April 9, 2011

I can explain... (long and magical)

Yesterday was a long, but awesome, but long day. I started work at 6am, which means getting up at 4:30am. Then Tammy and I had knitting adventures, then Tammy, Jay, Adam and I had dinner adventures, then we watched Tron (the original, but remastered so it wasn't horrible), and didn't get home until long after 11pm. It was a long-awesome-long day. So there was no post.

So I'm posting today instead!

Knit-Blog-Thing Week-ish, Day 2: What Pattern(s) do you aspire to knit and why?

So, if you'd asked me this about a year ago, I would have said socks. I've always LOVED the idea of knitting socks. That being said, This isn't a year ago.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can knit socks. Plain, undetailed, simple socks, but socks nonetheless. In fact, just yesterday, I completed my very first pair* of socks just for me. I also have another pair on the go for Colleen, which are going to be awesome, but just the idea of turning a heel in black yarn is kind of making me want to gouge my own eyes out in advance. Some knitters suggested copious daylight and a strong constitution (turning a heel creates an automatic -1 on your knitterly score, doing any knitting in black also drains you by -1, but the combination of the two takes your base Con down by at least -4. -6 if you're doing it in sock yarn, which I am**.) Others have suggested alcohol and prayer. I like both suggestions, really, but I think the first will be the most productive.

Anyways, the point is, I have met a goal of knitting something that I aspired to knit. I tell you this so that you know that when I say I want to do something, you will know that I will eventually get there. Or at least, that's the plan.

What I ASPIRE to knit now, is lace. I've done things with "lace" in them, but that was knit 2 together and yarn over stuff that really only created holes. I'm talking a lace shawl in lace weight yarn.

If you check me out on Ravelry (I'm SparkyintheSnow there too), you'll see that I've favorited patterns like the Swallowtail, the Traveling Woman and the Bottom Up Birch. I've even attempted the Bottom Up Birch, which met a rather sad end shortly after my trip to Aruba because I got totally lost in the pattern. Lace, for those of you who don't knit, involves charts rather than knitting directions. It's a whole different language in knitting. It's kind of like the difference between following a map and reading hand-written directions. Both give you the same information, more or less, but in different ways.

Knitting from a pattern is long-hand. There are abbreviations of words, but you get the idea. As an example, I'm working on a pattern right now that says something like this:

Row 23: [p1, k1] x10, p1, k12, p1

Now, because I get the lingo, I know that means purl one stitch then knit one stitch 10 times to create a ribbing pattern, purl one stitch, knit 12 stitches, then purl one stitch. Kind of like saying take the bus from Warden Station to Ellesmere, cross the street, go down a block, cross the parking lot and it will be on the left. There's no visual representation of what's going on.

A chart is like a map. There are symbols instead of words, and you have to know certain things going in, like that you have to read it a certain way, and that usually only the right side of the knitting is put on the chart because the back of the knitting will either be knit or purled across the entire row, depending on what the directions indicate. It can be like reading a whole other language!

The other thing with lace knitting is that most of the time it involves LOTS of time. The yarn is usually very fine, and sometimes the needles are pretty tiny, depending on what you're working on. One knitter once described creating lace as not creating knitted stitches, but creating the negative space around knitted stitches (aka: holes). So, in a lot of cases, if one stitch or one hole gets out of line, or ends up in the wrong spot, it can make your piece look odd, and you usually don't notice you've made that kind of mistake until you've knitted another couple or rows, meaning you usually have to either rip back to the mistake or try and tink back, and if you're using certain yarns, it gets so twined together that you're better off to just pitch the lot and start over.

So, why would I want to do this to myself? Because it's damned pretty. It's lovely, and it's a transferable skill (to other projects, not so much to the real world). Lace socks are GORGEOUS! So are lace wrist warmers. And Should I ever commit myself to knitting something big like a sweater, lace is a beautiful accent to that.

One day I'd also like to knit something I could sell and make a profit from, but that's a whole other issue.

*I've completed 2 socks previous to this pair, but you can't really call them a pair. The first was just... well, terrible. It was done as a "well, I'm taking a class, but I'm going to attempt it on my own first and see where I get" and is now Sorrelle's secondary Christmas Stocking. Yes, secondary... we have one set for here at the apartment as decoration, and a second set at my mother's house.

**If you didn't get the Constitution joke, don't worry, it's an RPG thing. If you did, I must then ask why exactly we aren't gaming on a regular basis. I miss gaming, specifically playing the dumb but lucky characters whose favorite phrase is "I wonder what's behind this door?"

So... What do you aspire to?


Leen said...

Uh, depending on your base score, you might not even have the strength to hold the needles at that point, yo. Just sayin'.

Sparky said...

Exactly. These socks are pretty much epic. But it's you, so I will try and scrounge all the endurance potions I can ... :)

Hee hee... Potion of Endure Sock Yarn.