Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Things That Are Out To Get Me

1. Squirrels

Walking home on Monday, a squirrel FELL OUT OF A TREE right as Kevin and I passed beneath it. He landed with a squishy kind of thud (it sounded like a furry tummy hitting asphalt abruptly) at our feet, looked perplexed for a minute, and scampered off. We were amused, and just imagine how embarrassing that trip to the health center would have been: Oh yes, these scratches on my face? That's where the squirrel that landed on my head tried to stop himself as he fell to the ground. They might need to be disinfected.

2. The shawl I started over the weekend:

It's the triangular shawl with clover pattern, or something like that, from Victorian Lace Today, and I'm knitting it with some lovely Trenna from Schaefer Yarns (the yarn is not involved in the plot, so far as I can tell).

All my troubles stem from the fact that the shawl is worked from the lower edge up... so you start by casting on 624 stitches. That part went fine: I refuse to use stitch markers to help count cast on stitches (on the grounds that you won't be THAT far off, and can fudge it in the first row), but I paid attention as I worked and was pretty sure I'd gotten that part right. Then things went downhill.

The directions tell you to start the pattern (involving knitting 3 stitches together with laceweight yarn) immediately, but I decided to purl one row, then start the pattern because the cast on stitches were hard to work. There was a stitch marker in the middle of the cast on stitches (to mark the point of the shawl), but as much as I worked, the marker NEVER got closer.

I'd started out sitting on the couch but as I worked and worked without making any visible progress, I started to worry that Kevin would do something (breathe, maybe) to make me loose a stitch, so I moved into the bedroom. Years passed, and the stitch marker was still just as far away... but oddly, the end of the row seemed closer.

Sure I'd cast on wrong after all, I looked more closely. Nope--I'd somehow put the marker on the needle outside the stitches (instead of between them, which would have held it in place), and it was scooting away from me as I worked towards it.

Relieved, I finished the first row, counted to the center, marked it with a safety pin, then started the pattern. Which I managed to mess up in such a way that the stitch counts came out even at the end, so I didn't realize it till I'd purled back and started the second pattern row. When that wouldn't line up, I looked back at the first row, found my mistakes, and fixed them--which created extra slack in some of the stitches (my creative interpretation of the pattern had involved a lot of yarn overs). I told myself it would block out, and kept going.

A couple of rows later, I decided it wouldn't, and became paranoid about running out of yarn. There was some grounds for this worry (although the 5th row was a little early to start thinking about it), because other people have reported that the yarn requirements from Victorian Lace Today are low. And my pattern called for 1300 yards and I only had 1250. And I'd worked an extra row before I even started the pattern. And if I ran out, it would be at the top of the back, and would leave me with a small triangular hole to fill in the center of the long edge of my triangular shawl. Not so good.

So I ripped it out, thought about rewriting the directions so I could work top-down (and just stop when I ran out of yarn), and decided instead to omit the first 4 rows of the pattern, and start with a few fewer stitches.

That's going fine, but slowly. The dark ruffle in the picture above is 10 or 12 rows' worth, and I'm down to 570 something stitches. Practically nothing! The rows just zip along! But I'm into the pattern now, and am starting to be able to read what I've knit so far.


jennsquared said...

That squirral would have given you an interesting story to tell!!!

Trenna isn't on the Schaefer website!!! You'll have to bring it so I can pet it tonight!!!

Sunflowerfairy said...

What's the colorway too? It's pretty.

I don't trust animals in trees. Birds, squirrels...anything.

It would have made for a funny story though.

(I don't think I'd ever be able to walk down the street with you and not constantly be worried about what was above us. Sorry.)

Annie said...

I would keep a very close eye on that yarn. Trenna might be the ringleader here.

Cindy G said...

Talk about attention grabbing opening lines *G*

That color is just beautiful. What's the fiber content?