Monday, June 23, 2008


All the recent knitting and finishing has left me with nothing on the needles except for one lonely purse sock. So yesterday, I did a little stash diving for a new project. And I found this:

This is hard to photograph, but really quite lovely and soft in person. It is alpaca/silk that I spun a few months ago from a commercial roving. The weight is somewhere between fingering and dk (I think), and I thought it would work well for a heavier weight Swallowtail shawl. Now, my only other experience with a lace shawl was the infamous Icarus, and I've been avoiding casting on for another ever since. But it's not exactly sweater weather here (over 100 for the third day in a row), and I figured, there's no deadline for this, it looks very simple, and with heavier yarn, it should go really fast, right?

And it would be going fast, if I didn't have to tink back half of every other row. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I keep ending up with the wrong number of stitches at the end of the row. See how the needles are in the middle of a row? Yeah, well, that's because that's how I left it last night, after tinking back that half row six times! Each time, I checked the previous row against the chart, and each time, it was perfect. Each time, I carefully followed the chart for this row, and each time I ended up with the wrong number of stitches at the end. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. The real kicker is, this is the fourth repeat of this chart, and every other repeat has worked out. So there's nothing wrong with the pattern. This is purely a matter of operator error. I'm hoping that it will magically work out this morning, with no children or guests around to interrupt my counting.

I'm also not entirely sure about this yarn/needle choice. Being handspun--my handspun--it's not terribly even. I'm a little worried that it is too rustic for a lace pattern. And I'm not sure I picked the right size needles. The fabric looks a little open to me. I don't know if this is good or bad. It may be okay, since the yarn is heavier, and knitting it tighter might make for a stiff shawl. I would probably rip and reknit on a smaller size, just to see, but this yarn is a little fuzzy and doesn't rip well at all. (Think mohair.) I don't have any extra, so I'm pretty much committed.

But one little shawl isn't much in the way of knitting. I think I need another project. I'm not that interested in socks, and I don't want to start another shawl, but I need something that won't be uncomfortable to knit during this heat wave. Nothing in my Ravelry queue is exciting me at the moment. Any suggestions?


5elementknitr said...

How about squares for a blanket?

I decided a year ago to make blankets for the boys. 12 squares each. 2 squares will be their initials. The other 10 will be pattern stitches taken from the perpetual Stitch-a-day Calendar - I will pick dates relevent to our family (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and use those for the blanket.

I've finished half a square. I plan to have these blankets finished for the time when they go off to college (the boys are 7 and 5 now). At this rate, I may be late!

Kim said...

I have heard that there are 2 charts for Swallowtail (one from the original issue of IK and one from somewhere else) and one of them sucks. Sounds like you have the sucky one. It might help to check Ravelry and see what kind of skuttlebutt you can find out. I watched someone in my SnB rip back and start again over and over. All because of a crap chart. Good luck!

sophanne said...

I say try the February Lady Sweater.

Marina said...

Oh, I'm just about to start the Swallowtail shawl myself. I chose Indigo Moon 100% silk lace weight in a lavender colourway - say it with me..oooOOOoooh. I just chose some beads to place in it, too.

Please let us know how you're doing and if there is another chart I should look up. The one I found is a PDF from Evelyn Clark's website.

ktb38 said...

What about knitting a cute purse for summer?

Patty said...

Yep, I was thinking purse or other fun accessory too. Whatever you choose, I can't wait to see it, you super knitter you!

PS I am inspired by how much you enjoy your children. Not that all parents don't enjoy theirs but you really seem to enjoy doing things with them and seeing them as people, not just as work. Sorry, I don't think I'm able to get what I'm trying to say out very well - I'm not very coherent at this hour. Stay tuned for many 'how do I keep this age occupied?' queries in the future!

Romi said...

Ooh! Pretty yarn. :)