Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A New Year and KAL

It use to be that the new year would bring out the resolutions in me. This year, the new year has brought out the new Knit Alongs (KAL). But before I get into all that, let me show that I am making good progress on the past knit along I joined, the Mystery shawl 2. In a previous post I had the first two clue done. Those were quick and easy. Clue three was very difficult. It was the first time I have ever yelled at my hubby to turn off the TV so I could concentrate, and he was two rooms away at the time! Oh I struggled with that clue three. It involved lace knitting stitches on both right and wrong side, so a row of charting was followed for every row. No relief of a full wrong side of purling in that clue. I feared what clue four would bring. Fortunately it turned out easier. It still had lace knit stitches on both sides, but it had a big repeat of 22 stitches. That repeat went across the row many times, and led to easier knitting as I gradually worked into a rhythm. Clue four was increasing on alternate rows, so it was slow going, but I finally finished right before Thanksgiving. Clue five, which was the last clue, was a very wide edging. It has ten rows to each repeat, incorporating five live stitches during the repeat. Since I have 309 stitches to incorporate, it is taking me all of the holiday season to just barely get to the mid point. I love knitting on this project though, so it is not tedious. I can do two or three repeats in my short periods of knitting time, and see gradual progress. The yarn is wonderful to handle, making the knitting even more pleasurable. It is one of those projects that I will be both glad and sad when finished.

Here is a picture of the scrunched up shawl, showing a part of the patterning on the main body, and the wide edging.

It will need blocked of course, but I have the feeling that even blocked it is going to be smaller than I would like for me to wear. I used a smaller sized needle than the designer called for, her larger needle would have given me a more open lace, and larger shawl. I will make this pattern again though (in spite of clue three!) and do exactly that, use a size 6 or 7 needle instead of the 4 I am using now.

But I will not be done with this before I start two more KAL. I am hopelessly hooked on them. When the first KAL hit the blogs several years ago, I was not interested at all. I did not want to knit what everyone else was knitting. Then I saw a lace shawl being knit by Anita in my knit group, and found out it was a pattern being given in small sections week by week. The knitter would not know what the finished shawl looked like until all clues were knitted. Well, I love a good mystery, and here was a great twist indeed. I found the yahoogroup as the first shawl was being completed and waited for the second to begin. Not only was it great fun to knit, it was an intricate design that taught me a lot (beside swear words). For all of my knitting experience, I have rarely knitted from a chart. I have done lots of lace with small repeats, even designing my own scarves etc from pattern books. Nor have I actually knitted a lace shawl. I found that I am in love with the look of a lacy shawl, and have been now aware of the patterns in new magazines, Elann, etc. I am anxiously awaiting Feb and the start of Mystery shawl 3.

There turned out to be some very interested and sometimes heated discussion on the shawl group when the designer asked if people would be willing to pay a small amount to do #3. (She was suggesting $3.00 I think) Most people said yes immediately, but there were those with some valid points that felt there should not be a charge. For one thing, almost every clue in the first two, had had a corrected clue posted. Now the corrections were caught almost immediately, because with so many people knitting the clue as soon as it was posted (I swear some people must knit at the speed of light) the problem was spotted right away. And the second point the objectors were making was that we were all working as test knitters for the designer, and that should not require us to pay for the right to do that. I found the sum suggested to be very reasonable for the pattern, but felt swayed by the logic that if I am going to pay for it, I want it as complete and error free as possible.

As it turns out, the designer has decided to charge the $3. to join the yahoogroup and received the pattern for mystery shawl 3. I will pay it because I have seen the quality of her previous designs, and because I know I am getting an original and unyet published design. For anyone that might be interested the information to pay and join, or buy the patterns from the first two mystery shawls can be found on the website www.bopeepswoolshop.com

There is much to be said though for knitting at the same time as everyone. That’s the other reason I am now so interested in two more KALs. I am currently swatching for what is called the FLAK knit along. This stands for Follow the Leader Aran Knitting and Janet Szabo (who did one of these aran knit alongs several years ago) is doing a top down, saddle shoulder aran knit along on her website. www.bigskyknitting.com/flak/knitalong.html The yahoo group connected with it (search for FLAK) has some very knowledgeable knitters on it, and I am finding I really enjoy reading it. It's a chatty group though, my email from yahoo groups has tripled this month. So be warned! The sweater I do for this will be for my husband. The yarn is a 50/50 wool/acrylic that I have had in the stash forever with the intention of doing him an aran sweater, so this fit the bill. I have the first two swatches done and washed and measured, and will be starting on the saddles today.

And finally, though not a structured knit along, I am keeping tabs on and will be making the sweater from the Japanese book. If you have read any knitting blogs lately you may have seen some to do about this book, all in Japanese with wonderful classic knitting patterns. I was ignoring the hubbub (picture me covering my ears singing la la la) until I saw the book in person at a knit group. Then I had to get it. After all it had an amazing lace shawl in it! It takes forever to get, it really is coming from overseas, but only cost $23 and they pay the shipping. The book can be purchased from yesasia.com. Or go to http://www.crossedintranslation.com/ This is the open blog for anyone that will be knitting the sweater from the book. There are links to websites to buy the book there. Again it is an aran sweater, and I have no idea right now what yarn I will be using, my true hope would be to spin a cormo roving I have for enough yarn to do it. Meanwhile, I will be playing with the swatches, cables and paying attention to what others learn as they work though this pattern. Everything has to be from the chart and schematics, there is no English in the book. Why do I even bother? Shrug, because in it’s own way, it is a mystery pattern.