Monday, November 24, 2008

I Learned a New Stitch

Originally uploaded by TravelingAnn

I didn't mean to learn anything new. It just kind of happened.
I blame Cynthia.

Watch as I now skillfully "bury the lead"
My schedule at the store is such that I work either Saturday or Sunday of every weekend. Because of this, and the fact that I have a full-time job, if I swap with any one I end up working a full weekend—which can be tiring.
A few months ago Cynthia asked if I could swap Saturdays with her at the end of October. I believe her goal was to go to Rhinebeck. Shortly before the weekends in question, her husband surprised her with a trip out of town for her birthday. The easiest solution was to ask me to work my normal schedule and get a day in the future.
I agreed, throwing a pout out for good measure. but really it meant more money and I got to skip out on Nov 1, which was the weekend I got back from my trip to Fla.

A present? For me?
So to thank me for working both weekends, and because she is generous like that, she gave me this lovely skein of yarn that caused me to go questing for a new project. solo yarn open It is a skein of Solo from Brooks Farm Yarn in Lancaster, Texas.
She said they are one of her favorites, but she can't carry it at the store because they don't do wholesale. And she remembered that I like red.
I don't know if you can tell, but it has maroon, red, pink, and orange graduations.
It's 400 yards of "100% fine wool." To show you how bad I am at eyeballing yarn, I thought it looked sort of fingering weight, but when I tracked it down on Ravelry it was listed as DK. Sigh.

What to make, what to make
Of course I immediately had to abandon all other projects and figure out what to do with my spiffy new yarn. (I see my WIP list from Ravelry in my sidebar is getting intimidatingly long. I should really change some of them to hibernating status to get them out of there.)
First instinct was socks.
Then I thought fingerless gloves, but at 400 yards they didn't seem big enough.
A scarf would make sense, but scarves bore me and I have plenty already.
Then I thought a shawl. That would be useful and I could keep it at the office for variety.

The Skin Test
Hubby was laughing at me Sunday. It seemed every time he looked at me I was petting, smelling, or rubbing the yarn against my face. Really I was trying to determine whether it was going to make me itch, which would have dictated what I could make with it.
Happily it is very soft and so far itch and tingle free.
So I spent a while on Ravelry looking for one-skein projects and shawls. I understand there is wisdom out there that even if a shawl is written for lace weight you can use a thicker yarn with bigger needles. You just have to be aware the dimensions of your finished project will be different.
However, since I don't do lace or shawls on a regular basis, I'm not sure of this rule in action and didn't want to mess with it too much.

This Is Where I Learn Something
poncho for solo I also flipped through some of my books and magazines and seized on this Cropped Poncho from Rebecca magazine No 32.
The pattern calls for 427 yards. But what's 27 yards between friends? Since it is knit top down, and I'm petite, I figure I can just knit until I run out and I'll be fine.

(A public blog should not be as stream of consciousness as I can get sometimes. Are you surprised I'm a professional writer? Do I need to point out my blog is sans editor or copy editor?)
The pattern stitch is listed as Fisherman's Rib.
I've never worked Fisherman's Rib, but I had a vague understanding it involved a previous row and dropping stitches.
However, the directions were talking about working stitches with a YO and not telling me when to make the YO.
An internet search eventually led me to what appears to be a German Blog with pictures and English text directly addressing Fisherman's Rib in the Rebecca magazines.
Turns out the stitch is worked differently over there. So I sat with my knitting and worked a few rows.
I didn't like it at first, but it was growing on me.

Over Complicating Things
But I couldn't leave well enough alone.
The stitch is slow to work and I was after something simple for the holiday weekend.
What if I did it in stockinette stitch?
What if I did cables?
So I spent time flipping through stitch dictionaries and doing some preliminary mapping. Even swatched a cable to see how it would look.
Then I asked Hubby's opinion. He thought the rib looked fine.
So I thought, why mess with the poor poncho pattern? I've been wanting to just knit something without having to think too much.
I've decided to just follow the pattern as is.
Well, expect the collar is 20 cm tall, which seems like a lot for me, so I might cut it down to 10 or 15 cm, which should gain me length on the bottom.


  1. The shawl is really nice, I think that yarn color will go great as a shawl!!!! Argh, you're a professional writer, eh? Then be warned, I mis-spell a lot. (I had taken shorthand in high school, and since, my spelling has been flubbed!)

  2. The pattern looks wonderful, and you've sure put a lot of thought in it! What could go wrong?

    What a lovely friend and a great skein of wool! :)