I am sorry to hear that you have been overtaken by this malaise that has sidelined your knitting. I hope you will be up and back at it soon.
After finishing the Rosebud, I took a week off from knitting, did some spinning, thought about a few future projects, and so on. This weekend past, I started back in on the Princess’ border, and completed...are you ready?...5 whole rows.
Actually I did 6 and a bit rows. On my first start at the chart, I made a mistake somewhere in the first row which wasn’t revealed until partly through the second row. After fiddling with it, I decided it would be best to rip out the first row and start over. All in all, about 3 hours of work to get me back to a clean start. This reinforced for me the importance of “no distractions” when working that first row. When working it, there are no guideposts in the fabric to give you clues as to where you are: it’s just you, the chart and a bunch of identical-looking stitches.
And a bunch of markers. I hate using markers in a lace pattern to indicate the start of the pattern repeat. I don’t know why it is that so many of the patterns I’ve worked have had the pattern repeat starting between a YO and a decrease, and it’s a PITA when you have a marker there. You know how it goes: you position the yarn in front of the needle to form the YO, slip the existing YO, remove the marker from the needle, figure out how to put it on the right needle to the right of the YO you just slipped; knit the stitch and pass the YO, and hope that the marker is now where it’s supposed to be. For the first 4 rows I really did need the markers to see where I was: there wasn’t enough pattern created in the fabric that I could compare it to the chart to know. At row 5 there is, so I’ve dropped the markers out of the work. I hope I won’t be regretting that in the near future.
Do you use one of those metal chart-holder gadgets – the sheet of metal with magnetic strips? The magnetic strips hold the page of the chart on the metal sheet? An essential tool for every knitter, IMO.* The problem with mine is this.
It’s too short to hold the chart page. Complicating matters, the chart is a bit too small for my eyesight. I started thinking about this, and wondered “What would the Knitting Goddess do?” (Note to self: discuss with Franklin as potential bumper sticker for knitters’ cars.) So I went to Her blog to see if she’s given this any thought.
As it turns out, She has considered the matter of the metal chart holder. You know Kim Salazar’s blog, I think? She has this wonderful gift for exploring technical matters related to knitting and other fibercrafts, and some of her work is really wonderful. (I’m waiting for her to take up spinning.) I like reading what she has to say about things: the presentation is clear, practical, and to the point. Following her efforts on the matter, I bought a cookie sheet, and then one thing lead to the next and I enlarged the charts on the photocopier. A bit of tape to hold the page to the sheet, and voila: large size chart holder.
It isn’t a perfect solution. Because my glasses are bifocals, I’ve found I like to have the chart on the arm of my knitting chair so I can see it. The cookie sheet is large enough and slippery enough that it keeps sliding into my lap; I can read it easily but it feels a bit clumsy and awkward. I’ll adapt though, because the enlarged chart is great to use with the metal strips positioned immediately above the row I’m working on. I can see the preceding pattern rows so I understand how the pattern is developing, and I can compare with what’s happening in the fabric. All in all, a very nice solution.
So, I’m set to go now and will talk with you later. I hope the ill wind that has blown this malaise into you will pass through, and that you will be back knitting soon.
* I’ve had mine for so long I don’t remember when or where I got it – ‘though I do remember that the nice saleslady who rang in the purchase treated me in a rather cool manner. I almost had the feeling that she didn’t want me in her shop: she didn’t ask me if I was buying it for my mom; no smile; no “come back and see us again”. I think she must have been having a bad day, don’t you?