Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fledgling Peacock

Here's the tree at Mind's Eye Yarn -- if you're in the Camberville area (i.e., Cambridge/Somerville), or anywhere that you can get to Porter Square and feel like making hats/mittens/warm things for needy families, feel free to bring them by. Knitting group meets Wednesday 7 - 9 p.m. if you want company.

Bowing to the annual insanity, I've pretty much been avoiding the technology this weekend in favor of working away on the Peacock Shawl. Up to row 107, working away with only bits of working back to fix things every so often.

Things I'm finding out:
1. The metal needles help somewhat. I haven't used metal needles for anything other than sizes below 3 for quite some time. I found the first one I tried (the one with the gray/tan cable) had such a springy cable that I was fighting the spring of the needle more than getting knitting done. Switching to the black cabled nickel plated brass helped. I had mistaken metalness of needle for pointyness of tip, forgetting that a really narrow sharp point is mostly a function of the size of the needle. A size 5 (3.75 mm) is not going to be as pointy as a size 0 (2.00 mm) no matter who the manufacturer is. The slipperyness of the metal has taken some getting used to, but on the whole I think it's an improvement, for this project, over bamboo.

2. Don't ignore the niggle. Knitting along and feeling that something just isn't matching up with the pattern. Go back and debug there, rather than have to rip several rows later. I've lost several hours that could be moving forward, just to having to go back and fix things that a half-hour before I waved off as "that can't be wrong."

3. Use the purl back row to "check sum." If you're supposed to have 12 stitches per multiple, check as you're purling back that there are 12 stitches between one marker and the next. It's easy to miss a yarn over following a decrease if you're focusing that the decreases are in the right shape and....

4. Pay special attention to those shapes on those rows when the markers switch left or right because the market falls in between two stitches to be decreased together. This is where I have done the most ripping back. Realizing it's wrong 4 rows further along is saddening. Trying to drop a group of stitches 4 rows back through lace increases/decreases/motif shifting and pick them up again because you did something other than ssk, k1, k2tog is maddening. See #2, don't ignore the niggle.
Here's the progress so far. Midway through chart 3. The pattern doesn't show very much since it can't stretch out at this point. I guess I'm happy with the amount accomplished, but yet regret the time lost to ripping back.

I'm hoping to be able to make steady progress each night this week. It's hard to remember that you can't tell half way based on total number of rows because each row compounds the total number of stitches. And I'm not doing that math.

Do you know if there are any recommendations for items/sizes/fiber content for the mitten tree?
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