Where have I been? In Pune, but now home in the US for a brief visit. What have I been doing? Mostly wallowing in ennui. For whatever reason, I have not been motivated to do much, not working on projects, researching, or writing here.
I can report that aside from the transoceanic trip, we did do one major thing. We hosted a “happy hour” party for 25 of The Resident Male’s coworkers, holding it at the apartment. I did all of the prep and cooking. I made samosas, falafel, hummus, guacamole, and Chinese scallion pancakes (adding some minced hot peppers to the scallions). I also improvised a mixed olive salad, and paneer with a Thai-style peanut sauce. Everyone had a good time, and using consumption as a barometer – the snacks were well received. The scallion pancakes in particular were prime, and a do-again, for sure!
There is some minimal progress on my latest shawl. I test-knit a new MMarioKnits product, but others were far speedier than me. Most of the corrections I found were posted by others, and my finished project was not completed in time for photography for the cover of the pattern. The main reason for this was a major lace disaster. While photographing the piece, I managed to drop upwards of 90 stitches, and needed to ravel back to a solid point and re-knit. After coming in so slowly for completion, I decided to punt the official as-written, minimal bind-off treatment, and add a knit-on lace edging. I selected a simple one from Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting, picked both for complimenting the lines of the shawl’s main motifs, and for being a multiple of 12 rows, and began. I’m about two-thirds of the way around my circumference, and hope to be done soon.
However, just because I’ve been a slouching, IPad/browser game playing slacker, doesn’t mean the rest of the world stands still.
I’ve said before that I get an enormous kick out of seeing what people do with the patterns and designs I post. Occasionally, folk write to me to ask questions, or send me photos. Other times, I track links to my pages back to the point of origin. If I stumble across something I ask the owner if I can repost their work here, with links or attributions as they desire. Here are the products of two people who sent me pix of their stitching this month.
Elaine from Australia delighted me with these two projects that include filling motifs from Ensamplario Atlantio:
Both were presents for friends. I’m not sure which one I like more – the piece for the Kiwi audiophile, or the one for the Lovecraft aficionado.
Meanwhile, Jordana in New York used two of the Ensamplario designs for the cover of a charming two-sided needle case. Here are her photos of the work in progress, and the finished item:
Well done to Elaine and Jordana! Special thanks to both of them for making my day!
Well, here I am on row 157 of Dozen, with about another 20 or so to go.
It’s a wild zaggedy thing, for sure. I also have to say that this is the last picture I’ll be posting of the thing spread out until I’m all finished and bound off. I lost 30 or so stitches in pinning this, and am not relishing going back the five or six rounds I need to now, in order to rescue them.
The directions end with a plain bind-off. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m planning on knitting an edging onto the live stitches. Which one, I’m not sure yet. It needs a very solid element in order to frame all this wild zappage, along with some sort of coordinating triangle or dag to carry the theme forward. I may end up having to cobble something together, or design my own to work with the last row’s stitch count.
Am I pleased with the result so far? Yes and no. I’m having fun knitting this, but I have to say that I now that I see it all expanded, I think that the outermost 20 or so rounds shown above are too textured, and detract from the star-like center.
Off to perform CPR on those 30 stitches…
First, for Davey – the wildly loud sofa pillow covers to coordinate with the wildly loud rug:
I picked the blue, red/orange stripe, and turquoise/gold from memory, and they work, even in spite of my equivocal photographic skills, and the flash-wash that makes the red pillow look paler than in real life. There are six pillows in total, two of each fabric.
Moving on, here’s progress through Row 103 of the Dozen shawl that I’m test-knitting:
It’s growing into a feral, interlaced dahlia of a design, which you can begin to see in this rough pin-out. Additional width will be more of the same.
And then there’s the Sarah Collins sampler kit, upon which I’ve started but have made no real progress:
Maybe I’ve ridden at liberty for too long, working at whim instead of direction. Maybe I’m too much of a tinkerer to do a stitched design laid out by someone else, or I have a touch of compulsive perfectionist in my soul – but for whatever reason, this kit is already driving me nuts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a complete kit, thoughtfully laid out and as a reproduction, extremely well documented. The unruly element is me.
For example, it pains me to mindlessly duplicate the mistakes laid down by the original stitcher. See that twist column to the left of the frame? That’s verbatim to the pattern’s directions. But I tried, and tried, but just couldn’t let it sit that way. See the twist inside the frame, with the completed centers? I **had** to do it. I’ll probably pick out the offending imperfect twist and re-do it to match the edited bit.
There’s also working up the double running for this panel in two colors of sienna. The blue flower doesn’t bother me, I find that adorable. But using two threads for the framing spiral, alternating colors is maddening. It’s clear to me that dear Sarah might not have marled and finger-spun her threads properly, or perhaps ran out of one of the two shades, and that’s why the panel is done in alternating two-tone. It’s all I can do to grit my teeth and work as directed, because if I don’t, I risk running out of a color before the kit is done. Getting more matching thread, especially here, would be difficult in the extreme.
And then there’s the format of the charts. They’re huge, and orchestrate a stitch for stitch path, with every single one numbered. There are sufficient map pages in the thing to chart one’s way from Boston to Mumbai by rail (including the sunken parts via Atlantis). Paging through them is an exercise in where-the-heck-is-page-2b-left-got-to-now?” – then finding it under the sofa.
I’m also not fond of the indicated stitch logic. The paths described are not the ones I would choose. I tend to key off established bits, so that I can proof new sections against clean counts as I work. There’s too much “where no man has gone before” in this piece, with extremely long runs worked in advance of the growing body of work, and no way to confirm fidelity as one progresses.
Is there a moral to this story? Perhaps, not. But I have to admit that today’s post reveals that I’m a ruthless stickler for detail, caught up in color matching from memory, precision adherence to knitting patterns (where forays into originality are better left for after one has grokked the source design); but temperamentally incapable of similar fidelity to oh-so-obvious stitching directions. Mark it up as another character flaw, pass me a glass of wine, and move on, please.
Well, having finished the Dragon Stole by the prolific MmarioKnits, I thought it would be helpful if I gave back a bit. So I decided to test-knit one of his newer patterns. Mmario appears to design on paper, spewing out lace patterns like rain from a garden sprinkler, in dazzling abundance. Then a coterie of the faithful test-knit the patterns. Their efforts provide the photos that accompany the designs, and they catch errors or discrepancies in the directions. I chose “Dozens” – a 12-panel shawl, for which I saw no prior testing effort. Dozens isn’t available yet on Ravelry – just on the MmarioKnits test-knitting group on Yahoo.
Here are the first 60 or so rows, roughly spread out on two circs and pinned so you can see the detail:
I found a correction, dutifully sent in and now present in the pattern’s master. I am hoping that I haven’t committed any mistakes yet, although I do see one awkward bit that I’m hoping will block out (the stitches are correct, just bumpy). I’m another 20 or so rows past this point now, so additional pix will follow soon.
I’m enjoying this – knitting up a “mystery project” for which I have no prior pix is fun. I find myself looking forward to seeing what each new pattern segment adds to the growing pile.
For yarn, I’m using Elann.com Peruvian Baby Lace Merino – a gift from Long Time Needlework Pal and Co-Enabler, Kathryn. The Tapestry Blue color rather more of a medium blue than the light Wedgewood it looks like in the flash photo above. I chose it because I had plenty, it’s a very nice, stretchy, uniform, two-ply laceweight, and will photograph well, unlike the mass of black and navy lace yarn I also brought. (Aside: I’m saving a huge 4189 yard hank of Jaggerspun Main Line 2/20 in black for the Sharon Miller Princess Shawl. I bought that pattern a while back, and have saved it for The Right Knitting Moment. I’ve got it here in my India survival kit, too.)
For aids, I’m working with twelve small markers, and have the PDF on my iPad, where I’m making annotations as I go using PDF Max Pro. It’s one of may PDF annotation apps. I happened to luck into it for free via the AppsGoneFree app. Other PDF reading/management apps occasionally appear there, too.
In other news, I have now golfed here in Pune. No holes or flags need fear my approach shots. The Resident Male however was quite deadly on the course this weekend past.