Fellowship of the Shawl


To hell with clothes, I need to make sure I have packed enough knitting!

The ‘ol Confederation Bridge (A picture from last year’s trip)

Tomorrow we are headed off on our week long PEI vacation! My lovely lovely parents rented us a cottage for a week as our Christmas present. The first half of the vacation my husband’s parents are going to spend it with us, and the second half my parents are going to spend it with us! Its going to be a grandparent visiting PEI potato eating bonanza! Yippeeee! We went last summer for a weekend and had a good time despite the weather being irritatingly unsummery, so we have high hopes for this one.

Lots of time will be spent sightseeing and beach playing and attraction visiting, but there will be time spent just driving, as well as time spent relaxing….

Thus I am faced with the knitter’s dilemma …

what knitting do I take with me on the trip?

I feel like I’m in some sort of knitting schoolyard pick and I’m deciding who I want to be on my dodgeball team, and because I was often the kid NOT picked during schoolyard picks, I feel almost obligated to bring everything lest my yarns and projects feel left out. This, obviously, is more than a little bit nuts.

So what to bring! Obvious first choice is my Sock Yarn Blanket. I always need to have a simple, “mindless” knit with me, and this is the best of those. It is the least portable of all my projects because it requires I bring my big bin ‘o sock yarns with me as well, but so be it. A vacation seems like an idea time to work on a project like this! Sitting out on the deck, soaking in the sun, knitting my brightly coloured little mitered squares…. ahhh….. paradise…..

Second obvious choice is my Fellowship of the Shawl. It is a no-brainer because it is super compact (the entire thing, including the pattern, fits into a ziplock sandwich baggie) and sometimes you just need some focus forcing lacework to break up your day. I’ve actually been working on this project over the past couple of weeks and I am just a few rows away from being done Aragorn!

I feel like I need a third thing. A smaller, quicker, uncomplicated third project. Something that I could maybe even complete during the trip, like a hat or fingerless mitts or socks or something. Bonus points if it is something that can be easily worked on in the car. (My sock yarn blanket isn’t super duper for car knitting for obvious reasons.) While my laundry is going this evening I’m going to poke around in my stash and see what I might have that could fit the bill. I still really want to make another pair of slippers, big bootie type slippers, so maybe this is the time to do it!

 

I wonder if anyone else spends as much time planning the knitting for a trip. I predict that what will happen is that I will spend most of my time tonight preparing and packing my knitting, and then be in a huge last minute rush to pack everything else and then forget something important like pants or bras or something.

 

Of course there is always the option of finding a yarn store on the island and buying some new yarn for a project if I find myself poorly prepared for my vacation knitting needs…. ūüėČ


Summer knitting when I already have other projects on the go

Behold the reason why I haven't been knitting as much. The 4x4 box has eaten up all my free time!

Behold the reason why I haven’t been knitting as much. The 4×4 box has eaten up all my free time!

Confession time: I haven’t been knitting a huge amount lately! Why? Because I have been spending most of my time on garden related things. Starting a vegetable garden fully from scratch¬†really is a huge undertaking and there is a ton to learn, but so far it is doing really well. Plus, I’m having a lot of fun. I’ve been blogging about my adventures in gardening too (the link is in the menu), which also is more work but not too bad. However, I have the sneaking suspicion that this knitting blog and my garden blog are going to be a bit of a weird content teeter-totter. In the warm months most of my time and energy will be put towards gardening and other outside activities, resulting in a reduced focus on knitting for that time. And then in the cold months the gardening time will die back and the weather naturally lends itself to indoor time, therefore my focus on knitting can resume.

 

After saying all this, I AM still knitting this summer. I haven’t stopped by any stretch of the imagination, and I still have knitting plans for this summer.

  • I have a week long vacation to Prince Edward Island coming up in a few weeks, and I will be bringing some knitting with me during that time.
  • I have been thinking a LOT about knitted headrests for my car and I think it is finally time to make it. A plan is in the works.
  • I want to knit a few¬†pairs of long-cuff mittens for my son. He seemed to be running a mitten deficit all winter, always looking for a pair of dry mittens, so if I can get a few pairs done up that would be good. At least two pairs, hopefully closer to five pairs. Don’t have to be pretty, just need to be warm.
  • I’d really like to finish my Fellowship of the Shawl in the next few months. It wouldn’t take me too terribly long if I just found the time to work on it.

It’s been two days since I last picked up my needles

Home Alone ScreamSee, THIS is why knitting should be the driver behind most of my decisions! I based my decisions upon other things, and look! Look what happened! I haven’t knit¬†for two whole days!!! I mentioned this fact to my husband last night in bed and he was pretty surprised, and he even did a fairly respectable impersonation of Kevin from Home Alone.

Anyway, I don’t have much to post about because of this, but here is a picture of the progress I have made on my Fellowship of the Shawl. Took out a couple of the now unneeded lifelines so that they aren’t cluttering up the lace design. I’m about a third of the way through Aragorn and loving how it is looking!

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Gimli, I vanquish thee!  2

I AM VICTORIOUS!!!!!¬†Good GOD that was a pain in the ass. After much belly-aching and whining and way too much time I finally managed to get the Gimli section of my shawl done. Honest to god, those were the most annoying 14 rows ever. I’m both extremely glad that I have successfully finished this section (and put a super secure lifeline in place to ensure I never have to do it again!), but I am also pretty irritated with myself because I have a pretty good idea of what was going on that caused this section¬†to be a painful basket of hellfire:

‚ÄúHammer and tongs! I am so torn between rage and joy, that if I do not burst, it will be a marvel!‚ÄĚ – Gimli, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers¬†

  1. I was stupid and didn’t correctly interpret the pattern. At the end of Legolas it indicated a stitch count of 87, and then at the end of the first row of Gimli it indicated a stitch count of 89. I did NOT register the change in the stitch count, nor did I really register that there was an increase happening. I just kept thinking I was supposed to start Gimli with 89, and I kept thinking I had the wrong number of stitches. This was NOT the pattern’s fault. It was correctly written. I was just being pretty daft.
  2. I wasn’t using enough stitch markers, nor was I really using them correctly. Again, the problem comes from Row 1 in Gimli where there was that sneaky 2 stitch increase. ¬†When I put the markers in at Row 1 they got all out of place after the two stitch increase that happens in that row, and that kept making me think that I screwed up when I hadn’t. This didn’t start to work until I waited until the second lace row to put my markers in.
  3. I am fairly sure that I wasn’t paying enough attention during my first couple attempts. I am sure I missed YOs, missed some K2Tog/SSKs, and extra super likely is that I didn’t notice some times when stitches were sort of hiding under other stitches, so when I knit them I ended up doing accidental decreases. I started to be super careful and meticulous (especially with the stitches hiding under other stitches thing).
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Gimli is done!! (Apologies for the crappy picture. I snapped it last night before I went to bed.)

 

When I posted about my struggles on Ravelry I got a ton of great suggestions, all of which helped me to finally triumph over this section, but one poster suggested I stop using my Wolle’s Colour Change Cotton, suggesting that the yarn was contributing to my difficulties. That was¬†the one bit of advice that I did not take. I don’t doubt that using a high twist wool/wool blend would help some, but this yarn is driver for this project. Part of the reason I bought this Fellowship! The Shawl pattern was specifically for my Wolle’s yarn, to show off the long colour transition. Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot by stubbornly sticking with this yarn, but I don’t think so. The end result will be so amazing in this yarn…

Anyway, its done and I’m really happy with it. It FINALLY looks like it is supposed to so now when I do Gandalf (the next section) it will build upon it perfectly. HURRAY!

 


I have a lot in common with Wile E. Coyote, only lacework is my Roadrunner

© Warner Brothers

… and then some jerk roadrunner beat the ever loving crap out of him and foiled all of his plans. Roadrunners suck.

I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person. In terms of academics, I’ve always done well in school – I graduated high school bilingual, I got¬†my degree in Psychology and English, and I got honors in college when I studied computer programming. I also have proven myself adept at problem solving and picking up new skills. Take my first car, for instance. My first car was a manual transmission car, and when I got it I had never driven a manual transmission car. My father actually had to drive it home from the dealership. A day and a half later I ¬†had learned how to drive stick after just a couple lessons from my dad, and I drove home to a city filled with very steep hills. Granted, I had a sign in my back window that read “WARNING! I just learned how to drive a manual transmission! Do not stop to close!” for the first month or two (which, holy crap other drivers respected, ha ha ha) but I’d still stay I picked that up pretty damned quickly.

Knitting is one skill I have picked up very quickly and it has been a pretty big source of pride for me. Whenever people ask me how long I have been knitting they are always very surprised when I say it has only been just over a year.¬†For only having learned to knit 14 months ago I have managed to nail down a lot of techniques and skills, and I have completed projects that are a lot more complex that I ever would have thought I could have done so soon after learning. Cables, stranded knitting, double knitting, knitting Continental as well as English, chart reading,… it all came to me pretty easily. Basically, knitting has come to me pretty naturally, and this has led me to feel a bit invincible in my knitting ability. It all smacked of Wile E. Coyote, thinking he was a genius and always being so overly confident that he could triumph over rabbits and roadrunners, feeling it was laughable that they could ever survive his attempts. I definitely was channeling his cockiness, basically expecting¬†every knitting skill to just hop into my cooking pot because it was inevitable that I was going to capture them anyway so why not just save us all the hassle.

Then I set my sights on lacework…

Behold my personal Roadrunner.

Oh, how humbling lacework is. I feel like an Olympic diver¬†drowning in a kiddie pool. All this time I have been feeling so brilliant and naturally oh so fantastic at knitting, “Nothing is hard to me!”, I’d think to myself, but now I feel like part of my brain must be missing. I can NOT get this stupid lacework to work, and it is making me feel incredibly humbled and stupid. Mostly stupid.

The source of my angst is my Fellowship of the Shawl. This thing is KILLING me. It hasn’t been all terrible, it actually started out well enough. The first couple of sections (The One Ring, Boromir, and Legolas) were a snap and worked out perfectly. This, unfortunately, made me even more prideful. Then I started Gimli. For the love of mercy, this section is MURDERING ME! I have frogged it I think seven times now if I include all the times I frogged this section when I attempted this shawl back last May. I follow that stupid pattern SO CAREFULLY and every time something screws up. I either end up with too many stitches or not enough. Thank god for lifelines or else this would have been a total frog a few times over by now.

I just don’t understand why I seem to be utterly incapable of correctly completing this section. I knit this section yet again yesterday only to find it was effed up yet again. A big part of me wants to just keep the incorrectly knit Gimli section and move on to Gandalf, but I know I’ll regret it, especially since Gandalf builds upon Gimli’s pattern.¬†So I guess I have to frog this yet again and start it over again. I swear I have this stupid section’s chart memorized after having had to do it so many effing times.

For real, though, I am absolutely hell bent on successfully completing this stupid shawl. Lacework is the single biggest gap in my knitting skills repertoire and I am NOT going to let this beat me. I am going to finish this stupid lacework, I am going to have it be PERFECT, and I am going to be an awesome lace knitter.

Hell or high water, my friends. Hell or high water.