Friday, 31 December 2010

december reading

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris - sex, vampires, sex with vampires. Sadly, this is the most recently published 'Sookie bookie' so I'm joining the legions waiting for the next installment.

Sweater Quest: my year of knitting dangerously by Adrienne Martini - I picked this up on impulse from the library's 'just passing through' shelf (books borrowed from other branches and returned to my library). Well, how could I not pick up a book about knitting, and knitting dangerously at that. This was a great book, I loved it. I really related to the author who records her year-long quest to knit a very complicated Alice Starmore design called Mary Tudor, an absolute feat of stranded colourwork. And why does she do this? Just to test and prove that she can - the ultimate in process knitting

Speaking of process knits, here is the latest incarnation of my In the Pink:

I've doubled my progress, just in the reverse direction. My dissatisfaction with this shawl, which had been slowly growing, took over when I completed two of the 105 edging repeats and realised, 'no, this is not going to happen'. The dissatisfaction was really discomfort with my uncertainty about the stitch counts.

To digress a moment - this is a fabulous design. It's gorgeous, the construction is fascinating and the pattern is generously made freely available by the designer. I think that if made precisely as written, it would be very satisfying.

Still digressing: the issue I sometimes find with independently published patterns is that there is not necessarily any standardisation of the instructions or terminology or explanations. I think that this written pattern (there are no charts) is very much an expression of the designer's thought patterns and as such is somewhat idiosyncratic.

So back to my discomfort - the problem was that in the instructions for the centre swirl there are directions for doing a larger size by adding eight more rounds of knitting. I am tall and broad shouldered and took this option. There are, however, no further instructions in the pattern for the larger size; the knitter is required to figure out the numbers for the side wings and border and edging. Ok, that's not such a big deal except that this requirement is not made explicit at any point in the pattern and I wouldn't have realised that I needed to do various extra rows had I not read a knitalong forum on Ravelry. It's possible that had I thought about it enough (and when you understand the construction it does become clear) or sketched it out that I would have realised but by the time I was deep into it, i didn't really care to.

Anyway, the absence of any stitch counts for the larger variation left me a bit in the dark and uncertain that I was getting it right. And getting it right is important to me. Yes, I could have fudged it but that is not how I knit and once that uncertainty had crept into this project, it was, alas, doomed. And after I had figured out the construction by doing, I decided that I didn't want a frilly pink shawl anyway.

In the Pink by IzzyKnits
Size: I tried for the larger size.
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in colourway 'Manzanita'.
Stash/recycle content:
I had two skeins of this in the cupboard. I then had to buy two more skeins in order to have enough yarn for the edging. Unfortunately, the two extra skeins were a different dyelot and really didn't match - also part of my decision to frog this project.
Start to finish:
1 March to 21 December 2010 in fits and starts: centre swirl, 1 March to 11 March; left side, 17 to 18 July with extra rows 5 to 6 December; right side, 3 to 5 December.

Verdict: This is a fabulous design and a pattern for experienced knitters who can independently figure out any variations.

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