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What a Difference A Yarn Makes

July 30, 2007

Or How I got my knitting mojo back.

I have spent the last four weeks failing miserablytrying diligently to complete Clue 1 of MS3 but for some reason I could never get passed Row 87 – I have spent two weeks on rows 85 – 87 alone. I have tinked and frogged until my hands were numb and I wore the finish off my needles (okay, an exaggeration but you get the idea). Last week, someone on the group said that she had changed yarn and her knitting results had improved dramatically. So I started wondering if perhaps my yarn could be causing my problems too. The Lana Borgosesia Cashwool I was using is beautiful, very soft and a great price but it is also really splitty – especially if it had to be ripped and reknit – and it was so thin that it really made reading my knitting difficult. I thought this was just the nature of the lace weight beast. Inspired by Suzan’s post, I pulled out two other lace weights that I had in my stash. I compared them to the Lana. I noticed that while the size of the strand was not a great amount different, there was a dramatic difference in the twist of the yarn. I chose the more tightly twisted of the two yarns and wound it into balls (facilitated by the yarn swift that my hubby – muggle though he is – made for me and the ball winder that he bought for me).

I noticed a huge difference in my knitting immediately. I knitted the first 25 rows in no time. I even tinked a row just to see if it was easier with the new yarn – it was. I thought about knitting my stole without beads since I didn’t have any to match the new yarn but I just couldn’t – simply HAD to have the beads. A quick call to Joan-the-Amazing-LYS-owner located the beads that I wanted and another call to Muggle Hubby askingbegging him to pick them up on his way home from work insured that I would have beads by Thursday evening. When my dear sweet Muggle Hubby arrived home, I snatched politely took the beads from him and, as a thank you for his efforts, I made his supper wait until I had knitted the first few rows to make sure the bead color was just right. I am happy to report that the new yarn/bead combo is simply smashing. I am zipping through the chart this time. I am not a complete knitting failure after all, it was the yarn – maybe I owe Muggle Hubby an apology. I am happy to report that on Saturday, after four weeks of trying, I finally completed Clue 1!!! Theoretically, I had only been trying for three days on this particular yarn but I have been working on Clue 1 for that long.

Here is the new stole in all its glory.

This is a photo at the end of Clue 1. As of this morning, I am about a third of the way through Clue 2.

Here is a photo that shows off the stitches a bit better. The flash made the color all wonky -this really is a terrible photo – but you can actually see the beads in this photo. The color is truer in the first photo. For this stole, I am using Knit Picks Shadow yarn in Vineyard Heather with Mill Hill beads in Iridescent Black. I am still making mistakes – which is inevitable – but this time I am able to repair the mistakes and move on. My knitting has definite room for improvement but it’s not TOO bad for a first attempt at lace knitting by someone who hasn’t been knitting a year yet.

So what have I learned from the MS3 experience???

  1. All lace weight yarns are NOT created equally.
  2. The phone never rings when you are on the purl side of your lace.
  3. Children, husbands and lace knitting do not mix.
  4. Even though I learned how in first grade, counting to 99 can be challenging when you are being yelled at by three people simultaneously.
  5. Your family only needs you when you are at the most difficult part of the row.
  6. Tinking double decreases causes premature aging.
  7. The same family that causes you to lose count and drop stitches can also be amazingly supportive when the need arises.
  8. Dropped stitches can be a real booger to pick up in lace.
  9. Reading your lace “road map” can prevent a multitude of wrong turns.
  10. Count twice, knit once.
  11. All lace weight yarns are not created equally.
  12. And finally, OH MY GRANDMOTHER, I think I can actually knit lace.

The Lana stole is in semi-retirement until such time as I can knit lace without making mistakes. I will probably eventually finish it simply because the yarn is so soft but not until I am much more proficient at lace knitting.

In other knitting news, during time outs for the Lana stole, I have added another couple of inches of lace to the bottom of the Indigo Ripples skirt. And I also completed another pair of socks.

I call this pair Roses and Ivy. They are a modification of the Hedera pattern by Cookie A featured in Knitty. I knit them toe up instead of cuff down, I shortened the cuff and substituted a short row heel for the heel flap that Cookie used. They are knit from Panda Cotton Roses colorway – hence the name Roses and Ivy. The pattern is a very fun pattern to knit that I will probably reknit in a solid color some time. The stitches do not show up as well in the variegated yarn but I am still pleased with the results.

Here is another photo – this time with the sock on blockers. You can see the lace part of the pattern a little better in this pair.

Until next time, happy knitting.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. Gammy aka Peggy permalink
    July 30, 2007 10:34 am

    Congrats on your restart on the stole. Looks awesome!!!!! I love those socks.

  2. Gammy aka Peggy permalink
    July 30, 2007 10:34 am

    Congrats on your restart on the stole. Looks awesome!!!!! I love those socks.

  3. Gammy aka Peggy permalink
    July 30, 2007 10:34 am

    Congrats on your restart on the stole. Looks awesome!!!!! I love those socks.

  4. yvonnep permalink
    July 30, 2007 11:59 am

    Great socks! Great 12 points! I recognized them all, particularly points 1 till 12 :-) LOL

  5. yvonnep permalink
    July 30, 2007 11:59 am

    Great socks! Great 12 points! I recognized them all, particularly points 1 till 12 :-) LOL

  6. yvonnep permalink
    July 30, 2007 11:59 am

    Great socks! Great 12 points! I recognized them all, particularly points 1 till 12 :-) LOL

  7. Susan permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:09 pm

    Wow, I love your blog! I can’t believe you’ve only been knitting for 9 months! Congratulations!

  8. Susan permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:09 pm

    Wow, I love your blog! I can’t believe you’ve only been knitting for 9 months! Congratulations!

  9. Susan permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:09 pm

    Wow, I love your blog! I can’t believe you’ve only been knitting for 9 months! Congratulations!

  10. Julie permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:18 pm

    I’m glad you found a yarn that works for you. I remember a point several years ago when I wondered if I’d ever be able to knit lace. (If I made a mistake, I had to frog the whole mess.) Now, it’s no problem. Sometime down the road, you’ll be able to manage the Cashwool, too.

  11. Julie permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:18 pm

    I’m glad you found a yarn that works for you. I remember a point several years ago when I wondered if I’d ever be able to knit lace. (If I made a mistake, I had to frog the whole mess.) Now, it’s no problem. Sometime down the road, you’ll be able to manage the Cashwool, too.

  12. Julie permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:18 pm

    I’m glad you found a yarn that works for you. I remember a point several years ago when I wondered if I’d ever be able to knit lace. (If I made a mistake, I had to frog the whole mess.) Now, it’s no problem. Sometime down the road, you’ll be able to manage the Cashwool, too.

  13. Arlene permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:51 pm

    Way to go with the new yarn! Looks great!

  14. Arlene permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:51 pm

    Way to go with the new yarn! Looks great!

  15. Arlene permalink
    July 30, 2007 1:51 pm

    Way to go with the new yarn! Looks great!

  16. Diane permalink
    July 31, 2007 6:10 am

    I love the things you’ve learned from MS3. Isn’t it funny how no one needs you when you are knitting a plain jane sock but everyone HAS TO TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW!!! when you are lace knitting from an oversized chart?

  17. Diane permalink
    July 31, 2007 6:10 am

    I love the things you’ve learned from MS3. Isn’t it funny how no one needs you when you are knitting a plain jane sock but everyone HAS TO TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW!!! when you are lace knitting from an oversized chart?

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