Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rock Island

I have been in love with the Rock Island pattern FOREVER! I was a little intimidated starting this project from all I had read on the project notes. Since I wanted to make sure that I completed it in 2012, I needed to give myself enough time to take a break from the intense 2 sided lace. Thankfully, this is a project knit from the bottom up, so it will only go faster and faster as I make progress.

I used Grinning Gargoyle shimmer lace (104 g to start) and size 6 knitting needles.  I had 41 g left in the end which means that I consumed 63 g, ~550 yards. 

The first of many repeats.

First comes the lace border, which is knit sideways... A repeat of ~70 times! I know I will obsessively count this multiple times... The two sided chart is a little hard to follow since the symbols have different meanings on the RS and WS. I therefore added colored dashes to each stitch on the chart to help me keep track of SSK and K2tog without needing to check if I'm on RS or WS.

I'm having issues with this yarn. It is soft, and the color is great... but the Stellina has many breaks in it and they are sticking out. This is driving me crazy. Ultimately I don't think anyone else would even notice... I just may need to think twice about using stellina yarns in lace projects in the future.  (Update:  by the time I had finished the shawl the breaks in the stellina had stopped bothering me.  I suppose it was just something that took some getting used to.  
The border. Oh the border. 70+ repeats of an 8 row double sided lace. The pattern isnt' hard to follow (especially after I color coded it!) but it is just taking forever. I need to stop counting every couple of repeats, because it seems like I'm making no progress. (I should add that this isn't painful, but requires attention.)  Halfway through the border I decided that it may be prudent to insert a lifeline.  My first lifeline is inserted after 37 edge repeats.  This is really serving more as a counting marker than as a lifeline (I doubt I'd rip back 10 repeats!)  Second after 50 repeats.   Third after 60.  The end is in sight!  The second half of these repeats are going much faster than the first half.

I checked both edges of the border to make sure they were still ~ the same size. 
85 g remain after the border is complete.  I blocked out both ends of the border just to make sure that my bind off edge is as stretchy as the cast on.  It looks pretty good!

Putting in the lifelines when I did ended up being somewhere serendipitous.  It was easy for me to figure out where the middle repeat (#36) was so when I was picking up stitches I had some good benchmarks.
Success!  just enough stitches!

I used centered double decreases (S2tog, K1, Psso) instead of the SK2P used in the pattern ONLY for the center most stitch.  I followed the rest of the directions exactly.    Maybe this was a mistake, as it draws more attention to the center... but given that the of the shaw is designed pretty symmetrical I wanted to be consistent.  

As advised by others on Raverly, I inserted a safety line before beginning the 24 lace rows.  Many people have needed to rip back to start this section over again, and I want to make sure that my new simple garter rows are protected.  I counted my sts and I have 135 before marker, 136 on the other. Perfect yet again!

Once you've colorcoded the chart it really isn't a big deal at all.  The stitch pattern is essentially a 6 st repeat over 4 rows, where each RS and WS row are shifted versions of each other. Once I finished the chart I could have counted the stitches again, but I really didn't feel like it.    The pattern had lined up all the way around so therefore I should have the correct number of stitches.  If not... I'll make do during the garter stitch rounds.

I kept a very careful count of the yarn remaining after each step because I was paranoid of making the yardage cutoff for a large 12 in 2012 shawl.  78 g remaining after the garter stitch round. 65 g remain after the rock island chart. 56 g remain after 24 garter stitch rows. 49 g remain after 48 garter stitch rows.   And 41 g remain after the shawl has been bound off.  I DID IT!  EXACTLY 63 g consumed!

I decided to weave in loose ends after blocking so that the ends would not pull in any unfortunate places. I wet blocked the shawl (soaking for 30 min prior to pinning out.)  I aggressively pinned out the shawl, which meant that I had to weigh down the center with a book! 


As usual, Indy was a little too interested in what I was doing while I was pinning out the shawl. Thankfully, he knows he is NOT ALLOWED on the blocking mats.  

I LOVE the way this shawl came out, but I think that if I were to make it again I would finish it in a crescent shape rather than a triangle.  It is easier to adjust the yardage and length as you go when you are knitting the whole top seam (plus it is easier to pin out a crescent.) 

11 shawls in 2012 have been completed!  At the time of writing this post I am half way through #12.  (The post for that shawl will be published in early 2013.)  It looks like I'm going to make it!  Time to start planning out next year's shawl adventures.