Sometimes the Toast Lands Butter-Side-Up

Stockinetta and Garterina, twin goddesses of knitting mischief and mayhem , are officially on Summer Vacay.  Here's how I know:  I went to my LYS on Mission: Implausible.  The nice Lady there sensed a disturbance in the Force:  "You look like you know exactly what you're after; just let me know if I can help at all...".  I held up the shawl.  "I'm five rows from the end, and I'm out of handspun.  I know that at this point there are only degrees of failure."  The color actually drained from her face.  "Don't cry for me,"  I said.  "I knew this was a one-way trip, but I just had to try." 

And that's when I spied it:  THE EXACT perfect color.  I zeroed in for the kill.  Brand:  Fibre Company.  Color : Rose Hip.  Fiber Blend:  50% Baby Alpaca and 30% Merino, 20% Bamboo  Not too weird (Bamboo notwithstanding), and with a  halo reminiscent of the one on my handspun.  Sure, the piles were 3, rather than 2, but beggars, at this point, dare not be choosers.  What really matters is the COLOR.  No mere Mortal deserves a match this precise.  I may have done a dance of triumph.  The LYS lady, already unnerved by my dramatic and downtrodden entrance, was stunned out of her ability to make words.  "I know," I said.  "This does not happen under ANY predictable circumstances."  Clearly the Knitting God(esse)s were not paying attention.  Or else, they were in the Caymans.  LYS lady rung me up with a solemnity usually reserved for religious services.

I went tearing home, determined to complete all the other jobs on the day's list:  Write sizing for new patterns; CHECK.  Drop off samples at Post Office; CHECK.   Give haircuts to overheating (and somewhat smelly) Scottie Dogs; CHECK.  Some of their dust ruffles might be a little crooked, but I was on a mission.  I was a To-Do List Machine, maniacally plowing ahead until I could finally work those last STINKING five rows and the bind off (yes, picots; I hear you and obey). 

And MAN is a picot bindoff at the end of a top-down shawl tedious.  Yeah, I said it.  I love picots more than any human should, and if I'M bored with them, there is something wrong with the universe.  I bound off, eventually, but I was totally in a fugue state by the end of it.

And by the way, How (brace for tirade) can any knitting patten in its right mind actually direct us to add a bead to the first picot of the bindoff, the last picot of the bindoff, and NONE Of the other 172 picots in between?  That way lay insanity, my friends.  That's like saying to a ravenous hyena, "Here's the keys to the Butcher Shop.  Just stop whenever you think you're finished".  Puh-Leeeze. 

Of course, when it was time to block, I naturally had to pin out each and every single one of those 174 beaded picot edges.  OCD much?  I know.  Totally Worth It:

Sometimes 1.JPG

Can you spot where the yarn changes?  Neither can I, and I know.  Butter Side Up.

So what have we learned, Dorothy? 
1.    It's okay to look to the stars for a solution once you have arsed up.  Only a complete embrace of defeat can properly clear your head though, leaving you open to a solution. 
2.    I still am not a grownup, with regard to pacing myself through a project.  If the thing I'm knitting doesn't get faster as I go (you know, the OPPOSITE of like, every shawl in the world), I'm likely to loose patience/interest.  If I hadn't been desperate to see what would happen to the edge of the shawl after finding the perfect replacement yarn, I might have let the thing lie around for another two years and twenty minutes.
3.    Crescent-shaped shawls are our friends, but they need bendy blocking wires, so if all you have are straight ones, better be ready to pin. A Lot.

I still don't understand shawls.  Or lace.  And certainly not beads.  But I think this experience has delivered me one step closer to those who do.

Math is Hard. Let's Go Shopping.

What you see here is two years and twenty minutes worth of handspun 2-ply laceweight, knitted into a shawl which is 5 rows short of finished.

Coincidentally, it's also 5 rows short of yarn.  That's right.  I managed to run out of yarn, in spite of having carefully calculated that I would come out with many yards to spare.

Yardage Fail.

I swear they will inscribe on my headstone "Never Once Calculated Yardage Accurately".  I measured 860 yards of laceweight.  The pattern calls for 760 yards.  Either the pattern is a liar, or I am.  Given my record, I'm pretty sure my pants are on fire.

So what to do, Gentle Readers? 

1.    I considered trying to frog the first part of the shawl, which is crescent-shaped stockinette, to retrieve enough to finish the last five rows.  But I lack sufficient courage to try.  The yarn is a mohair & silk blend, whose frogging potential is not attractive.  I think it would be only a little harder than winding a perfect center-pull ball from an SOS pad. 

2.    I thought about frogging back a couple of rows from the lower edge, and just binding off where I am.  But that seems SO anticlimactic: the lace pattern has all its really sexy action in the last few rows and the picot bindoff.  And you KNOW what a sucker I am for a picot bindoff.

3.    I could try spinning more yarn.  To that end, I looked up the suppliers of the original roving.  Not only do they no longer offer that fiber blend, they don't make that color in anything, AND they aren't even in business together anymore.  That's right:  I took apart two separate websites at a molecular shopping level, with no joy found.

4.    I could add another yarn.  Much as it pains me to say it, I'm going to have to go to my LYS with my unfinished project, and throw myself on their tender mercies.  They are good people, who I know will do their best to help.  But it's embarrassing:  "Oooh, look at the big fancy-pants designer who knows so much!  Can't even finish her shawl!"  Not that I think they would actually taunt me, but my inner critic is having a field day.  When simple arithmatic is your Kryptonite, it's easy to get defensive. 

On the other hand, there is precious little that some time in the yarn store won't fix, including a bad attitude.  Wish me luck finding the right yarn.  Repeat after me: "Be the Laceweight...Be the Laceweight...Be the Laceweight...".


Occupational Hazards

So there I was, zapped out of commission for the day by a nasty chest cold:

Phillip said he just had to take this picture because it was obvious that Bailey was trying to figure out how to help me.  Note the knitting clutched in my unconscious hands: Yes, of course I can take to my deathbed AND still get some knitting done...

Today I'm better.  As soon as coffee had happened, I went straight for the handspun shawl project.  Thank you, Gentle Readers, for your great suggestions!  With your help, I landed on this beauty:

"Fragile Heart" Photo by Boo Knits  

"Fragile Heart" Photo by Boo Knits

t's "Fragile Heart" by Boo Knits CLICK HERE to get yours.  It's a gorgeous semi-circular bit of fluff, with a garter stitch or stockinette (knitter's choice) beginning, the number of lace repeats you feel like doing, and a deep, sexy border finished with (what else?) a picot bindoff.  Oh, and did I mention beads?  Done and Done. 

I actually cast on for it at some point in my delirium yesterday, and I couldn't wait to see how I'd done, now that I'm cold-medicine free.

Apparently, things got a little wild in the living room while I was under the fog.  My #6 is literally splintered to bits.  Poor, helpless little #6!  In my antihistamine stupor, I left you, unprotected, right there on the sofa cushion.  And certainly, NOBODY in my house would know to check for knitting before taking a seat.  Especially not Phillip, who has been married to a knitter, for like, a kabillion years.  Get a load of the damage that guy's butt can do!  Not just broken, my friends:  Obliterated.  Structural integrity completely compromised.  There's actual sawdust.  And splinters.  As needle destruction goes, it's impressive.  And he even had the good grace to shatter the needle that didn't have the knitting on it.  That's right:  No stitches were dropped during this dangerous stunt.

So while it looks like I did okay with the cast on, despite my Comtrex Coma, I won't be working on it again until a certain needle tip can be replaced.  Unless, of course, this has happened before, with another hapless #6, leaving its mate all alone and waiting to be pressed into service...

Oh wishful thinking, you never cease to amaze!  If anybody needs me, I'll be checking every single needle tip in my collection to see if it's a #6.