Vacation Knitting Binge

Due to certain perks of my job, I have the next eight days off. I don’t have enough money to travel far and there’s not a whole lot to do around here, but I do have quite a bit of knitting that I would like to get done. The good news is that both Oshima and Afton II are finished. I’m sending Afton II to Moura in a day or so and Oshima still needs to be blocked, but they are both off the needles! I even wore Oshima to work on Sunday. I wish I had made the torso and inch or two longer, but now I know. My torso is a tad long and I’ve learned that I need to compensate for that in judging dimensions.

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I had a single skein of dark purple Malabrigo Rasta that I’ve been struggling to find a use for for weeks now. I finally decided to give it a whirl and improvise something of my own. I landed on a cowl, since it’s a short project that enables you to easily try out a new stitch and knit it up quickly. Looking through Barbara C. Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting, I found a German Herringbone Rib stitch that I quite liked. I did four panels of it and repeated the pattern seven times on 9mm (US 13) needles. Since I only had that size of needle in straights, I knit it flat and plan on seaming it together after blocking is complete. I like the results so far.

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 If I did it again, I would change a few things. I almost ran out of yarn and there are a few things that I could have done to change that. I would have done a simpler cast on, instead of long-tail, because I feel like that used extra yarn. (Though it did give the bottom edge a very nice crispness) I would have knit in the round, and I would have sized the needles down by about a size or two. I’ll give it another pass some day and actually publish a pattern. The rib looks terrific in bulky yarn and I feel like it will be super cozy when wrapped around one’s neck. This one is probably destined for my Etsy shop once I finish the seaming.

Once that was done, I was left with an empty basket and a monumental stash of yarn with no clear idea of where to start next. I finally decided on a Rowan Fine Tweed in Reeth that I picked up at my LYS earlier this month. I bought enough for having a go at Evelyn A. Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl. I’m not a huge shawl person in general. But I’ve been meaning to get better at lacework and reading lace charts. I also need to knit something besides Brooklyn Tweed patterns at some point in my life. As my guru and LYS owner told me, Clark is old school, but in a good way and it would be a good step in my development as I begin to take the plunge into journeyman level. And reading her patterns will help in developing my own voice as a designer. You can master a lot of great basics under the tutelage of Evelyn A. Clark. Plus, I can always wrap the damn thing tighter around my neck, and BAM!, asymmetrical scarf.

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 So far, there have been a few grumbles as I tried to figure out the rhyme and reason of her charts (which were not automatically apparent). Clark, unlike Flood, assumes you know what the hell you’re doing and does not take the time to parse out the delicacies of how her charts piece together into a whole. She expects you to just know these things. Speaking from experience, you can follow a Jared Flood pattern even when you’re about two beers into the night. Whereas with Clark, even when you’re stone cold sober, you still find yourself squinting in concentration. I’m a little over ten rows in and I’ve finally got the hang of it, but it still looks a bit garbled. A little voice in my head is worried that the yarn is too busy for the pattern, but I think once it’s blocked, it will look much better. I just have to trust myself for now.

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