Judith, it would be funny indeed if other Strathardle knitters knit their own Sams, and he found himself in a flock. I thought of a much worse possibility yesterday: what if nobody else submits a Knitted Toy, and he wins by default? The knitting entries are never terribly numerous, and that did happen to me once long ago, with a pair of Men’s Gloves.
Alexander made me a wonderful Alphabetarium for my 70th birthday. The U page consists of a facsimile of that winning card (we save them all, of course) illustrating the phrase “up to a point”. I’d hate to have it happen to Sam.
So yesterday I went on practicing the Princess insertion. Here are the first three attempts, total failures, separated by garter stitch sections:
Then I tried again, and got it. It doesn’t look very impressive because it’s cast-off too tightly, but it's essentially right.
But it’s clearly not enough to have got through a 16-stitch swatch successfully once (although that’s a necessary first step). I would have to understand how each row relates to the one before. The stitch count changes seriously, several times, and it’s not at all easy to work out from the chart exactly what the row below should be doing (should have done) at the point where one is in the next one. For me, in fact, impossible.
So I did it again over more stitches. This time, I didn’t cast off at all. You get the general idea. It’s a totally different kind of knitted lace from all the rest of the shawl.
I had intended to practice insertion-knitting for a while and then go on to something else, but I decided at this point that I had better pick up the Princess herself, while the difficulties and their solutions were fresh in my mind. And besides, I was scared. Better get it done.
Helen and the Boys from Thessaloniki are due here on Sunday. Life will change gear for a while. There’s no hope of finishing the insertion before then – 19 rows – but I went ahead and started. The first few rows are the worst of the insertion pattern, anyway. If I can get it well started, it should be not too difficult to resume later.
Rows one and two went slowly but perfectly, and I’ve embarked on three.
My neck and shoulders are stiff and sore. It puzzled me in the night, but I understand why now. Sheer tension.
Kathy has resumed work on her Princess. She’s got her insertion done a fair while ago, and is now steaming along in the centre.
And don’t miss Franklin's account of his beautiful niece’s Christening shawl.