Friday, January 01, 2010

Welcome 2010 and the Third Gift

The Quilted Cowl fiasco put the fear of the knitting gods into me. With one more gift committed to and two left-overs from last year's Christmas knitting, I decided it might be prudent to get started on the largest project: The Theory Shawlette. That of the 482 stitches worth of backwards loop cast-on. It was indeed the longest to knit in actual time. In relative time? Well, it was time-consuming, but in a good way. It sucked up time like a football player doing double sessions in August sucks up Gatorade. It didn't feel like it took a long time, the time it took was just kind of - intense.

Lots of paying attention. Lots of stitch markers. Lots of counting, re-counting and re-re-counting. Lifelines (note the plural). I remembered lifelines (I so didn't want to re-do that border. Do you have any idea what a pain it is to cast-off a backwards loop cast-on when you haven't actually knit any stitches into it?) And an almost obsessive checking for mistakes. All of which paid off. I didn't carry a single mistake into a subsequent row. For me? Or, more specifically, for me knitting lace? This was nothing short of miraculous.

Once I got rid of the lace part, I got to do the short-row part. Short rows can be gratifying, because you don't have to work the whole length of the piece. Further, the designer devised this ingenious method to avoid those gaps in the pattern that short rows sometimes leave you with. It wasn't wrap-and-turn/knit-the-wrap-together-on-the-next-row (which is the part about short rows that I am less than fond of), but it had the same effect. More like a yarn-over done at the end of one row with the k2tog on the next. It was worth buying the pattern just for that little innovation.

Finally, fairness compels me to admit that, while you could probably get a reasonably attractive border using a different cast-on, the backwards-loop created an elegant corded look to the border loops that couldn't be re-created with any other method. Sigh, another justification for its existence.

Details. Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Burgundy (for Marc's side of the family, so she'll never know I used the same yarn for a sister-in-law from my side).
Needles: Addi Turbo US 8/5mm (Throughout this Christmas knitting I had an astonishing ability to get gauge with the recommended needles. What was that about?)

Modifications: None.

You cannot conceive of my surprise when, with the last stitch bound off, I realized I, just maybe, just possibly, just might be willing to knit this again.

Happy New Year. Happy New Decade. Happy so much possibility.

No comments: