16 July, 2006

Ah, the Amazing Lace

If you bound off your lace RIGHT NOW - what could it be used for? This is the question for the Amazing Lace challenge 4.


Fortunately, no major shaping has happened yet, so I think Elspeth would make a nice little curtain for the window in our front door. Something with holes is definitely needed here, so that we can look out and still see the trees.


Here is a closeup to prove there are actually holes in this curtain. It's maybe not as lacy as I would have liked, but there are holes!

I started this project about ten times before having any success. In spite of swatching, when knitting the pattern, I just could not get the gauge right.
I wrote a little haiku for challenge 3, about the swatch mocking me, but deleted it.

And then I couldn't get the pattern right. Elspeth is a Rowan pattern, and I have read many blogs lately discussing issues with Rowan instructions. I am going to agree with them. The directions have issues. Maybe this is a recent phenomenon, I have not run into this with earlier Rowan patterns.

One problem with the directions is that the shaping cuts right across the pattern stitches, instead of being shaped around the patterns.

(The holes are not really apparent in the following photo. This is not a blurry photo by the way, but this yarn has little white flecks in it that make it difficult to photograph. I really like the way it looks in real life!)


You can see the effects of how the pattern hits the selvedge and kind of makes it curl unevenly. This is most obvious on the left side in this picture. It will look fine when seamed, and it does have the (mostly) correct shape, but it is awkward to work with this pattern along the edges.
This is common I am sure, with garments that have both shaping and pattern.

Another, more surprising problem, is that the pattern stiches themselves are not written correctly. The pattern consists of slanted decreases first to the right, and then to the left. The first pattern element has standard decreasing, K2tog and P2tog. This slants to the right. But then, for the left slanting pattern, the instructions say K2tog tbl (RS) and P2tog tbl (WS). Knitting 2 together through the back loop causes a twisted stitch, and so the left slanting elements have a more raised look than the right slanting elements. This is not pretty in my opinion. However, out of laziness, I didn't really give this any thought until I was almost at the armhole, when I started thinking this is too easy, no slipping and psso...

I am not going back, but now I am doing it the right way (my way). It's moving along rather quickly now. Whew!

09 July, 2006

Toronto

I am touched by all the sweet comments I received about Gracie. Thank you for all your thoughtful emails and kind words, it was so appreciated. I think about her all the time, and I am still pretty down, but I feel more able to deal now. But I still move around the house and catch myself thinking she is there, just in another room or upstairs...

Unlike Dipsy, who posts a beautiful essay with beautiful pictures the first day she is back from vacation, I am a little behind and posting now about last weekend. For the extra long holiday weekend of July 4th, a good friend invited me along with her to Toronto to visit her family. It was really fun, and there was a lot to see since I had never been to Toronto before. It was so thoughtful of her to bring me, and it was a nice break from the routine. We drove up and on the way we stopped here:




Niagara Falls! I had always wanted to see it, so it was very cool. We were there on Canada Day, so it was full of people picnicing in the parks and waiting for the fireworks in the evening. I was surprised to see how close to the falls people could get, it was a lot different than I expected. I would have liked to get into one of these:



Note everybody wearing bright blue rain ponchos.

Then if you look back the other way, behind this force of nature is this very civilized city! There are nice parks all along the road, and it seems very manicured and urban. For some reason I was expecting a strip of souvenir shops and fast food joints.



In Toronto, it was hot and sunny, surprisingly much warmer than on the coast of Massachusetts. We went up into this tower, the CN Tower:


(This picture was taken from the harbor cruise we took later. The skyline was beautiful.)
This is the worlds tallest tower. From the glassed-in, exterior elevator of the tower we could see this:


A ballgame next door. We asked the elevator guy who was playing, and he didn't know! How lame! That ought to be part of his job! Turns out it was the Phillies visiting. Here is a view of the city waterfront from the tower.



I also took tons of pictures of the beautiful gardens at the Casa Loma, Canada's medieval castle. I was looking for ideas for my own garden. I really need a pond like this with a waterfall.


Turns out a lot of movies have been filmed there, like Chicago and X-Men, to mention the two movies where I actually remember seeing the medieval interiors of this castle.

There was some knitting going on in the last week, but I don't have any good pictures of it. I started on my Elspeth bolero, and I started on it about ten times. I had problems both with my gauge, and with the pattern. So not a lot of progress. I am not giving up on it, though, because it is the one thing that I really need in my wardrobe, a little cardigan to wear over summer dresses when it gets cool in the evening. More updates on that will be coming soon.

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. Take good care.