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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day


I preface this entire post with a quote by BBMM: "You hate all of the finishing it and washing it and taking care of it. You just want to knit it and be done with it." When he says things like this about me, he is pretty much always right.


We have an FO, and right on schedule. I finished the knitting on Saturday night, and decided to wash and block it before bed.

Now, I read a lot of knitting blogs, and every once in a while I'll find an entry by a knitter who loves blocking lace. They make it sound like a fun little party, this lace-blocking process. I've never had a good time blocking before, but hey, I'd never knit lace before either. I was ready to believe it.

I got out my blocking wires, which I purchased thinking maybe they were the cake & ice cream of lace-blocking parties (not required, but is it really a party without them?). Also because they were rumored to create perfectly straight edges, and there is nothing I like more than a perfectly straight line. I got out my super-lame blocking mat and assembled. I poured myself a Bailey's and coffee, figured that liquored up and wide awake was the best way to approach the project.

I washed the stole, let the extra water drain, laid it out, and started threading the wires through the edges. That was a lot like a party, if by "party" you mean "the most tedious thing I have ever experienced". Granted, it was first time doing this, so I was really bad at it in the beginning, and had to re-do it several times. And granted, I had laid the blocking mat out on the floor, so I was kneeling on the ground the whole time. And of course, I was terrified to damage the thing, so I refused to lift it more than three inches off the mat. And then there's my eyesight, which is not good, and forced me to lean over until my eyeballs nearly merged with the thing. OK, all of that is really my fault, and not the fault of the knitters who lie about how fun blocking is.

So a couple of hours later, I finished threading the wires through. I had another drink and started pinning it out. This part was not so bad. A pin here, a pin there, measure, pin, have a drink, measure, pin again. This I can do. Especially the part where you line up the wires so they are exactly perpendicular to each other. Oh yes, the anal-retentive geometry part; this I am good at. This, of course, was all very narrow-focus, inch at a time type work. When I finally finished, I looked up, and oh my. What had been, just hours before, this crumpled mess, now looked like this:

So yes, I can see where that would be worthy of a party. I've already given you the money shot, so I might as well zoom in for the edging:

The hearts in the edging slay me; I didn't know they were there until after I bought the pattern. It's for a wedding, so it's appropriate, but gawd, how cheesy.

Most of the other blocking shots didn't turn out as well, what with the brightly colored letters and numbers. After it was dry, I couldn't help but lay it out on a dark background and snap away.

Yep, more hearts. They're upside down, but they're there. Here's the center motif:

So I will admit, I can now see where the blocking excitement comes from. I too was very excited to be finished blocking. The result was well worth the effort. And there WAS liquor. Maybe next time I'll hang a disco ball or something.

Pattern: Scheherazade, by Melanie Gibbons (that's a Ravelry link; sorry if you can't get to it!). Again, this is my first lace project, so I have no comparison, but I can tell you this: this was one of the easiest patterns to follow I have ever used. There was nothing confusing or ambiguous or frustrating. The charts are large and clear and easy to read. It seemed almost easy to knit (almost). It's also a great first lace pattern, because the wrong-side rows are straight purl stitch, so you get a little break from the tough stuff. I loved knitting it.

Yarn and Needles: Alpaca with a Twist "Fino", 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk. I used 2 100-gram skeins, and I have plenty left over for a scarf. Lovely stuff; it's almost weightless, but pretty warm. I knit it on size 2 metal circulars; pretty small needles for lace, but the tighter background made the YO's pop really well.

Mods: Oh no, not this one. This may, in fact, be the first time I have ever knit a pattern without changing a single thing. Huh. I might mark that in my calendar.

If I Could Do It Over: I would not change a thing. Except I'd put the blocking mat on a table.



All I've got for you this week is a progress report, sans pictures. It's a doozy though.

The body of the stole is complete! All that's left is the edging, and I should have no problem finishing this week.

Now that I've cursed myself with THAT deadline, I might as well go full steam ahead. Next week, there will be pictures. They will probably be blocking pictures, but at least I'll finally get to stretch it out and show it off! I've realized that you haven't seen pictures of it since January, when it was at the halfway point. The poor thing is just crying out for attention.


Brought To You By The Letter F

You know what's fun? When you do something knowing it's going to be a mistake, but you do it anyway, and then it ends up being a mistake. Then you kick yourself, and that hurts a little, but not as much as knowing that you are an idiot, albeit an idiot with foresight. Yep, that's fun.

When I first created Chevrolace, I spent a lot of time looking for the right yarn. I knew that a true stripe wouldn't work. I knew I didn't want it to be solid. I bought some multi-colors with short color bursts, thinking they would work. They didn't; too much bright color obscured the pattern, and the darker colors didn't photograph well. I finally settled on the Ivory semi-solid from Fleece Artist. Light color to photograph well, a little bit of interest, but not so much that it detracted from the pattern. I loved the color, I loved the sock, it got published, and they were my pride and joy.

Well. I'm the type of girl that will only buy sock yarn if it's machine washable, because I know that I will never, ever have the time and/or patience to hand wash socks. Now the label on the Fleece Artist CLEARLY states that you can machine wash, but lay flat to dry. Of course, the very first time I washed them I accidentally threw them in the dryer. Lo and behold, no problem. They were fine. The second time I accidetnally threw them in the dryer, still fine. In fact, the only evidence of wear was a little fuzzing on the heel, where my shoe rubbed against it. Again, no problem. I soon forgot all about the washing instrcutions, and started treating them like all of my other socks. Sadly, all my other socks contain at least 15% nylon, and these didn't.

Fast forward. I honestly don't know what happened; too much heat in the washer or dryer, or maybe just the cumulative effects of months of abuse. Here is how they look now:

FELTED. Not completely felted, but mostly. They go on this far, but no farther. The ribbing still stretches, but the rest of the sock doesn't. They are finished, merely a bad memory of my lack of interest in taking special care of hand-knits. F*&%$*)((*&!!!

Clearly, another pair of Chevrolace is in order. I can't go through life without a pair of my very own. So I've started over, with a new yarn, which I haven't checked care instructions on yet (some people never learn). Here's sock 1 in progress:

Pretty, no? And so soft. The yarn is Acero from Brooks Farms, and is a blend of superwash merino, silk, and viscose. Please note that there is NO NYLON. Why did I buy it? Because Brooks Farms colors are like CRACK, that's why, and I was at Rhinebeck, and it was all so tempting... Just look at those colors, and how they blend seamlessly.

I can't wait to wear them. I may, however, pay someone to wash them for me.

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