111 | Needlework | Knitting | Misc. Knitted Item: Completed
I bought the pattern (Landscape Shawl & Scarf by Evelyn A. Clark) for this project about seven years ago in Tucson (well, okay, my Mom bought it for me). I’ve been working on the shawl off and on ever since. When I first moved to Virginia, I knitted on this piece during lunch at work. That first version was being made with a really pretty hand-dyed yarn in dark purples and midnight blues, which I picked up at the same time as the pattern. For months I struggled: post-it notes on the pattern to mark my place, stitch markers made out of loops of yarn (as recommended by the Tucson yarn store person), somehow ripping out more rows than I put in. Then one day Anya was born, and I pulled the shawl off the needles and crammed it into a drawer.
A few years later, I started a knitting club at work. For our first meeting, we went to the local yarn store for knitting lessons / project ideas / yarn. I bought new yarn for the shawl. This time I chose a yarn in light, watery greens and blues. I also bought real stitch markers. What was that Tucson person thinking letting me walk out of that store with that purple yarn for that pattern and NO stitch markers? Maybe she was hoping that when I failed, I would bring the yarn and pattern back to the store and give them to her. The yarn was way too dark for the design, and dude, stitch markers made of loops of yarn will work in a pinch, but the real ones are cheap and oh-so-much better.
So, I started on the new version of the shawl, and the changes I’d made definitely made things better. That and figuring out the rhythm of the pattern, so that I didn’t have to read each and every line for each and every repeat of each and every pattern. The problem was, there I would be merrily stitching along when I’d realize I was off by one (or sometimes two or sometimes I’d have the right number but they’d be in the wrong place). I’d try to do a little unknitting to correct things, but this pattern has YOs, man. YOs. Unknitting around YOs is … well … just not done when you are me. But, I kept trying and trying. Years passed by again, and I began to glare at the shawl and say, “YOU WILL NOT CONQUER ME!” Then one day, I brought the shawl with me on a trip with some friends, including Super Knitter C. I showed her my work and whined a bit, and she said, “Where is your lifeline?”
See, a lifeline is not always a person you can call when you are on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Sometimes it is a piece of brick red cotton yarn that you slip through the stitches of a row. The line sits there and waits patiently until inevitably you realize you have screwed something up. When you unknit, the lifeline holds that one row secure, YOs and all, so you can remove the bad stitches and start again in a good place. I wasn’t taking any chances. I used two lifelines, and I moved one every four rows. And yes, there were a few times I had to unknit to the second line, at which points I thanked myself for being paranoid and insecure.
I finally finished my shawl at my last scrapbook / misc. crafty stuff gathering last weekend. I almost couldn’t take the suspense while I was binding off. I flung with glee my fabulous-non-loops-of-yarn stitch markers! I cheered and danced! I requested praise from all those present! And then I put the shawl in my knitting bag and started work on my next project.
162 | Craft | Holiday Decorations | Misc. Holiday: Completed
Inspired by this quilled heart, I made a heart decoration for Valentine’s Day. This piece took me an entire day at scrapbook / misc. crafty stuff gathering. I feel like I must have done something else, but aside from making a pot of chili and eating an enormous amount of tasty treats, I seem to have only this piece to show. That’s okay. I like it.