Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Boring Progress

Well, it's not really boring to do, only boring to read and write about. I don't even have any photos of the in-progress stuff to share.

I had promised photos of the Azalea doily-ghan. I lied. It was too barf-tastic in the thrift-store yarn. I quit in horror. Maybe it's time to give up and donate the yarn to some other thrift store. However, that's a rather cruel thing to do to the next unsuspecting purchaser. I'll toss it back into the depths of the closet, where it can help insulate the house this winter.

After abandoning the Azalea doily-ghan, I idly grabbed some perle cotton weaving thread and re-started the pattern as an actual doily. My poor Frosted Ferns KAL doily sits neglected.

The Azalea doily is coming along quite well. The cotton is too soft for my tastes, but works well in this particular pattern. The color is somewhere between champagne and a light pumpkin tone. It's pleasing enough.

The pattern is interesting. There's very little actual lacework in it, if you define lacework as fabric with yarnovers. A few yarnovers do occur on every 10th round or so. Most of the doily is solid stockinette with a few increases and decreases. It's a very easy pattern to remember and follow.

The pattern's movement is created by the lines of decreases that separate one leaf/petal from its neighbor. The new petals grow by doing a (k,p,k) into the center stitch of the petal. This does create a somewhat open texture in the middle of the petal, and it also causes the stitches of the petal to bias in a pleasing manner. The neighboring motif is a petal, created in the previous set of rounds, that is shrinking by means of decreases at the edges. The motifs swirl and flow, creating harmonious patterns as the light interacts with the stitches.

As usual with a Kinzel pattern, there are zillions of stitches per round, and it's rather tedious to knit in spots. I use the general rule that a doily needs to have approximately 4 stitches per round. So, by round 36, I should have 144 or so stitches. This pattern has about twice that number of stitches at that point. It works anyway, for various reasons I won't go into right now, but it makes the rounds slow-going.

I expect that when I block the doily, it will be a lot bigger than one might expect. All those stitches take up a certain amount of space. If you squish them horizontally, you will end up squeezing them vertically. I am using a fairly loose tension, to help the stitch distortion occur while still getting the pattern to lie flat.

The Azalea pattern still seems to meet a lot of my criteria for a decent afghan pattern. If I were to try it as an afghan, I'd do it as a square, with only 4 pattern repeats per round. It could be an interesting open-square shawl if worked flat. The pattern motif runs from corner to corner. It would be very easy to adapt it to flat knitting by adding a narrow border.

I do like the way that the doily grows by iterating the same pattern motif, adding more of the motifs as the item grows. Kinzel has a lot of patterns that do this, especially her square patterns. It's also a common concept for a lot of modern shawl patterns.

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The Frosted Ferns doily is at a point where new motifs are starting. I need to pay attention for the next few rounds. For some reason, I'm having a tough time with it. It doesn't help that my cat likes to sit on my lap and "help". He butts his head onto my hand. Several stitches fly off the needle and promptly run as many rounds down as they can. Since I'm at this point of new motifs, it can be very hard to figure out how to repair the dropped stitches. The first time, I simply started over. Now, I've done enough rounds that I'd prefer not to have to do that. It takes me a while to do the repairs, and then I'm frustrated and not in the mood to knit on it any more. Send it to its room (actually a small pencil box that serves as my Emergency Doily Knitting Kit) -- it's grounded for poor behavior!

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My lacy cables shawl is roughly 2/3 to 3/4 done unless I decide to make it longer. It's looking like Gayle Roehm's estimate of 750-ish yards of yarn is about right. I might use as much as 800 yards or as little as 700. I'll have a few hundred yards of yarn left. I suppose it will join my stash of small batches, and I'll wonder what to do with it every time I see it. I do have a few ideas, though, starting with doing another few repeats of the shawl stitch pattern.

I do wonder what the heck I'm going to do with the shawl. It's a fairly formal-looking pattern. I don't really live a lifestyle that requires formal-looking stoles. Also, the yarn I'm using is not formal-looking. It's variegated, and it's in shades of brown and gray. I do like the way it looks. So, what does one do with a long and lacy rectangular item like this? I guess I'll find out. It will no doubt join the rest of the shawls in the pile, brought out to wear around the house for the pleasure of wearing it, but rarely getting any public exposure.

It is fun to knit. That is the real reason I'm doing it. Some items I make are practical. A lot are done for the sheer pleasure of the doing.

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Speaking of practical, I am procrastinating on my sweater. I need to make sure the two sleeves are the same length, and that the sleeves and body are the approximate correct dimensions for me. Then I'll unite them and knit the yoke. I suspect that the sweater will go a lot faster when that occurs.

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Let's see; what else can I bore everyone with?

The scarf is doing well. I like the wider version. I'm about at the halfway point. The mindless style of increasing and decreasing is working well for me. (Mindless style: either increase or decrease one stitch near the beginning of the row, and then knit to the end.)

Spinning continues in fits and starts, depending on my mood. It's mostly boring-looking yarn, so I won't bother to take photos. The cats like to "help" with the spinning. One will wake up from a nap elsewhere in the house to come and sit on my lap while I'm on the wheel. He occasionally has to take a swipe at the roving or the drafting yarn. I have to stay alert to make sure that the yarn stays unchewed and that no cats get hurt by the wheel.

They are fascinated by my spindles, too.

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I am dreaming of new projects. There are yarn blobs I want to spin, shawls and other items I want to knit.

The shawl is the current project likely to finish first. That means I'll allow myself to start another large shapeless shawl-like item. There are two doily-shawl conversion projects I have yarn for, another one I need to order yarn for, plus this doily-ghan concept rattling around in my brain, plus a couple of other shawl ideas. I will share the photos of the shawl candidates when they are closer to getting cast on.

Oddly, I don't really have a must-knit doily candidate. The ones I want to knit are big enough that I'd rather do them as shawls or afghans. That could change at any time, of course. I'm easily seduced. Witness the Azalea doily.

Sweaters -- I want to finish this sweater so that I can wear it this winter. I also have my eye on the leftover yarn I'll undoubtedly have. That nice neutral gray will be useful. It would be nice to add another few sweaters to my winter wardrobe. I even have some yarn in sufficient quantities that would work. The next one will be top-down. Should I do cables? Stranded color-work? Another plain sweater?

There are several small items I want to play around with. They might get started sooner, or they might wait until my scarf is done. Wristers, mittens, socks, scarves, hats, bags... We had our first snow this weekend. Those warm knitted items are starting to be used. We can always use more.

I need to set up the marudai or a braiding disk and make a few braids, possibly for knotting purposes. I've been reading a couple of weaving blogs, and am feeling vaguely inspired to drag out the inkle loom or set up a card-weaving project. I haven't dyed anything in a while, and would love to get out the colors to play with. Looking at previously dyed roving and yarn always makes me want to do more.

And so on. I won't bore everyone further by listing all the ideas and plans I have.

1 comment:

Jeffer Shen said...
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