Monday, July 17, 2006

The Wedding Ring Shawl (Or why I lost what was left of my mind in 2006)

One of the women at work who I taught to knit took a look at my test swatch for the Wedding Ring Shawl and asked in an absolutely horrified voice, "Do you really enjoy doing this type of thing?" To her, it looks like some form of self torture. In a way, she's right. I wasn't going to post the shawl in progress until I had something more substantial to look at, but to be honest, it is such slow going that you might not hear from me for weeks if I wait that long. Any way, I thought you might like to see just what I have to contend with. See above, a close-up of part of the chart for the shawl. I had it blown-up 150% so I could see it. (see dime for scale). I use the post-it in order to keep track of what line I'm on. I used a highlighter to indicate the double yarn-overs as well as the center repeating motif. What? you ask, are those boxes doing written on the post-it? I have a left/right deficit. It's a mild form of dyslexia. When I look at those particular symbols on a knitting pattern, I have to glance at my visual cue's in order to know which symbol is which so I can make the correct stitch. Don't laugh, it works! Also, see above, between my row counter and the plastic container holding the ball of yarn, the "over-twist" that happens with Shetland and other tightly spun singles. The tendency to "fold back" onto itself, makes knitting with this yarn a challenge. I've been putting the container with the ball on my left side, pulling the yarn over the back of my neck as a tensioning ploy and down to my right hand so I can knit with it. If it twists, I can then pull the twist out because of the "drag" on the yarn at the back of my neck. It's slow, but it works for me because I'm not knitting this shawl all that fast. I'm sure others knitting with this stuff have come up with other methods to deal with this issue. "Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!", she cried out over the great internet abyss! I have only done 12 incredibly slow rows so far. Not much to look at at this stage I'm afraid. I have been working on the Mountain Pines shawl for a break from the WRS and someone asked where I got this pattern. I bought it one year at Stitches, a long time ago and I'm not sure anyone even sells this pattern any more. Since it's in yarn I spun myself, It's not nearly as fine as the Shetland. Still, it's pretty and I hope it will look "lighter" once I block it out. The center is "field of flowers" pattern. I'll post progress on that later but it doesn't look like much progress because it's knit from the inside-out. The rows just get longer and longer folks.

That's it for the time being. Until next time!


Janet said...

Wow, you are my hero. You will be one of the only people in the world to have knit this pattern (or any pattern this complicated!).
Looking good!

Jason said...

I am not a big chart reader, YET! I am still really liking written instructions more. Not sure why. I'm sure bigger lace projects will require that I get used to charts.

So happy you have started with the Wedding Ring Shawl! :-)

Jane said...

Dear Janet,

Thank you for your very kind words! There are actually at least 349 other brave souls out there trying to knit this darned shawl and there is one who has actually finshed it already (see earlier post and link). I say 349 because this is a limited edition pattern and I'm # 350! I will keep at this but it's a slow process for me. I guess this is my opportunity to learn patience!

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

Be not afraid of charts! I started out doing patterns with written instructions too but eventually you will ge to charts. It helps me alot to use post-it's or magnetic boards and strips to block out the rest of the chart and only look at the line or sequence I am doing at the time. You might want to start with charts for cables instead of lace though. That was easier for me at first than lace charts which have too many "holes" to mess up. As for the WRS, I'm glad I started too, but it will interesting to see if I can limit myself as to how many rows in an evening I should do. If I try to do too much, I get tired and mess up. Better to stop while ahead of the game!

Janet said...

I'll bet most of those 350 will never even attempt the pattern. It will sit in their pattern stash forever (hmm sounds familiar - I would never do anything like that!)

Jane said...


You never know! I held onto that Shetland yarn since the 1980's too afraid to knit it. Those who have those patterns may just be waiting for that right moment when courage and inspiration converge!

Good Luck with your own Knitting!

Kate said...

I'm one of those 349 nutters! I know exactly what you mean about the left/right thing. I, too, used to make little notes, just like yours, about which way the decrease should slant. That's fine unless, as in this case, you have to decrease every row. Then you have to reverse the decreases on the other row. What a nightmare! Then I learned a trick - if the YO comes before the decrease use PSSO, if the decrease comes first, use K2tog. Works every time. Of course, traditional Shetland knitters used K2tog for all decreases - with fine yarn on a garter stitch ground it really isn't noticeable.

Jane said...

Dear kate,

Comrade! Yes, I know our sanity is in question but what's a little gray matter when you can end up with such a lovely end result? And on the left/right thing, I have another post-it that is split down the middle. One side is for directions going forward, the other side is for directions going back. That's how I do it for the Peacock Shawl which only shows the chart for the pattern to the middle of the shawl. then you have to go back the way you came, reversing the decrease slants as you progress. Thank you for your trick on the decreases! I will try to remember it. I had considered doing K2tog for all the decreases but thought I would try my first Heirlook Shawl by Sharon Miller by following the actual directions for a change! Uncharacteristic of me but there you go.

Keep up the good work on your shawl. We nutters have to stick together!