Knitting the Light Fantastic

Knitting, spinning, dyeing and other crafty goodness

The Elephant and the Whale

Posted by notthatkat on May 11, 2007

When it comes to big project knitting, I have two doozies that I must finish before I start anything else, let I cast them aside and never return to them.

The Elephant in the Room

Curtains for my sister

Bubbly Curtains

When my sister and her family moved into their new house, oh, about 9 months ago I handed her my copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and offered to make her choice of item or items as a housewarming. She selected the Bubbly Curtain for her kitchen windows. Since the area was rather large, we decided a set of two curtains would work best. Again because of the size, and as much as I love my sister, the Euroflax Linen called for in the pattern was prohibitively expensive. (I love ya, sis, but I gotta eat.)

I found a honkin’ huge ™ ball of #10 crochet cotton, and decided that it would make an acceptable substitute. Measurements were taken, a swatch was made, mathematics got involved. I cast on, started knitting, and discovered that… I don’t enjoy knitting this pattern. While normally I am a sucker for most any lace pattern that bats it’s fancy eyelashes at me, this one has no logic, no rhythm, no flow. I don’t hate it, but I’m not feeling the love either.

Closeup of Bubbly Curtain

I was maybe a third of the way done the first one when I needed a break, and put it aside to do Christmas and other gift knitting last fall. I picked it up again in January and diligently finished the first one. The second one is about half done, and I am trying to do at least a few rows every night. I’ll get there eventually, right? My sister is being very patient.

Once that is done, I will return to what might possibly be

My White Whale

Christening Blanket

You can’t really tell from that picture, but this is a very large, Shetland style lace shawl/christening blanket. I started it long about, maybe last June. It started with the lace pattern for the center panel:

Close-up of Center Panel

I was flipping through Barbara Walker’s Third Treasury when this one caught my eye. I decided that I must incorporate it into something. Just a vague notion that I liked the lace, filed away for later. Then I decided to embark on a Shetland style shawl of my own design a couple months later. I immediately thought of this pattern, and decided to use it for my center panel and build the rest of the pattens off of that. Books were consulted, again, that pesky math got involved, and I cast on. And knit. And knit. And knit. I found myself mired in the infamous knitting black hole. This lace pattern is complex and not easily memorized, but I think I could do it in my sleep now. It took me about two months of fairly monogamous knitting until my panel was square. Then the real fun began.

I picked up stitches down one side, from the provisional cast-on, then up the other side. When I was done, I had 900 stitches on the needle. I designed the border to mirror the geometry of the center panel, but on a larger scale. I wanted an area the eyes could rest between the very complex lace of the center and the almost certainly complex edging. Here’s what I came up with:

Close-up of Border

Again, the scale and the fact that the stitches are all scrunched up on the needles doesn’t allow me to lay it out nice and neat, but you can see that I came up with a much simpler diamond motif . Some of the dimonds are solid, some are nested. There is an arrangement to them that should be much clearer when off the needles and laid out nice and neat.

While I was working on this section, I also perused various sources for possible edging patterns. I couldn’t find anything quite right for what I had in mind, so I got out graph paper and pencil and sketched. And swatched. And modified. And swatched again. Rinse and Repeat until I was happy with the lace by itself, and that it would work with the rest of the project. It also has a diamond motif. It should be fabulous. Or at least prove that I can take a concept and drive it into the ground like nobody’s business.

It got put away for a few reasons:

1. I was nearing the end of my current ball, and needed to find the remaining balls I knew was floating around somewhere in the stash, but I just couldn’t locate at the time. More importantly…

2. I needed to figure out the corners. I will probably do a miter of my current pattern, but I’d like to know what I’m going to do when I get there. Also, I have too few stitches at each corner for a full repeat of my edging pattern, which leads me to…

3. I think I need to do something to transition from the border to the edging lace. I’m not sure if this something should be a couple rounds of stockinette, with only the corner increases, or if I should do a row (or more) of eyelets, or some other lace/pattern/trick I haven’t considered yet. Doing even a couple more increase rounds would help problem number 2 as well. Even though I’m already over 1300 stitches on the needle. Yes, that’s right – thirteen hundred and eight, by my count. I’m open to any suggestions anyone might want to offer.

Once the curtains are done, this is next on deck. I am not starting any big projects until these monsters are finished. Unless I get called up to test knit. Then all bets are off.

Tuxedo Kitten

I may look all cute and cuddly…

teeth!

… but watch out, I’ve got teeth!

I’m off this weekend to Atlanta for a Dragon*Con staff meeting. I plan to stop by Knitch while I am there. They are holding blocking wires for me, and I’m sure I’ll find something else I can’t live without once I get there. <eg>

ETA:  Sorry for anyone for whom this post shows up a couple (dozen) extra times.  I discovered a link that didn’t want to work, and I’ve had a devil of a time fixing it.

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