Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why I Can't Knit Lace in Public

Because I talk to myself, that's why. So what? Your point?

As a lace newbie, I'm mighty uncomfortable right now. I'm beavering away on my MS3 (Clue 2) and, with the exception of a major lace mishap too ugly to discuss--okay, The Imbecile Ate My Knitting--it's okay. I'm back on track after some major tinking and re-knitting.

But the way I get through each row is by talking to myself. Some of it's straightforward, knit two, now yarnover. But I have my own little "code words" for some of the stitches which wouldn't make any sense to anyone but me. Another knitter would say, "huh?" hearing me go through a row, stitch by stitch.

And the counting. Okay, so it's 49 stitches to the marker that identifies what we will laughingly call the "center stitch" since sometimes there's a stitch and sometimes not. Then 50 to the end. 99 in total. No biggie, but it makes me more comfortable to count at the end of each row to make sure I haven't made some mistake that will make that center stitch, for instance, somewhere on the 20 yard line instead of the 50.

And, then there's Cotton Candy (AKA Verdegris), the lace project formerly known as the PITA and now fondly regarded as the "easy" project (everything's relative, after all):

It's sitting on a standard sized clipboard for ease of photography so you can see it's a little under a foot long now, about 20-25% of its finished size, I'd guess. It's become my relief knitting. When my shoulders are totally hunched from knitting MS3, I just kick back with this baby. I love the stitch definition in the Jade Sapphire.

And that brings me to another revelation or self-awareness if you like. While I'm loving the MS3, I'm definitely out of my comfort zone. The Cotton Candy pattern is definitely geometric and repetitive. MS3 is artistic, symmetrical, yes, but in a floaty, loosy goosy way rather than the predictable Cotton Candy. And I think I'm more comfortable when I know where something's going and can see when I've made a mistake, instead of getting it all knit and going "uh, wasn't that line of yarnovers supposed to be straight? Why does that one look like a cobra about to strike?" I feel like I'm knitting intarsia in black alpaca.

So I think my next shawl/stole (well, I have to plan a next one because I keep buying more lace yarn*) will be a repeat motif, maybe the Kira or Print of the Wave. Because I can keep the counting to increments.

Which is what makes me laugh about the fact that the intrepid Claudia is organizing an Atlanta MS3 gathering. Because what I do know is that I can't knit this puppy in public...I can barely knit it here in my office in my pajamas. Luckily Mr. Pug and the babies just walk away from me when they hear me counting and whispering in tongues to my knitting. But that's the stuff that gets people arrested and put in 30-day observation on the streets of Atlanta.

*in the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that more lace yarn followed me home from a minor yarn crawl with Whit on Friday: 2 skeins of Malabrigo baby lace merino in a dusky rose color called Pagoda from Cast-on Cottage and 2 skeins of Jaggerspun Zephyr (just so I can see what all the fuss is about) in Teal, and 5 skeins of Jojoland Harmony Melody from Needlenook. The Melody wasn't my fault--I bought a pattern at the guild meeting that called for it and then I saw it at Needlenook and...the rest is history.


Janice in GA said...

My personal opinion is that patterns like the MS3 are harder in some ways than the repeating patterns. You can't get used to where the pattern's going to change, so you do have to watch, and count, and watch, and count again.

I normally use lots of st markers to separate repeats, largely because I tend to get lost if I have to count more than 10. (It's the dreaded, "38, 39, 40, 41, 52" kind of syndrome.) So on charts like the MS3, I draw strong vertical lines down every freakin' 5th st, so I can check where I am easily. :) And then then I count on the way back too. And if the count is ever not right, stop and recheck everything *right then*, because making up a stitch just to make the st count come out right will only end in tears. :)

But I'm easily distracted, and need all the help I can give myself.

Sheri said...

Nope, this lace knitter would know exactly what you were mumbling to yourself cause while I'm doing lace everyone knows not to talk! Well, you can talk, just don't expect an answer cause in my head I'm saying "yarn over, knit 2 together once, yarn over, knit 2 together twice" and if you talk and expect an answer you'll mess me up totally! And, I always count the stitches on the purl back row to make sure I have the 99! See, you're a "normal" lace knitter!
Sheri in GA

Romi said...

Lookin' good!

The ms3 is definitely not for the distracted (she said knowingly). ;)