Elspeth is all done with the knitting! I completed the sleeves in just over a day; it was lovely to be back to plain ol' stocking stitch after all that pattern. The pieces are rolling like mad, though.
This has been an annoying knit in some ways; I think I've knitted every last bit of it twice, almost. If I got the lace right, I messed up the shaping. If I got the shaping right, I dropped a stitch right through a lace motif and couldn't work out how to put it all back together. I got a lot better at that, though, and have definitely learned a lot. It would probably have been easier if I wasn't of work sick and dozy.
Tonight: the blocking, and casting on for the Rebecca cardi I think. Then the seaming (of which I am no longer afraid) and the crochet (which never held any fears for me in the first place.
…partly because I'm still off work ill. Mind you, if I was in better health, I might not have had to knit most of it twice. It's a '2 skein' pattern, meaning that it requires a bit of thought and attention. It does. The lacey pattern has to be maintained whilst still paying attention to the shaping, which is different on each side of each front pieces. I think I had to start the darn thing four times. It's also hard to rip back – well, it's easy to rip, but hard to get back on the needles. The combination of yarnovers and k2togs (or p2togs, either occasionally tbl) and the squishy, springy yarn is particularly tricky to get needles through without missing bits or having stitches unravel horribly. Still, here's the back:
And a closeup of the pattern:
One of the fronts is newly off the needles, too.
Oh, and see those innocent little yarnballs sneaking their way into the frame? Have a closer look:
The lime yellow is destined to be the cardi from Rebecca 27 (it's not fuzzy, but knits to gauge and I think will be very wearable. Love the colour, too. And it was half price!) The magenta might be a hat. If there's enough of it.
Oh, I need to knit faster…
…unfortunately, I think this one is not a good fit. I'll try stitching it along the front and see if it's wearable, but I don't think it will be. Poo.
If it isn't, then I'll definitely make a new one, a size or two larger. It's a fun, quick knit, and I definitely want to be able to wear it.
I did start Elspeth over the weekend. Four times. I've not been well (shingles) and it seems to be stopping me thinking properly. The combination of this, a lace pattern that includes eyelets on right and wrong sides, and Rowan Calmer, which is lovely to knit with, but horrible to rip back, at least if you want to be able to pick up the stitches again, means that it's taken me most of the weekend's knitting to get the first 13 rows of the back done. I think I've got my head round it though, mind you.
I tried going to work on Friday, but it didn't last long. I was just too uncomfortable to think, and there are just some places you can't scratch at work. (I'll remind you at this point that it started in my nipple).
I've been out of sorts and uncomfortable all weekend, and very groggy and dozy today. I seem to be getting the physical and mental sections of this disease in separate installments. Though J says it looks like the rash on my back is spreading again.
I don't think I'll be doing the London-Cambridge bike ride on Sunday.
The silk corset is stalled on row 17 of the final chart. Given that this chart has 20 rows, it's quite frustrating. Either there is an outright error in the chart, or it's misleading, or it's entirely possible that I've just completely misunderstood how to read a chart. I think I'll cast on for Elspeth whilst I'm waiting for the explanation to arrive via the knitalong group…
In other news, I'm also planning to knit the strawberry stripe jumper from Rowan 37. This is one of those that is pretty guaranteed to generate many part-balls left over, and I'm slowly gathering the yarns as they become available on eBay and reduced stalls.
OK, on to Elspeth!
Well, I'm at about the same point as I was when I posted that picture this morning… I got halfway through the hip increase chart, and realised that I had too many stitches in one lace section. I realised that in one motif I'd repeated row 3 instead of doing row 5, but I couldn't tink back to fix it. So I ripped.
It wasn't a big mistake, but I'm really enjoying knitting the lace bits, so I don't mind doing it over. Plus, I'd always know if I didn't get it right, right? 😉
Now, I'm back to row 3 of the chart. And I seem to have the wrong number of stitches again. So I'm putting it on one side for the night; I'm not sure that attempting lace after 2 pints is anything like sensible.
The corset is rocketing along – I finished the twisted stitch section this morning, and am now ready for the hip increases and the final lace section. I know others have said it before me, but this is a truly delightful pattern. It's not only beautiful, it's intelligent, too.
That's kind of a hard thing to define, but every so often you look at what your fingers have produced and think 'Oh yeah… I get it!" It's the sort of little design element that feels just so right when you see it, but you can't imagine what triggered its creation. Gorgeous.
It also happens that I know a fair amount about 'real' corsets. I have to say that I absolutely adore the references to Victorian corsetry and design in there – I recognise the shape of the thing, the neckline, the lace trim (which, for ultimate authenticity would be 'beaded' – that is, have ribbon threaded through it), the nod to 'flossing' in the twisted stitches, the curve that the bust/hip shaping assumes… Just gorgeous.
I'm also delighted with the yarn I'm using. It's cotton, but not too dense, and is producing this wonderful, springy, welcoming fabric, especially in the rib pattern. I know it will thicken slightly when I wash it – the swatch did – which will even out my slightly irregular tension (I hope) and produce a fabric which is just that little bit denser and fuller. Yum!
So here she is so far…
And a closeup of the lace.
Shingles is a weird disease. Biologically speaking, it's weird, though I won't bore you with the details unless you ask. Apart from making you feel kindof slow, as if you haven't had enough sleep for a fortnight, the main symptoms are either an itch so severe as to be on the threshold of pain, or a sensation that has stepped right over that threshold and is well beyond it. There's also a rash, but it's on my back and I can ignore it most of the time.
The itch/pain isn't constant, and seems to be most easily ignored if you are doing something else, as long as that something doesn't include breezes on the affected part, clothing rubbing against the affected part, or anything else affecting the affected part. However, there are occasional brief stabs of it, which make me go 'Aaargh' and grab at my breast in public.
As I said, odd.
The current work in progress is Annie Modesitt's gorgeous Silk Lace Corset. It's rather trickier than the pieces I have done so far, requiring more attention and thought. Accordingly, I've had to rip back several times, as I didn't read ahead enough to figure out what I was really supposed to be doing! It's utterly addictive, though, especially the first lace bit. Can I count this towards the Summer of Lace? I think so. 😉
The current incarnation of this design is not actually silk, but cotton – Jaeger Aqua. To make up for this relatively pedestrian material, it's hot pink in colour. I have fond thoughts of making a second one when I've tested the pattern, actually in silk. Possibly a chocolate colour? Or soft lilac… Mmmmm…
Waiting in the wings we have Elspeth from Rowan 37, who is definitely going to be a dark chocolate colour. She's not waiting very patiently. I've already swatched for this, and I finally see why everyone loves knitting with Calmer. It's just so soft and luscious – like fondant for the fingers. I don't really want to have more than one project on the go at the minute, though. I'm not sure how long my resolve will last, but for now, one project at once. 😉
Pattern: Waves, from Rowan All Seasons Cotton collection
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed (same gauge as ASC), shade 'Rush'
Size: Large, with extra length.
Started: Mid-May, 2005
Finished: 9th July, 2005