Here’s where I am at. After a burst of energy with the sleeve, this 312-stitch round knitting with the body is taking so long! I think I’m slowly resigning myself to the fact that I will not complete this pullover in time (then again, I’m leaving for home in just over two weeks and can’t really complain that time seems to be flying!!). I am trying to do at least ten rounds a day, but even if I walk to campus and back knitting, I rarely make that target.
So a little voice inside me is urging me to make peace with my frenzied fingers and instead take up something else for a change. Like socks. Or a hat. Or some mitts. But I do so want to try finishing this as soon as possible. (aside: does ASAP, in abbreviated caps, sound more urgent than the full form as soon as possible even though they mean the same thing? it does seem like that to me.)
Ah well. Back to the grind. While I’m at it, may I say that Elann and Knitpicks really do need to think about making their skeins larger than 100 yards? I’m running through them so quickly, and I’m going to have a bowl of spaghetti to weave in on the inside of this pullover after I’m done.
Finally, the MIL received the shawl, with a native American silver pin/brooch that I sent with it, a lovely design of swirling snakes. All is well. She loved it, it’s the right size and weight, and am I relieved!
First off, thanks so much everyone for your kind comments on the Swallowtail shawl! It’s speeding away to Calcutta even as I type this, and I’m waiting to see what the MIL says.
The other day some friends and I were talking about the practice, among popular female Hindi film singers, of singing in such a high pitched scale that it made you want to go and hide somewhere. I don’t mind it that much; I think Lata Mangeshkar, who popularized this style, has one of the most beautiful voices ever. Some years back a scholar argued that this high, virginal voice in film music and its move away from more throaty, sensual voices associated with Muslim singers like Noor Jehan or Shamshad Begum came to represent the young, postcolonial Indian/Hindu nation’s anxieties and desires in the 1950s. But this argument, while not without some merit, also failed to explain the tremendous popularity of Lata’s sister Asha Bhosale, whose voice and songs were anything but virginal. Asha Bhosale is tremendously versatile, having recorded both serious natyasangeet, the light-classical Marathi form, innumerable rock-and-roll adaptations for hindi songs composed by her husband Rahul Dev Burman, and also an album with, of all people, Boy George (don’t ask.)
The conversation reminded me about being in the college band way back when, and the fights the girls and boys had over the scales to sing these popular numbers in: the boys would refuse to budge and sometimes the girls had to sing in a weird falsetto to match. I hated doing duets for this reason. For one show, though, I was delighted about one Asha and Mohammed Rafi number, which was doable and a treat to sing. Alas, we couldn’t perform it because the male singer got cold feet at the last minute and refused to come on stage. I remember being very mad. Boys.
The song, O Haseena Zulfon Wali (O Beautiful one with the lovely hair) was one of my favourites from a film I heartily recommend: Teesri Manzil (The third floor). Barring the heroine, Asha Parekh (about whom the less said the better), this film had everything going for it: Shammi Kapoor, crazy contortionist, romantic and comic hero, R.D.B.’s music and a whodunit storyline by Shakti Samanta that was totally, delightfully predictable. This song also features the lovely Helen, the most gorgeous "vamp" dancer in Hindi cinema. I love the sets, the costumes, the zany dance steps; Shammi Kapoor and Helen clearly had a great time cavorting through the song and didn’t mind poking fun at themselves.
Memories of a 6th standard (or thereabouts) biology lesson. Caterpillar, or Just off the Needles, Finally:
Chrysalis, a.k.a. the twenty-minute soak:
And finally, the butterfly:
Perched on a branch, and on a wall:
Pattern: Started out as Shaped Triangle shawl from Gathering of Lace, but got sick of that pattern and ended it with the Swallowtail pattern from Fall 06 Interweave knits, almost a year after starting it. The saga of this shift is here.
Yarn: Jaggerspun Superfine Merino 100% wool (this is the full merino cousin of Zephyr). I have no idea how much, but a ton of it is still left on the cone. Body on size 3s, edging on size 4s.
This shawl is so difficult to photograph! It’s light and wispy and soft, and I hope my MIL likes it. It turned out a little smaller than I’d anticipated (60" wingspan x 30" depth before blocking and 80 and 40 after blocking).
I wrapped it around myself today and it should be okay, I think. But I’m not so sure I like laceweight shawls, actually. I find I need the weight of the shawl as much as the actual wool to be warm. I think fingering, or sportweight might be my preferred weight, and that would allow me to use larger needles and make the fabric firm too; the airiness of the lacy fabric is gorgeous to look at and is surely warm as well, but I don’t know why, it feels a tad too wispy to me.
ED: [i]sorry, i had to tweak a few times to fix the damn formatting[/i]
How many swatches will it take to realise
that this alpaca yarn really sucks? (with apologies to dylan)
Thanks for all the suggestions, folks! As of now, there are three possibilities, as seen in this photo.
1) The bottom portion: cartridge rib in size 3. snug, alas not snug enough. Idea of enormous man’s sweater in this overall pattern not appealing, given looming deadline.
2) The left fork swatch, which looks like a bee stung the first one and it swelled up, is on size 5s with the yarn doubled. Will take a lot less time, fabric snug, but unattractive and stiff to the touch. Plus, will weigh sweater down, thus defeating the anti-stretch movement.
3) Right fork swatch, stockinette, but with a twist. Literally. Every knit stitch in it is twisted, making it slightly Hamletesque: it zigs a little, then zags a little. If you look carefully, one band in the middle makes it bias to the left. That was with both knit and purl rows twisted and it produces a really snug fabric, but I think too much zig without compensating zag will be problematic. Here’s a closer look:
Llinn on the Knittersreview forum gave me the twisted stitches idea, the logic being that the twist works to mitigate the loosely plied yarn, thereby shortening row gauge, and thus the stretch factor. I like how it looks, and am going with it. Unless something else goes wrong a week later, in which case you’ll hear about it then.
But instead of the usual “What I Learned While Making This” para at the end of a project, there is ample material right here at the beginning of this one.
1) Cheap 100% alpaca, esp. if loosely plied, will bring you gauge grief. Twisted stitches can help.
2) Swatching alpaca yarn is apparently nothing compared to blocking a garment made from it.
3) Meeting a recipient’s exact specs for a project is tough.
4) The online knitting community rocks.
Spud, isn’t your alpaca laceweight or fingering? Using it for lace or smaller garments might be a good idea, depending on how much it is.
Trying to finish this in a month and four days is going to be like my own little knitting olympics. Law & Order DVDs, here I come.
I kept asking myself this question as I knit up to 10 inches of a sleeve of the cartridge rib pullover. The gauge seemed not quite right, even though I was using size 5s, two sizes smaller than the recommended 7. Maybe it’s the pattern or the yarn or me, I don’t know, but it seemed rather too airy:
So much light should not be showing through the unstretched fabric, no? So I finally acknowledged, too many inches later, that it needed to go and frogged. I’m back to the size 3 wrist section, thinking I’ll go with size 3s the whole way. I can’t believe I’m knitting a whole turtleneck in size 3. That too an all-over patterned one. Which I persuaded him he needs, when he asked for stockinette. What is wrong with me?
More seriously, I wonder if it’s the alpaca yarn that somehow doesn’t quite stick together closely in such a pattern? I wonder if wool would behave better. I’m stuck with this oxblood now (actually I quite love it, loose fibres and all), and am also tightening the gauge so that there’s no stretch or pill issues later. But I *am* worried that at this finer gauge I will need to order more, and that I won’t be done by mid-December, as I need to. Still, as they say, ??? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ???? (roughly: better safe than sorry). Plus, henceforth I’m always beginning with a sleeve. Less pain that way.