Sunday, March 25, 2007

Approaching the antepenultimate marker on row 163.

Perhaps a picture tomorrow, when I should have finished row 165, the ¾ point of the border. I also will have added more than 20 rows since I resumed work last week.

I’ve been thinking about the Princess, and the vast amount left to do. We’re having a competition (which I won’t enter) in the Heirloom Knitting list to state our Heirloom Knitting Goals for ’07. Winner to be drawn from a hat, I think, but never mind. The point is: goals.

Alexander’s first job after university was with Royal Insurance. They sent him on a brief course once where he learned about Achievables. I don’t know about him, but I find it a useful life-concept to keep hold of.

The next thing to do with the Princess is to finish the border – 220 rows. I can do that this year, easily I think, if I keep chuntering on.

Then comes a 20-row insertion which has the effect of gathering the border in and reducing the total of stitches by ¼. That looks tricky. Sharon says to lay the work aside and practice on some waste yarn. I will certainly do so. I really ought to be able to achieve that, too.

Then, when the insertion has been successfully added, you put most of the stitches on waste yarn or whatever, and start again on five stitches in the absolute middle. The centre is then knit back and forth, taking in a border stitch at the end of each row. I think that comes into the Achievable in ’07 category, too. And since five stitches isn’t very many, even a couple of evenings’ work should establish the centre nicely.

So those are my goals for the year. That will leave a lot of Princess knitting to be done, but the big hurdles will be behind me. The centre pattern looks very straightforward, and the edging (for the top) is difficult, but known.

I came to a very pleasant point last night – the pattern actually became familiar. When Ketki was pregnant with (as events proved) James-the-younger, Sharon’s book was fresh out, and I designed and knit this shawl, in Lorna’s Laces “Helen’s Lace”. I offer it now as an example of how not to design a shawl – I crammed far too much in.

One of the things I crammed was Sharon’s “sprouting seeds” – they even nod to the left and right, towards the swastika in the centre of the border. Last night while Princess-knitting, I reached the bottom of the seeds, although it’ll be another 20 rows and more before they start nodding. It was a delicious moment of I’ve-been-here-before. The knitting is slightly tricky here, because yo and associated decrease are separated by several stitches. Not difficult at all, but counter-instinctive and requiring attention.

(That's the thistle of Scotland in the corner, and a rose trellis pattern in the centre for the baby's country-of-birth. The swastika is a powerful Hindu symbol of good fortune -- the word is Sanskrit. That's for Ketki.)

(I wish I knew how to put comments on a photograph, and draw lines around significant portions, the way Crazy Aunt Purl does. Blow me down! I just went to her blog to verify the link, and she has devoted her most recent post to that very question. She uses PhotoShop, is the short answer.)

Domesticshorthair, I always knit socks on 1’s. Incidentally, Maureen has inspired me to try the Magic Loop method. She says it’s much faster. I’ll give it a go.


  1. Thanks for the Hindu meaning of the swastika. I never knew that. Pity that it will forever be associated in most people's minds with Nazis.

  2. Anonymous4:00 PM

    Congratulations on the shawl progress. It must be very satisfying. I also wish you good luck on using the magic loop. I like learning new things, however, it takes me so much longer to knit socks with one or two circular needles than it does with the dp's. Maybe the old way is so familiar that it just happens without thinking.

  3. Good going on the shawl Jean, the little milestones on this shawl have far more meaning on anything I have ever knit before. I am sure you feel the same.
    Approaching the end of the border pattern I was adding a lot very quickly. I have finished the insertion now, but haven't blogged about it yet. I should do that today, I will be resuming knitting on her this week, but my DD is 9 this week, so I have socks to do.

    The insertion isn't so difficult, I did practice, I was a good girl. The issue I had with it was trying to decide if I do k2tog all the way, or ssk as well. I did k2tog all the way and it looks good, but I am not sure how different it would have turned out if I had done the ssk's too. All in all it is a tedious insertion, with huge results, but I couldn't have been happier to finish it.

    I will keep watching your blog to watch your progress Jean, and a shot of the Scottish scenery once in a while is nice, I miss Scotland, I am Scottish, a transplant in Canada. I hope to visit this year, but who knows what will happen.