Friday, May 26, 2006

Another first-shawl knitter...

This is my Icarus, now just starting the third repeat of Chart 1 (those are lifelines marking each repeat). I'm using 100% laceweight "baby fleece" alpaca from Peru, though I bought it (cheap!) in Moscow. It's divinely soft, and I'm so glad to finally have a good pattern to use it on (though to be honest I was first hoping to use an alpaca/silk blend in a darker red, also purchased on the cheap in Moscow, but it turned out I only had 600 meters of that, sob). My #3 circs are Addis, which are too slippery, but I can't justify buying bamboo circs right now, much as I'd love to. I'd give anything, too, for some very small, plain stitch markers with nothing hanging off them. I'm using coil-less mini safety pins now, but they're driving me nuts. I think I'll go to a jewelry-making store to find some tiny metal rings.

Other than the slippery needles and the stitch markers, this pattern seems a breeze so far. It's easy to memorize this first part at least, so it's been requiring much less attention and angst on my part than I expected (and than was demanded by the much smaller but less obvious lace patterns I've attempted so far). So far, knock wood, no mistakes. This is probably because for the first time in my life I'm using lifelines -- Murphy's law. Although actually it turns out I like them -- I like marking my accomplishment every time a finish a repeat, plus I can tell at a glance how many I've done. So far I've worked on the Icarus while watching a movie, and while going through the tedious process of backing up all my data from my laptop, wiping the harddrive, and re-installing everything (a whole day of sitting and waiting while the little blue bar moved from left to right on the screen...perfect knitting opportunity!)

Someone asked about changing from one skein to another: this will be a major problem for me, as my yarn comes only in 100-meter skeins!! I just did the first change, and I did it by spit-felting the two ends together. It seems to work well, and the join doesn't show (though let's see what happens when I hold it up in sunlight tomorrow).

I'm in full agreement with "froggy_dear" about the healing power of alpaca: my semester ended a couple weeks ago, but regularly fondling this yarn has been a major part of my recovery since then! It feels like butter. It's a good thing I'll likely be working on this shawl all summer...I know I'll need the fiber-therapy!


Sarah said...

For stitch markers....if you go to any fabric store, you can find a big package of small, plastic drapery rings for about $1.

They work great, are cheap so you don't feel bad when you lose one and nothing dangling from them.

Love the color.

Sophie_vf said...

I agree with the slippery addis. It's a trade off between the smooth join and the danger of stitches falling off the needles, for sure. Also the blunt tips.

Careful with the rings you buy for stitch markers - I started by using markers I'd made myself from beads and jump rings, then found that the fine yarn kept getting caught in the join of the rings. So try to avoid anything that has something the yarn can get trapped in!

Love the colour of yours!