Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Size Matters (choosing the correct needles)
On this, the glorious 4th of July, I am making lace swatches. I can only do the swatches from what I have on hand because I have PROMISED myself I will not actually knit the shawl until I READ the instructions first. I started on US 1 with Addi Tubo's for a swatch. It's too big for the yarn's I have in mind. Then I tried out knitting the Shetland Cobweb yarn on the bamboo needles from Crystal Palace, size US 0 . If anyone else is considering these needles with the Lacis Shetland or a Silk yarn, think again. Do the words "Sucks Much!" mean anything to you? Once you push those stitches past the metal collar that holds the plastic cable to the needle, you can't easily push it back because of the design of that join. At the point where the plastic cable enters the metal collar, there is a small rounded "bump" that is ment to facilitate the yarns transition. However, with use of the Shetland Cobweb weight or the Silk yarn, it just gets trapped between the bump and the metal collar. Think "choke chain" and you will get the idea.These needles are fine for larger lace yarn, but not for this project. The Addi turbo's could work but are slippery. To make the swatches above, I used Susan Bates 14 inch straight needles that are colored Aqua and are size US 0. They worked just great and points were nice and sharp. I'm thinking straight needles for the center are looking good. I will go have a look at rosewood straights in US 0 and make a trip to Lacis in Berkley to see what they have as well. I will also try to pick up a little extra Shetland Cobweb yarn while I'm there. I still have to decide which circulars to use. Maybe by the time I get done with the center, I will feel comfortable enough with the yarn to use the Addi Turbo circulars for the rest of the work. We shall see. It's really crucial for me to have needles with fine enough points to do the work well as the whole thing is such a challenge already that struggling with the wrong tools would be a drag.
The top swatch would be the Cordonet crochet cotton 100. Nice clear pattern but not a soft hand after washing and blocking out the sample. Advantage, there is no fear of shreading the thread as it is very strong. Still, I doubt I will use this for my project. Second swatch is the Shetland cobweb weight yarn from Lacis. It has a really nice halo, it got even nicer after the wash and blocking and it is not at all stiff, unlike the crochet cotton. Really very nice. Very high on my list as contenders. That leaves me the job of making up a Silk swatch and, if the cashmere comes from the UK, and it looks good, I'll try that too!
My thanks to Jason for reminding me that there are quite a few other people who are working on the Wedding Ring Shawl. "Knitter guy is already doing the "Princess Shawl but apparently this is not enough to keep him busy and he will be making the Wedding Ring Shawl as well.(http://knitterguy.typepad.com/). Marilyn "The Knitting Curmdeon" has started a blog called "The Wedding ring Chronicles" to report on her progress with the same pattern and has already begun work on it at...(http://weddingringchronicles.blogspot.com/ ). It's not a "knit along" but apparently people who know each other pretty well! Much luck to all of them! I'm already prostrate with envy that Knitterguy has made such terrific progress on that Princess Shawl. It won't be available again to purchase by the rest of us unwashed masses until 2007. Sigh. I only just got back into knitting Shetland lace lately after years of primarily cable knitting.
I must go now and take the silk skein and try to wind it into balls. I don't think I can get it to be all in one ball. It tangles easily and will end up being more than one ball as I hit immovable snags/knots/whatever. Will post swatch when I can!
Oh yes, in response to Jason's question if I will start knitting the Wedding Ring Shawl in the near future. You betcha! As soon as I get needles I like for the center, and finish reading the pattern info (tonight if my arm does not fall off from winding the Silk). Yes yes, I know. I have 3 other shawls on needles. But they are all larger needles and yarns. They will be the respite from the Wedding Ring Shawl, if you can believe that. This will be months and months of work for someone like me. I am not a fast knitter.
Until next post!