Thursday, July 05, 2007

Throw me a Lifeline

Well, I was knitting perkily along on my Charlotte’s Web shawl in Chix, and a week or so ago realized that I had missed a pattern repeat in some unspeakable way several rows back. I hate it when that happens. I dragged my project bag home and stared grumpily at it for several days. Then I screwed my courage to the sticking place, faced all the yarn overs and K3togs, got myself a darning needle and pale green yarn, sat under enough light to qualify me for doing microsurgery, and had at it.

(If you don’t know what a lifeline is in knitting, there’s a good picture of it at Heartstrings Fiberarts, and a really good explanation of how to use it in pretty much any kind of knitting situation where you have to rip back here at The Knitting Fiend.)

I was surprisingly successful – it can be very dodgy trying to run one through a lacy pattern. I expected I’d miss some yarn overs and have to chase them down ruthlessly before they ran, or that I’d wind up with half the line through, say row 8 of the pattern and the rest through row 7, but I was lucky. I only missed three stitches, and I had run the lifeline through the stitches in the row underneath them, so I didn’t have to chase any vertical runs at all!

I’m now back on track and knitting on the shawl on Thursday evenings. I am also suffering from the seasonal blahs. It’s rough knitting in hot weather, and I really do like to knit for an hour or so early in the morning while I drink my coffee and everything is quiet and peaceful around me (before the kids get up). I took a break from my usual projects and did a quick hat. Then I went back to working on my sock yarn mitered square afghan, did a row and a half and I’m finding it too bulky, even with sock yarn, to work on for now, so I’ve started another hat.

And I started a sock from some of the lovely yarn I bought late last month. I decided to try a sideways sock, since the picture of one on the pattern band looked so fun, turned the band around to find the pattern was entirely in German and started translating. I got the majority of it translated comprehensibly, so I decided to go look on the manufacturer’s website to see if I could cobble together any tips they might have, and, lo and behold, they had the entire pattern translated and available for printing. The sound you hear is me slapping myself on the forehead repeatedly.

So, I started the sock and promptly remembered why I like circular knitting best of all. The back and forth of flat knitting is a little annoying to me, even though I knit continental (or a variation thereof), and as I was knitting to and fro, I realized the sock was going to have a big, honking seam running down the back of it and underneath the foot, and I made disgusted noises inside my head.

I know perfectly well that I can make a very nice, flat seam, with hardly any likelihood of causing blisters or rubbing, but still. It’s the principal of the thing. I decided to continue knitting anyway while pondering the possibilities and techniques that might be necessary to achieve the same, or very similar look without actually having to sew – such as doing a provisional cast on and grafting at the end. 140 stitches worth of grafting is a lot of grafting, though. So, I set the sock aside, and when I just have to pick up that gorgeous yarn again, I work on it some more. I do think that I’ll probably get to the end of it, look at it, and say, “Nope” and frog the entire thing. But, maybe not, which is why I keep working on it anyway.

So, it’s fretful knitting for me for now. Maybe I should go pick up some cotton yarn and make a snootful of dishtowels and washrags again. Sigh.

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