Saturday, July 11, 2015

Short Rows and Ocean Views

Hi Y'all,
Just checking in and saying howdy. A couple of weeks ago I did a run up to Monhegan Island with a bunch of friends, just for kicks. I like to pretend this is a scouting mission for the Knitting & Yoga Adventures September Retreat up there. But really, I just cannot get enough of the island, which is why I now go twice annually. The bummer news is that if you haven't signed up for the retreat, we are sold out. The good news is you can always pop over and put yourself on the waiting list, just in case an opening magically occurs.

While I was up there in June, I was able to confirm that the weather is still spectacular-- we had a little bit of everything including an amazing summer storm. The sunsets are still astonishing. And you can easily while away a day just sitting at Lobster Cove and watching the sunlight dance across the water.

I also really dug into the Color Affection Shawl I'm working on, and will be working on for the foreseeable future. It has roughly the same number of stitches (eighty bazillion) as the Adult Baby Surprise Jacket that took me nine months to knock out. That's okay. It's all garter and pretty relaxing for the most part. 

There are short rows involved. I'm not sure who started the rumors about short rows and heel turning being on par with summiting Everest. That's hardly the case. And I find that, at least when I am starting out with a new-to-me (or rarely-used-by-me -- I have done short rows once or twice before) being forewarned about how terrible the process is does give me a little fear. But that fear was unfounded. The wrapping and turning is easy. What is a little confusing is how the instructions say to knit three stitches past the last wrapped stitch-- so does that mean a total of three or four stitches? 

Don't answer that. I already came up with my system, and this is a shawl, not a fitted garment, so it's all looking good. But every time I come across ambiguity in a pattern-- pretty much every time I use a pattern-- it does make me wish for a bit more universality in the way these things are written. Of course as soon as I say that, I realize how much I would hate an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern that was all tidied up and relieved of its conversational style. Sure, I have to look up tons of written and YouTube help when navigating some patterns-- especially EZ. But since that help exists I shan't complain too much.

Plus there is that insider information that falls into our laps sometimes, like a lovely alpaca afghan, bringing us great comfort. For example, I was at Hill Country Weavers recently (where the photo at the top was shot). I was there because I realized the third color I picked for my shawl was all wrong, and I wanted some help from Suzanne, the owner, because frankly I am terrible at coming up with good color combos. As we got to talking about the Color Affection, she pointed out that when you knit up the pattern exactly as it is written, there is a sort of cupping effect along the border. I had noticed that-- the thing was looking like a truncated hood. But it didn't occur to me there might be a remedy.

Suzanne explained that if I would do a yarn over between the first and second stitches and then drop that YO on the way back, it would create a more flat garment. Even though I've been applying this advice for several rows now, I still can't tell you if I'm doing that YO on front and back or just every other row. I sort of just apply it as I remember it and hope for the best. I'm sure this would drive some more meticulous knitters absolutely nuts, to see my haphazard "techniques." And it would probably cause the same knitters to faint if they saw the big mistake in one of the rows-- the old "proof that I'm not God" thing that I inadvertently manage to work in to every project, typically early on, and never seem to notice until I am far too along to realistically frog.

Ah well, I guess I will just call this my signature style and not worry about it. I mean, I haven't been worried about it, not too much. Because I don't knit to worry, I knit to relax. Speaking of which, look at my happy feet, just hanging out at Lobster Cove.

Happy Summer Knitting,

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