Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Amazing Lace - Challenge 1

The Amazing Lace Team Introduction

Hi! We're Team Fishtail Shawl. Or, Chris and the Fish.

Our relationship has started off rather rocky. This is the first time I'm going to use a lace weight yarn. I purchased KnitPicks Shimmer in Grape Hyacinth a while back because I loved the color and I thought I should have lace weight yarn in my stash. When this call went out for the race, I already had the yarn.

When I tried to wind it into a ball with my winder this weekend, I had the first indication that things weren't going to go smoothly. Look at how this ball came out.

It took an hour to get that. I don't have a swift or a lampshade wide enough and had to try and work the whole process holding the hank in one hand and operating the ball winder with the other. By the time I finished untangeling and winding I had a very loose ball. I decided to re-wind it. Half way through the re-winding, the ball-in-process flew off the winder. Talk about loose! I started over, but it was coming out very loose again. I kept smashing the yarn down onto the winder so it wouldn't fly off again and I came out with this "bun" instead of the nice "cake" shape you usually get off the winder. Needless to say - the other two hanks are in time out.

I spent the better part of two days surfing the internet and browsing through all my books to decide which shawl to make. I found some really beautiful ones, but decided in the end to create my own. I sat down with paper and pencil and my two stitch dictionaries and started calculating edging pattern plus main pattern total stitch count. It gave me a headache. So I decided that it was perfectly acceptable to have a garter stitch edge. No sense in getting in over my head is there?

My next problem was which needles I wanted to use. I tried my good Lantern Moon needles. The points aren't sharp enough for my taste, but I thought they would grab the lace weight yarn nicely. I cast on and started a gauge swatch. I know how wide I want my shawl, but had no idea how many stitches per inch I'd get. They did hold onto the yarn nicely but the pointy-ness of the needles was an issue.

I liked the laciness I got with size 9 US. The shawl I was modeling the size after was knit on size 10US, so I was in the ballpark. Therefore, I'll be using Boye size 8 US needles. They are pointy and colorful and I didn't have 9s that were pointy enough. Makes sense right?

The last member of my team - stitch markers. I make my own beaded stitch markers. I was thinking how much fun it would be to have them on my team. I fell asleep dreaming of the different beads dangling from my needle between each pattern repeat and then I awoke with a start. The yarn is 2 ply. The wires on beaded stitch markers will catch the yarn constantly. Better I stick with the plain smooth plastic markers to avoid any meltdowns on my part down the road. You can see them in the team photo below...

So this is my team. Me, Shimmer, pattern, needles, markers, our "travel journal" and this cool new bag I got at Old Navy this weekend just for Fish.

I'm hoping all our pre-race trials will mean a smooth sailing summer.


Dorothy said...

Good luck! Looks like it will be beautiful. I was eyeballing that very same yarn the other day. I was thing it would make a great stole on the off chance I ever get out of the house after 7:30pm. Ah well, kids are only young once aren't they?!

jae said...

cute bag...I've been dreaming about buying a ball winder but had nightmares about the very thing that happened to you since I dont see myself buying a shift. Golly, I wonder what the solution is for making the skein behave. (that is, for keeping it on the winder)

NeedleTart said...

Oooooh! You or a friend must belong to EGA! I have the exact same little box with an acorn on it. Did you make the larger one with the leaf, too? Nice yarn. Hope the rest winds easier.

bethc said...

Howdy! I'm using knitpicks shimmer for my Amazing Lace too... also my first lace project. So far, so good!