The Saga of the Silkpaca Fingerless Gloves (or Why I am Such an Idiot Sometimes)

How hard could it possibly be to knit a pair of lacy fingerless gloves for a Knit Along? Surely not hard at all, considering that I have knit both fingerless gloves and lace many times in the past. I consider myself a competent knitter, able to follow a pattern, but somehow my knitting skills alluded me in the most unusual of ways. That is to say, when I mess up, I do it with creative panache.

Firstly, because I had already read through the pattern days before, I cast on with size 0’s without even consulting the pattern.  I should have seen the red flag right off the bat because 45 stitches in lace weight yarn on size 0’s is freakishly tiny. I’m ashamed to admit it took me many rows of knitting before my brain kicked and and said, “this doesn’t look right. Are we making mitts for an American Girl doll, ya moron?!?”

So, I consulted the pattern which very clearly states that I was supposed to be using size 2’s. Hmm. I could have sworn it was 0, but I can admit my error. I have a lot of things on my plate. It isn’t inconcievable that I would remember the needle size wrong. Odd, to be sure, but not impossible.

Frog. Cast back on. Knit another insanely long time before that voice in my head was back. “This is still way small. Sure it could fit The Blessing, but do you really want to knit lacy fingerless gloves in expensive yarn for your two year old?” Nope.

But what was wrong? I followed the pattern this time. I was careful to make sure to do it right.

That’s when I looked to Ravelry to see if this was a common problem with this pattern (when in doubt, blame the pattern, right?).

And that’s when I realized I was using the wrong pattern. I had set out to knit Alpaca Warmers and had instead started knitting top down alpaca mitts!

But it was worse than that…

I wasn’t even in the right book!!!

I have all the 101 One Skien Wonders books. The pattern I needed is in the “designers” one and I had pulled the “luxury” one off the shelf.

Gigantic sigh. And total (well mostly) redemption of my sanity (which I was really beginning to question!). It is size 0 needles. I just needed more stitches, 72 in all. And that looked much better. I think.

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Only now it was looking a bit too big!

As I resisted the urge to fling it into the back yard and run away screaming, I tried to come up with a new plan for them. If they are too big for my 11 year old’s birthday present (with her birthday coming up fast, I had hoped to have a pretty lacy thing for her), why finish them at all? Lacy mitts for me? Back up gift? Think of someone who’d like them? Hope they fit my daughter after all? Or maybe she won’t care that they are loose?

Of course, I kept knitting, all the while thinking these things, getting deeper into a project that I have serious doubts about. Because there is nothing like frogging some great work of art after knitting most of it knowing it was going to be frogged in the end.

But I persevered and was glad I did. The first glove turned out pretty good and fit me just snuggly enough to make me think that they could still be a good gift for The Dancing Queen.

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At this point I was in love with everything about this project – the yummy yarn, the tiny needles, the pretty lace all making me so happy. But my favorite thing about it was that with only 50 grams of lace weight yarn, 6” DPNs, and minimal notions, the entire thing fits in this little pouch.

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Call me crazy, but I just love that!

Things were trucking along smoothly enough, but I didn’t finish the second mitt without a few mishaps.

The two year old pulled the needles out and I had to rip out all the lace and start at the ribbing.

The same two year old dumped The Man’s glass of wine all over my book.

And then the pattern for the second glove wasn’t the same as the first and I didn’t catch it in time, so there is a little shaping that is off. I left this as it was. At that point I couldn’t bear another frogging.

Drama, drama, drama.

But then I did it. I finished the second one. And it was all worth it.

IMG_4100-resized_medium Alpaca Warmers in malabrigo silkpaca. SO Scrumptious! 

These are seriously gorgeous. And warm despite being lacy and thin, because of the alpaca content (which is crazy warm even in tiny amounts!).

After all the uncertainty, I am going to give them to The Dancing Queen for her birthday. She has been eyeing them and fretting when I told her they were for me. I have played that card before, so she is probably suspicious. If she loves them and wears them then I can get over her lack of surprise.

I did say that I liked adventurous knitting, didn’t I? Well, I do. And after the monotony of recent knitting projects, the thrills and chills of this latest knitting was just what the doctor ordered. So happy ending to my knitting saga. And a few lessons learned along the way – lessons like,
Make sure you are in the right book.
Don’t leave the knitting within reach of the 2 year old,
and 
Sometimes the doubts in your head are totally wrong and there is an awesome finished project waiting for you at the end of the tunnel if you’ll just press on. 

Frivolity

It feels good to have some lace on the needles again.

Sure, I always have a lace project in progress (or two…. or three). Alas, the time that is required to concentrate on such complicated frivolities has been quite limited as of late. As in, I’d rather spin. Ha! The lace has been taking up needle space and collecting dust for a few months, now. Untouched, unloved.

Actually, the three lace projects that I currently have on the go have been collecting dust because my knitting has been more utilitarian. I need to make a baby gift for so-and-so. I must finish this sweater for a customer. I should get that test knit finished. And while I would love to while away my time on complicated lace shawls that have no purpose in my life whatsoever, there just aren’t enough hours in my day.

That is why I jumped at the chance to test knit a lace shawl for Cosy. At last, a lacy knit that has a deadline and a reason and a sense of urgency that my other lace projects utterly lack. Besides, look at this shawl that I am testing. Beautiful, right?

And another look:

Mary Louise Shawl in Cosymakes Snapdragon Light Fingering, Red (Raveled here, and Cosy’s finished shawl here)

It feels so good to be working on lace again. And not just because it is so stimulating and interesting. Not only for its delicate beauty or the gorgeous yarn. Not merely for the charm of turning a chart into art. All of that is true, to be sure. But at this moment right now, I am taken with the way an entire large shawl project still fits inside my new knitting bowl. (From Blue Room Pottery on Etsy. A “Happy Nothing Day” gift from the Mother-In-Law from Heaven)

Oh, sweet frivolity!

It’s a Mystery

A mystery knit-a-long, that is. However the real mystery is if I will be able to wrap my post-pregnancy-milk-making-half-starved-totally-fatigued brain around the complicated lace that is being doled out! (Did I say half starved? Make that perpetually eating yet never satisfied…. Pass the chips, please.)

As for the actual knitting I am averaging about two rows a night on this bottom up shawl (the rows started out in the hundreds but get progressively shorter as you go). I am using this yarn from my stash and some beads that I got in a recent swap.

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace 

This is my first beaded knitting project, so I am super thrilled. Also, it is a Kitman Figueroa design (remember the Jaali shawl?) which pleases me as well. Her lace is exquisite, challenging, and, well, totally awesome.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Oh, and I have one more finished project to show you tomorrow and then you will be caught up on the camera-free knitting that happened this summer… I think.

Now, back to “solving” that mystery.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

What Ever Happened to That Lace?

Rest assured, the lace obsession rages on, but several things have been slowing me down.

Hinderance #1 – Pregnancy Brain Lingers On. Despite being five weeks post-partum, I still can’t manage to remember a simple lace pattern – even when it is repeated eight hundred times! Sleep deprivation deserves some of the blame as well (see Hinderance #2), but I should be able to wrap my brain around a few yarn overs. This isn’t that hard (for lace) and I have mastered much more complicated patterns in my knitting life.

Hinderance #2 – Sleep Deprivation Causes Narcoleptic Attacks. If I am knitting on the (super-secret-christmas-gift) stockinette stitch project, I most definitely will fall asleep. It has happened…. twice. If I am knitting on something more complicated, say, this lace for example, well… see Hinderance #1. Fortunately, I am a tea snob and have the caffeine it takes to carry on.

Hinderance #3 – Silk (while gorgeous and fabulous and wonderful and awesome) Is Very Slippy and Hard To Work With. To fix this problem, I moved my knitting off of my slick nickle plated needle to my Harmony Wood needle. It helped, but I still have dropped more stitches than I care to count (can you say “tink”) and have to watch carefully even on the easy purl rows. The stitches dance around all over the place and the yarnovers like to rearrange themselves on the needle.

Hinderance #4 – 

Need I say more?

Hinderance #5 – Let’s be honest. The biggest reason that I have neglected my lace is this:

Can you blame me?

 

Of Dropped Stitches, Procrastination, and Treasonous Lifelines

It started last September. It was coming along so beautifully.

The Rona Lace Shawl in Knit Picks Shadow Vineyard

Then, I took a break. I thought it was safe and secure in it’s cute little bag. Alas, when I picked it back up in December, I found that the needle had pulled out of a few stitches and they had dropped. Kicking myself for leaving my lifeline 40 rows back, I put it back in the bag and decided to I would frog it back to the lifeline… later.

Today, I picked it up again (my current knitting project is boring me to tears, and I thought I could use a challenge). I started to pull the needles out and rip back to my thin, green safety net.

I noticed too late that my lifeline had abandoned me, as well.

Almost half of the circle was not protected by my treasonous lifeline. Why I didn’t tie the ends together is beyond me, but then again, I was presumptuous enough to leave it so far behind, I guess I thought I wouldn’t need it.

Such a talented knitter as myself! HA! I scoff at lifelines!

And look where it got me. I was almost finished knitting that first ball, too:

And now, I am back to square one.

This is a must knit shawl, so I am going to cast it back on and complete it… later.

For now, I am thinking that my teal skien of Claudia Handpainted Silk Lace needs to be a Peacock Shawlette.