This has been a good week for knitting. I am excited about my Soumak Scarf Wrap, and that excitement translates into time actually spent knitting (rather than my other spare time pursuits of either reading or, my favorite, thinking about how I should be doing housework while actually not doing housework). In addition, I am determined to power through with my Viajante poncho/shawl, so I have been putting hours into that as well.
This morning, I finally decided to start the lace section of Viajante. Here it is, dear readers, the first hint of lace:
For those of you who are noticing my newly short hair instead of the lace (I got a good 5 inches chopped off yesterday), I give you a close-up. One row of lace:
These photos really show the sheer quality of this fabric. Knitting with the lace weight yarn (Wollmeise Lace-Garn) on a larger size needle (this is knit with a US4, while laceweight would normally be knit with a US1 or 2) produces this very light, sheer, translucent, delicate fabric. It’s one of the things that really attracted me to Viajante when Martina Behm first published the pattern.
I have found, however, that knitting with a very fine yarn on a larger needle seems to affect the quality of my stitches. I am normally a very tight, even knitter. Here is a close-up (thus slightly out of focus) of a section of my Libby pullover, knit with worsted weight wool:
You can see that, with slight variations here and there, the stitches are very even. Here is a comparable shot of the Viajante:
You can see that certain stitches appear to be crossed, as if the stitches were twisted on the needle, or knit through the back loop. (Doug says that I need to circle some of the twisted stitches so that you can see them; I claim that anyone who has bothered to read this far through the post can probably figure out what I am talking about.) I don’t know why the fabric looks like this. At first, I kept thinking that I was dropping stitches, but finally decided that this is somehow due to the fact that I am knitting at a larger gauge than would normally be appropriate for this yarn. Still I have no idea why these stitches are not neat and even. As far as I can tell, my knitting style is exactly the same on this project as on any other. Has anyone else encountered a similar problem? I am not fretting about this however, for the following reason: I am fairly sure that this will all even out with a good blocking.
A fair amount of agonizing has gone into deciding where to start the lace. The pattern says to knit until you have about 60g left (of a 300g skein), and then to begin the lace. As my skein was overweight, about 340g, I was unsure where to start. This was exacerbated by the fact that I used a different decrease rate than the pattern calls for, decreasing every third row instead of every second. This will effect how much of the material will be bunched around the neck like a cowl, before draping over the shoulders like a poncho. The narrower the funnel, the more bunching and thus the less length; contrastly, the wider the funnel, the less bunching, so that you will get more of a poncho effect than an elongated cowl, and the longer the long edge will be. Here is a photo of the pattern so you can see what I mean:
Many of the projects on Ravelry (and there are well over a thousand) have the long edge actually brushing the floor. I don’t want it that long. So, there is quite a bit of guesswork involved here, especially since I know it will block out quite a bit. In the end, I decided I was tired of knitting stockinette, and this morning I knit the fist row of lace. For those of you knitting this and looking for details, I had 82 grams of yarn left and 459 stitches on the needles at the start of the lace section.
While pushing ahead on the Viajante, I have also been indulging myself a bit by working on the Soumak Scarf Wrap. Here is a progress photo from this morning:
I am really loving everything about this shawl, designed by Lisa Richardson and published in Rowan 54. It’s interesting, too, because I would never have picked these colours, or even put them together in this order. I debated substituting a different colour selection (Thank you, Ann, for discouraging me!). I am so pleased that I stuck with Lisa’s design; the colours hang together and look beautiful and striking in all different lights.
And now to change the topic completely, about an hour ago I received my 100th follower on this blog. This is a pretty exciting milestone for me! Especially since I only know 6 of my followers personally (hi Romi, Sandra, Mom, Jossie, Joanna, and Teresa!) and very briefly met one other at a knitting workshop (hi Jen!); this means that 93 virtual strangers come back here and read again. (The internet – it’s such a strange beast.) To each of you, I’m glad that you stop by and I love receiving comments. Since I’m on the topic of milestones, I also recently got my 40,000th hit. I think this is pretty cool. In fact, I think this is pretty cool even given that I was speaking to someone yesterday who gets 40,000 hits a day on his blog. Speaking of 40,000 – I bet that there are 40,000 stitches on my Viajante shawl; and now, dear readers, I’m off to knit a few thousand more.