I’m in one of those frenzies about the Amedro shawl, impossible to keep my hands off it. I finished the preliminary row of roundels. Then came a frustrating number of long, plain rows before I could start the real excitement. I pressed on through them with determination.
I am slightly concerned about the way those edging scallops curl. I trust Chinese yarn understands what's expected of it, when it comes to blocking. I like the feel of the fabric a lot. It's spring-y, almost crunchy.
I set the roundels without any trouble. But the main patterns – which I now have reached – don’t relate to them, so the setting had to be done all over again. This time, I got it wrong – found myself three stitches short at the end of the row.
I got up early this morning to have some quiet time with it while the mind was fresh. I found the mistake and have, I think, corrected it. I added the three missing stitches at the end with some M1's. When I found the spot where I had done too much plain knitting between motifs, I K2tog’d until the count was right. It’ll pass the galloping horse test with flying colours.
This pattern was the first fine lace I ever knit, for Rachel’s 40th birthday, which dates it to ’98. At the time, I thought it was the cat’s pyjamas, as difficult as lace could get. It is, in fact, easy peasy, but this time through I am struggling without a chart. I should think the recent second edition of Amedro’s book will suffer from not having them.
When I get to the 71-stitch centre panel, however, into which I am inserting the “Spider pattern for shawls” which Sharon Miller gives on page 29 of the Love Darg book, I cling to the printed text. This is the pattern Sharon calls “one of the most complex”. It’s only a six-stitch repeat, and Sharon reproduces photographically the line-by-line text from the old book, as well as her own modern chart.
I’ve only done two pattern rows so far, and so far the technique has been to learn the pattern verbally – “knit, over, take, knit, take, over”, for the second row – and then just grit my teeth and do it. “Take” means “k2tog”. I came out right at the end, always a good sign. There is no photograph of this pattern, so I don’t know what to expect. And the chart isn’t really much help there. Exciting.
The plan now is to go to Strathardle tomorrow – at last. I expect to find a mess; lots of growing is done in September. There are potatoes still to be dug, and possibly some beans can be rescued, at least for soup. Too soon to dig the rather promising-looking parsnips. If the autumn raspberries are ever going to be of any use, it would be now. And the apple crop should be ready.
Otherwise, it’s a matter of getting ready for winter. The “walking onions” are in temporary accommodation. They’ll need a permanent home.
The 2011 seed catalogues are beginning to rattle through the letter box – more exciting even than knitting magazines. Alexander said over lunch on Tuesday, rather primly I thought, that he orders from only one source so as not to squander money on postage. He has a point, but I consider the money well spent for the pleasure it gives in catalogue-browsing by the fire on Long Winter Evenings.
I have put some skeins of lace yarn in The Box to take along. Much winding will be necessary before I can even swatch my notion of knitting three strands together. It seems just the chore for a Long Winter Evening.