Friday, August 11, 2006

Conserving My Energy

I haven't worked on DH's sock in a few days. I think it might be because I am planning to knit more or less nonstop for approximately 24 hours, beginning this evening, and I want to be completely fresh for the marathon.

It's just a theory.

DH's grandmother died, you see. With all of the travel issues, and our need to keep things calm on the homefront before our honeymoon next month, we decided that just DH would fly out for the memorial, and I'd stay home with the dog, keep an eye on things and all of that. He is coming back tomorrow night.

I have to confess, I don't do well emotionally when he is away. I probably do less well when I am away, and he is home. When I am at home, I just worry. When I am away, I worry and also become peevish. Not good. In either case knitting is, if not the cure, at least a very good homeopathic type remedy.

I ended up frogging the Snowdrop Shawl. I don't think the yarn was quite right for it (needs something more gossamer), and I probably wasn't fully ready to do a relatively detailed lace pattern and increases at the same time. Instead, I am using the same yarn for the Garter Lace Shawl from Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, by Martha Waterman (Interweave Press).

It will be pretty and satisfying to make, and hopefully give me a good foundation from which to move on to more complicated lace shawls. It is triangular, so I can gain experience doing increases with a simpler lace pattern.

The book is pretty good; I picked it up at the library last weekend. Waterman gives a lot of interesting detail on the history of making shawls, and includes useful tips, like how many stitches you should have on the needles if you're going to knit in the round on circulars. First time I had ever seen a list like that, and it is a great thing to have. She also tells you about the different ways shawls can be constructed, in a way that I found very clear, and easy to picture (I am very visual; I would have a hard time knitting something and being unable to see how it would evolve into the finish product).

I wasn't super thrilled with the shawl patterns, though. She doesn't chart most of them and gives the yarn requirements in ounces, rather than meters or yards. I suppose that doesn't matter too much, as the patterns generally did not appeal to me, the two exceptions being the Garter Lace that I am working on, and The Children of Lir. Lir is really beautiful and intricate looking (even though it uses only one lace stitch pattern, and a seed stitch border).

Whatever its shortcomings (which truly aren't that many or serious), the book is worth picking up, even buying, for the stitch library. It doesn't include every lace stitch ever invented, but they are all good ones (certainly enough to inspire you and get you started on just about any shawl you would want to make). Unlike the shawl patterns, the stitches include both written instructions and charts.

I am concerned about being able to knit on the honeymoon. Obviously, I am concerned about terrorist threats as well, but that seems more remote to me than being told to drop my knitting in the bin at the security checkpoint, and never seeing it again. If I don't knit.... I don't know what else I will do for 10+ hours (because I never sleep on planes).

Initially, I had wanted to fly through Heathrow and Gatwick, thinking that changing planes and going through customs would be easier in an English-speaking country. Now I am rather wishing we were going through Frankfurt instead.

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