May 14, 2010


I’m not exactly sure at what point I lost my mind . . .

It may have been when I decided to pick up the ultra fine alpaca and attempt a foolhardy modification of the wonderfully simple Springtime Bandit shawl. I vaguely thought it would be nice to use two of the three colors of the alpaca, both to use the yarn and to keep myself from being bored by a single color. That’s kind of where the insanity began.

That was Monday when I was deep in a mental quandary and funk. I came down with poison oak from fieldwork and was both mentally and physically miserable. In this state of mind this project seemed light-hearted and simple and perfect for a spring knit.

I swiftly worked through the stockinette stitch increases and proudly worked out the simple math to add the extra stitches that would be needed for another pattern repeat. That was earlier in the week. Last night I arrived at the point where I would jump into the actual lace pattern repeats and simultaneously begin hastily planned color work. 003 (7)

I blame two things. My impatience and the fact that I wanted very badly to go to knit night. I only brought the shawl with me to work yesterday, leaving plenty of works in progress needing finishing at home. I worked the last of the simple rounds just before I walked into knit night. And then I began the complicated process of two color stranded knitting while chatting and listening. While I appeared to do a good job of paying attention to the pattern, never once missing or adding stitches, I failed to really think through the stranding.

First, is stranding all that great for a shawl? NO! It’s a one-sided garment, not a tube like a sweater or sock. Second, if you’re going to do stranding, you should a)really know what you’re doing, and b)make sure you leave enough on the floats for blocking of a fairly lacy pattern. Combined with the impatience and the fact that I HAD to work on it at the time, you can see where this is headed.

I’ve read recently about several knitters who defiantly continue on in denial. I could identify with it but never think of an instance in which I had participated. Oh boy, now I can! I continued determinedly onward, telling myself that you really can’t tell what it will look like at first and I should give it at least one whole pattern repeat to decide. I kept on keeping on.

I even continued after I got home from knit night, all through several episodes of Entourage, still fooling myself that it would look ok. I should know by now that if I don’t like it right off, nothing I can do in subsequent rounds will change that fact.

Finally, I gave in and ripped it back. It was a mess! I managed to painstakingly pick up the hanging stitches before I exhaustedly went to bed, but had a few rows to tink back.

So today during lunch I got myself back to the starting point with the correct number of stitches and everything in order and tried to figure out what to do. I didn’t want to give up on the color idea. I couldn’t find another edge pattern I liked quickly enough. I weighed my options and before I could talk myself out of it, began winding make-shift bobbins of yarn to proceed with intarsia!

006 (7)This may be just as foolhardy as the stranded idea, but it will eliminate the floats and the tightened scrunch that won’t block well. It will add (ugg) a million little ends to weave in, but that doesn’t scare me too much (at the moment). I have never done intarsia really. I think I may have done some tiny little things playing around, but not a ‘real’ project. Just the first round of bobbins makes me a little nervous. It was Monday night that I had another bout of insanity while trying to re-ball the other colorway of this yarn and spent hours (I’m ashamed to admit how many, but lets say I was up until 2:30 in the morning) untangling. It has a nasty way of adhering to itself and I am an OCD maniac who doesn’t like to break yarn. Combined, this is a disaster.

So here’s hoping this works because if it doesn’t, I have a million tiny bundles of the yarn to figure out how to use and will have to rip back another ill-conceived plan, possibly creating the Tangle of ALL Tangles. And at that point I don’t think there will be another option besides just ending it in garter rows and sulking.

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