Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's all Karen's Fault

There I was, happily contemplating which sock yarn to wind next, when I checked in on Karen Irving's Knit Geekery blog ( ), as I do first thing every morning. I've known Karen, and Mary (of Procrastination Diary, from back when we were all writing mysteries and hanging out on Lauri Hart's Mystery Writer's Forum. Mary is the only one of us still writing fiction, but we all knit, and this week, Karen mentioned that she is currently working on the Swallowtail Shawl, for her lovely mother in law.

Now Karen has posted pictures of other shawls, so I am trying not to ascribe evil intentions to her, but I can't help but wonder if she smiled secretly when posting a picture of her Swallowtail-In-Progress, thinking that I might be ensnared by the lovely pattern.

Lord knows, I didn't see it coming.

I mean, I can *see* cables (in fact, I remember, at about age 8, when the whole process came clear to me after examining a pair of store-bought knee socks), but lace is a foreign language. I can do it, but I don't generally search it out. So being captured by the Swallowtail Shawl pattern was totally unexpected.

But capture me, it did. I wound some handspun laceweight yarn (the Hydrangea roving from A Knitting Duck- the pic doesn't show the lovely colors: periwinkle, blue, and a hint of green, very Hydrangea-y) and I sat in my chair and concentrated. I have read enough commentary on Swallowtail (something like 2,000 of them have been posted on Ravelry) to know that this is considered an easy lace pattern, but it's not easy for me. 5 repeats into the Budding Lace Pattern (and we haven't even gotten to the Nupps, which I am skipping, in favor of beads- I know my limits), and I am finally starting to *see* where I am in the pattern (though I still need to refer to the written instructions constantly- and the chart hasn't clicked for me yet). You can see in the pic that I've made a mistake or two already, but I will live with them. I have 9 more repeats of this pattern before starting the Lily of the Valley borders, so by then, I might actually be zipping along.

I don't know that I'm enjoying this exercise, but it's fascinating. And it's Karen's fault.

And here's a mystery for you: I have knit worsted weight socks in my size for years. I know from long experience, that I need between 220-250 yards of worsted weight yarn for a pair (depending on the yarn brand, since worsted weight yarns vary in thickness). When I started the sample sock for my heel workshop at NCFF, I chose some nice Andes worsted weight wool (purchased at Great Yarns, Everett WA, a couple of summers ago). The label says that one skein is 165 yards (100 gr), so I wound both skeins, knowing that I'd need some of the 2nd to complete the pair. Well, I finished the pair last night (can't knit lace and watch Fringe at the same time), and not only did I get 2 complete socks from 1 skein, I have yarn left over. A bunch of yarn. Since the other ball does just weigh 100gr, I have to assume that the listed yardage was off. But while the yarn felt just a little thinner than most of the worsted weight I have on hand, it was definitely worsted. I'm puzzled.

1 comment:

Karen said... glad to know I've infected someone else with Swallowtail fever! :)
And I know what you mean about Mystery Yardage: I still have oodles of yarn left, and I'm rapidly approaching the end of the shawl. I think it's the yarn fairies at work.