Tuesday, 13 March 2012

When is a knit-along not a knit-along?

Answer:- when a novice tries to start one.  I'm afraid its all gone wrong already.  I think it should begin with a group of friends who decide to make something, buy the yarn at the same time, cast on in unison and keep pace as they reach the triumphal finishing line in a dead heat. And that is what is called a knit-along, a KAL in knit-speak (It was a while before I cottoned on to that one)

It began well when  Kathleen whom I met at P3 2011 posted a picture of this missoni-look-alike cowl on twitter

Liquid Amber (it's a free Ravelry download)
there followed a certain amount of tweeted oohs and aahs from the knitterati.  I tweeted that the pattern would be perfect for one of my unravel purchases and  Kathleen suggested a KAL.  She and I did agree we would link blog posts.  But that is when I let knitting temptation lead me astray and went off on what legally speaking is sometimes called 'a frolic of my own'  (once said by a high court judge, honest)

This is the yarn, beautiful fine sheeny 50/50 silk/merino hand dyed by the Skein Queen.  First problem, JTH was out and I wanted to begin AT ONCE (there's no satisfaction in delayed gratification knitwise).  I need a swift and yarn winder so much, but this day I looked around the house and my eyes alighted on this old tray

It might look a bit messy but the handles work perfectly well to keep the hank falling off.

wound and ready to...

cast on

It hasn't turned out as stripey as the original.  A more experienced knitter could have told me that from just looking at the skein, but I love the colours and I can always knit another, asking next time for yarn with long colour repeats.  .  The lace stitch is very easy to learn.  There is a chart and text instructions in the pattern. I added two more repeats (30 more stitches) to make my cowl a little longer. I found I could knit up one complete pattern per night so it's...

I realise that I should have waited, it is not a KAL, but more like a race and that is not polite.  But Kathleen is a very busy woman.  She is not only a PhD student she is also making more that a stripey cowl at the moment (see her blog for more detail!)  I think she has the yarn picked out, however, so keep an eye on her blog.

I have more on the Titanic project to blog next week but if all goes to plan there will be a big PS with a picture of the finished cowl as well


All done now

Lessons learned 

  • use yarn with long repeats if you want the stripey look
  • check the size as well as the tension.  I knew I wanted my cowl to be a little longer to drape more, so I added 2 more repeats.  But I should have measured.  After blocking it turns out 4 cm greater in circumference than the pattern - as expected - but that is still not long enough to get the look I like.  I have plenty of yarn left so no excuse!
  • photograph cowls in full light with a white background if you don't want your neck to feature (success there)

I still like it and it will make a pretty collar to a plain dress but if I make another I shall make it longer, probably  in 4 ply and get the colours right!


Sisyphe said...

I had no idea one could make knitting so much fun to read about. I'd be tempted to pick needles up again and give it a try, but I know that I have far too much to do, being a very busy woman, ahem, no, it's true, and a total failure! I'll enjoy vicariously through your knitting and tales.

Tracy said...

I popped in, saw the start, came back to leave a comment and get to witness the lovely end result. You did knit quickly. It is a striking colour combination, even if the effect is not quite what you wanted.