Gift #560: Knitting update

Does anyone know how many cups of hot chocolate you have to drink before building up toxic levels in the bloodstream?  I have a feeling I may be dangerously close.  That’s what these frigid subzero nights will do to you.  Besides drinking hot chocolate, I’ve been knitting like a fiend.  Remember the Peter Pan knit-a-long that I started a bit ago?  I’ve finished clue 1 and am a couple of rows into clue 2.   To put this into perspective, I just received clue 4 today, so I have some work to do!

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I realize that the picture just looks like a mass of knitting – the pattern is hard to see before blocking.  Let me assure you however, that this is actually a complex lace pattern that requires a lot of attention while knitting.  (That means it’s not getting worked on while I watch Sherlock) Although hard to see, a pattern is emerging from the clues – 4 quadrants of knitting radiate from the center, forming intricate diamond-within-diamond shapes.  I’ve deduced from the future clues that after a bit more knitting, two opposite sections will be worked lengthwise to form a rectangular shawl.  The two remaining sides of stitches are put on stitch holders and what will be done with them is still a mystery.

Those of you who look closely will note thin white threads running through the stitches.  That is not part of the pattern.  Those are my lifelines.  It only took a one time of knitting lace without one to comprehend their great value.  If a stitch drops off the needle (common tragedy) the lifeline traps it so that it doesn’t unravel down the length of your project, thereby inducing clinical depression and rage.  Also, if you notice a mistake in your work that is irreparable, having a lifeline allows you to remove the project from the needles, rip out the offending section down to the lifeline, and then all your stitches are secured and you can easily slip them all back on the needles.  Hence, it is appropriately named a lifeline.  I put these in every 5-10 rows.

I’ve also improved my chart reading methods.  Knitted lace is often charted – which means each stitch is marked in a grid with a different symbol.  A legend tells you what each symbol means and you read the rows back and forth.  I’ve done a lot of cross-stitch so reading from a chart comes pretty naturally.  It’s much easier than trying to read written instructions that go on for several lines.  However, the charted rows were starting to get very long and since the pattern is complex it’s easy to get lost within the row or to switch to a different row by mistake.  Cross-stitch comes to the rescue again.  I read my cross-stitch patterns with a magnet board and magnet to keep track of where I am and the same strategy comes in useful for knitting as well.  I move a small magnet across the row as I knit the pattern, thus keeping me on track with where I am in the row.  It also gives me momentum to finish the row instead of getting distracted by something mid pattern and then having to start over again.  (This is a problem when I’ve got pinterest up on my ipad).

So there’s an update with my project and some potentially interesting tips for those of you who enjoy needle-crafts.  I’m hoping to get some power knitting done on the shawl this weekend.  I have 4 projects in the works right now, which is a record for me.  It’s a bit hard to juggle this many, but even as I move from project to project I’m searching patterns, always looking for the next one.  It’s a disease.  I’m thinking about a sweater next….

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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One Response to Gift #560: Knitting update

  1. Great tips! I draw my own cross stitch patterns, but still have trouble sometimes keeping my place. The magnets are a streak of genius! Thank you. WG

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