Friday, June 24, 2011

Already behind schedule

Ok, this is not a good start. I am almost at my goal for Wednesday. Which is not good since it is Friday. This may not sound very much behind, but as I increase stitches, my 24 per day rows is actually getting bigger and harder to meet.

Not only that, but against my better wisdom and uanble to resist, I did a rouch calculation of stitches for the ruffle: around 60,000. A month doesn't sound like enough time.

Who is the masocist that set three months for this Knit-along? Obviously not someone with a full-time job and young children.

All hope is not lost. We are camping this weekend. So there will be four hours of driving time. Driving for my sweetie, knitting for me. Then there is always nap times over the weekend, without the distractions of laundry and vaccuuming. I see an opportunity here.

Mickey Mouse CLubhouse is on for the moment, so I think I will take this opportunity to do a few of yesterdays rows.

Today is is already about the optimism, and the pessimism.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm on a schedule here

I worked out a little schedule for my Duchess Shawl. I have to complete around 24 rows per day, and have been sticking to it, so far. It may be a bit of denial to believe as my shawl increases by six stitches per day, I will somehow continue to be able to knit 24 rows a day.

I am roughly 1/3 finished with the body, by width, not by total area.

I have a long trial tomorrow, set for almost all day, so something tells me that I won't be able to do much knitting during the day tomorrow. That just leaves the evening. I have all the time I want to knit, read, and do anything else I want to do between 9 pm and 6 am. Except for one problem: that is when I clean house, do dishes, and fold laundry.

This doesn't look good, and I am starting to question my own sanity in choosing to do a pressured Knit-along when I have two children three and under and work full-time

Today, it is all about the denial and insanity.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Better Left in Ignorance

While on hold the other day, I started doing some Duchess Shawl Math. Estimating that the ruffle is about 30% of the work, and each side of the body 35%, with a little more than three months left before the KAL deadline, I estimated that I needed to complete 1 1/3 pattern repeats per day. I smiled in confidence at my ability to meet this self-imposed deadline, and started feeling pretty optomisitic that I would finish the shawl in time.

The next day, I realized the flaw in my math. Each repeat increases by four stitches, to an end goal of 192 stitches. If I was meeting my goal at 42 stitches per row, it was only going to get harder as the stitches increased to 80, and 120, and 160. A little ball of dread landed in my stomach.

So yesterday, I thought maybe if I tried to exceed my goal now during the shorter rows, it would give me some cushion for the later longer rows. Ok, optimism returning. I can do this.

This morning, apparently NOT having learned a lesson with my math calculations, I remembered a little geometry to calculated the estimated stitches in my suicide ruffle. Using the Pythagorean theorum (which I can't believe I even remembered), I was able to estimate how long all my sides would be. At 8 stitches per inch, and an estimated 200 inches in circumference, that leaves . . . around 1600 stitches. Which I double in the next row.

I am half considering comparing the total estimated stitches in the ruffle vs. body of the shawl, to see if my original percentage estimate was even in the same universe as reality.

Someone, please save me from the math.

Today, it is all about the numbers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fit for a Princess

I started the Duchess Shawl over the weekend, with Size 2's. After it was about the legnth of my thumb, I decided that it was too dense. By this time, I had found my Needle Measure thingie, so I knew I had a Size 3 cicular, and started in that one. By the time it was about the legnth of my thumb, I was starting to have my doubts that it was too dense. So I started again in Size 4's.

Now I have two different starts to the same shawl. And I keep asking everyone to feel them, and give me their thoughts.

And I do mean everyone. To mixed and non-knitting opionions. I am going to have to make a decision soon. The more I think about it, I think the answer might be in yet another swatch.

The ruffle is knit one size up from the body of the shawl. So now I am thinking that I need to knit a little on Size 5's to see how it will look for the ruffle.

I hate swatching.

Today, it is all about the testing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Prodical Sock returns, with friends

I found my missing sock yesterday. I had stopped looking for it ages ago. I just got a rarely-used bag out of my car yesterday, and there it was hiding inside. I don't even remember when I would have put it in there, or why, but there it was. Oh, Twisted Tweed Sock, I don't care where you have been or what you have been doing, I am just happy to see you.

And you brought friends. My yarn from Knit Picks arrived. That is very reasonable turnaround time. I ordered it over the weekend, and received it the following Thursday. Although I personally believe that yarn companies should provide hourly updates as to shipping status, Knit Picks did an excellant job. Quality yarn at reasonable prices. I will definitely order from them again.

Which means that I can now start my Duchess Shawl, just in time for the Knit-along. I am using Kate Shopping Shawl pattern, by Wee Sandy. (And to think that I had been a little upset that I had forgotten my Merry Berry shawl at the office. I would be stuffing it out of sight this morning anyway!) I can't remember when I have been so excited about a project, probably because it is my first knit-along.

I was so excited I stayed up late (even though I was tired and knew the kids would be getting me up early) to wind one ball and start. The question remains if I had started a swatch or the shawl. The pattern calls for lace weight yarn on size 1 needles. (Insert shudder here about the large garment with small needles, but it really is necessary to have the proper drape.) I am using fingering, so started with size 2's (2.75mm, so the larger size 2), and it looks about right, for the quarter-sized that I have produced thus far, that is.

That could be a bit of denial, since I couldn't find my needle measuring thingie last night, and can't identify my circular sizes. (My husband gave me some sort of similar device -- I am not sure if it was out of a desire to help, or exasperation at the noise I was making tearing through my knitting supplies while he was trying to sleep -- but it is designed to measure in fractions of inches, not standard needle sizes or millimeters, so it was of limited help.) I ended up starting on straights, but my size 3 straights are currently in use, so it would be a bit of a bother to try going up one needle size. Once I establish the correct size, I will buy it on circular, since my shawl will outgrow the 14 inches straights. (Plus they have limited portability. I am not sure what security would say if I tried to bring them into the courthouse!)

I am trying not to let me project impatience over-rule common sense to taking care of these issues now. I want this shawl to look good when completed, and I don't want to waste time frogging and starting over since there is a deadline. I have three months to finish this bad boy.

Today, it is all about balancing of interests.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reviewed and Rejected

The start of the HRH Kate's Shopping shawl knit-along is queued to start in less than two weeks, so it was time to make some decisions.

Which yarn? I had two possibilities from the stash. One was a seafoam green yarn that i got in Poland years ago. When I took another look at it, the color was a bit brighter than I had in mind, and I remembered when i translated the yarn content after purchase, it tunred out to be primarily acrylic. (Word to the wise: when drooling over yarns in foreign countries, be sure to look all up yarn pertinent translations.) Acrylic has its place, and this yarn is very soft, but I didn't want to risk all that work in a short period of time to have it just not lay right. Rejected.

The second possibility was a wool, mohair blend that I bought after Christmas. The color was a sage green with soft hints of gold, sort of a semi-solid. Except that I had already been thinking about doing one of the more textured patterns, and I thought it might be lost in the mohair's halo. Rejected.

So I warmed up the internet and started searching my favorite yarn sources. It didn't take long to notice that a significant of the lace and fingering weights greens were sold out, on backorder, or otherwise not available at the present time. Quel Surprise! Apparently, I am not the only one in search of green lace yarn. I narrowed it down to three from KnitPicks, and my sweetie is the one who made the final selection as I switched back and forth between color options. The final choice was Knit Picks Gloss Fingerings, in Jade, which appears on two of my computers to be a rick evergreen color.

But how much to buy? Time to select the pattern. I reviewed the official unofficial copykats, other patterns, and free ruffled patterns that were kind of close. Once again, I had it narrowed down to several finalists, and spent longer than I care to admit clicking back and forth among them. I made this final selection myself, and for the first time, bought a pattern through Ravelry. (There are so many great patterns available for free on my list, I just haven't needed to yet.) The only problem is that the pattern required lace weight, and I was using fingering weight. The pattern was easily adaptable to the larger yarn, but I wasn't sure how much yardage to buy. I looked at other ruffled shawl fingering patterns, and made a guess. I figure when I start swatching, I can make a more edicated guess and quickly order more, hopefully from the same dye lot, and if the ruffle is from a different dye lot, that probably wont' be immediately obvious, right? The ruffle reputably vaccuums up the yardage, and I would hate to run out during the ruffle.

While I was at it, I ordered a few pretty socks yarns. My knitting time is gradually increasing as my baby boys gets a little older (if only the same could be said for my sleep), so I am not dissuaded by the fact that I have only finished two pairs of socks in the past year. (Counting the one that went missing a few rows before completion. I have now started putting address labels on my knitting bags as a precaution.) So I will be making a dent on my sock stash any time now.

The yarn is supposed to arrive in four to fourteen days. My needles await. (Oh, I hope I have the right size.) Have to check that later.

Today, it is all about the pieces coming together.