Friday, February 13, 2009

Overdue Report on Waves of Grain

In early December I gifted beloved H her birthday Waves of Grain. It's knitted in Shepherd's Sock Tahoe, a fingering weight sock yarn with beautiful colour shifts through blues, greens and heathery* purples - which in my view is completely wasted on socks. Not only are the colours divine, but after 3 months of wear it hasn't pilled or fuzzed in the slightest. I guess a sock yarn has to be tougher than other yarns.

This was my 1st beaded lace project and I really really enjoyed making it. Plus, I think she really really likes it, so that makes for a really really great project. It wasn't without it's traumas however, so today I have come to share...

The pattern is constructed from a beaded lace pattern at each end, so that you knit each end towards the middle, whence you graft the ends together with Kitchener Stitch.

So far, so fine. I wasn't a bit worried about the Kitchener Stitch. For one thing I was far too busy sowing the grain in straight lines to worry about something that surely I could manage when I got there.

This was the first of a series of assumptions which turned out to be just plain WRONG.

The second assumption was just plain stoopid. Instead of either...

a) knitting both lace ends at the same time, or

b) knitting 1 lace end and finishing up that skein for half the scarf (I had only 2 skeins), and repeating for the 2nd half

...I merrily knit away at one end, joined the 2nd skein and kept right on going. It was partly because I was really enjoying the plain lace part of the scarf and I couldn't stop knitting it, partly because I needed a very portable project and the beaded lace part needed more concentration than I could give it at that time and partly because I was foolishly confident that I could get a 3rd skein at the drop of a make them the same length.

(Note to self: not the first time I've made THAT mistake. Sigh.)

Eventually I put the brakes on and knit the other lace end of the scarf and started to work my way up from that end. UN-fortunately, (and you may have seen this coming), I ran out of yarn only about 12 inches away from that end. Which means people, that the Kitchener Stitch graft does not occur halfway along the scarf, i.e. to be worn at the back of your neck, but instead it lies somewhere around the collarbone. In full view.

So, I'd better make the Kitchener Stitch perfect and super smooth, right? Not so. I tried it several times but found it very difficult to get the hang of. The pattern does have detailed instructions for one method, but you kinda have to know what you're doing in the first place to get it right. Me, not so much.

It didn't help of course that this was happening well after midnight on the day before the birthday party. Pressure and fiddly needlework - not a good combination. Still, when I finished I thought it looked reasonably OK, and headed off to bed. Must have been drunk.

In the cold light of day, it was clearly not 'reasonably ok', it wasn't ok at all. Lumpy, bumpy and worst of all, the beautiful lace ladders were out of step.

See it in this pic?

How about now?


OK, so I've approximately 2 hours to fix it. What to do? I tried unpicking the grafting. No joy. It was waaayyy too fiddly and would take hours to unpick. So, desperate times and desperate measures and all that.

Don't be shocked. I took a pair of scissors and cut straight across. It turned out to be a really quick way of getting live stitches on both ends once more. This time I was really careful with the Kitchener Stitch and made sure not to pull them tight. More than half the problem in the pics above is caused by creating a sewn seam at the join instead of creating new and invisible stitches at the right tension.

The 2nd attempt wasn't perfect by any means, but it was much better. No pics unfortunately, but I'll get some another time. The Birthday Girl said she won't let me anywhere near it with a scissors, so it will just have to stand as is.

Next time I'll practice the Kitchener stitch a bit before diving in.

* and that's more appropriate than you know! Hee Hee. Sorry. It's private.

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