent Friday afternoon, teaching a friend to knit. I learned a couple things myself. First, I am a horrible teacher. I'm a Sinister Knitter, she's a righty. Now I know what it's like for a righty to try to teach a Sinister Knitter!

I also learned that it's a process. There's a couple small things to learn and then (much like math), you build on that. So, a cast-on, the knit stitch and the purl stitch. Once you've got those, you branch out into k2tog, s1k1psso and so forth. We only got as far as the knit stitch. I'm not even sure I showed her a good cast-on. But, I did leave her several of my books which I've learned from, so she can read and learn what I didn't do a good job explaining. Still, she was knitting!

I showed her my mom's favorite dishcloth pattern, so she could work on something that only needed knit stitches. I just had to show her how to do a yarn-over. I was reasonably sure I couldn't work on lace while teaching, so I worked on the beginnings of my own basic dishcloth. I'd forgotten how soothing mindless knitting can be. In the process, I think I simplified the pattern, so there's less "which row am I on?" Instead of increasing at each end every other row, I decided to increase at the far end every row. Now, there's no need to stop and check "which row is this?"

With the reminder of the joy of mindless knitting and me becoming an "Auntie", I think there's going to be a baby blanket in my future!

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