Saturday, 10 May 2014

Short-rowing a Mitred Shawl Corner


This is the Studio desk. The worn office chair needs a new cover and the eagle-eyed among you will notice Mary Thomas' key to the charting symbols of Paired Ornamental Decreases photocopied and sellotaped* at eyeball level.
Chart symbols, stitch-markers and a place to sit and work in the sun have consumed my life lately. This window space has largely worked as it is out of the wind.

Just to make my life even more intense I have been reading (again) Margaret Stove's "Wrapped In Lace" book.  This time around I can make sense of the technicalities. The first time reading it was so SCARY. 

It's because I have discovered lace-knitting.

I can divide my adult life between Before Having Children and After Having Children. Within those sub-sets are further divisions.
 I can now add "Before I Knew About YO K2TOG" and "After I Knew About YO K2TOG". These rate with "Before I had The Courage To Audition For Choirs" and "After" and "Before I Learned How To Clear Drains" and "Now".

Rounding a bend on the edge.
I am finding it all captivating and infuriating in equal measures. 

What you see here is a project which will teach me how to knit lace once and for all.

I have dived in.

No more hovering around lace inserts on jerseys or simple edges...this is it. Learn it or Leave it.

So, I am knitting a self-designed square shawl...and I am deliberately leaving the mistakes in so that I can keep moving on with it. I only rip back if I have made a mistake that is easy or worthy of re-knitting. 

It's a test-studio piece, a prototype.

I have already finalised what I do not like about it and what I am delighted with. I have learned that charting can be infuriatingly non-symmetrical and not everyone uses the same symbols. 

I have settled on a "Less is More" policy for design elements in a shawl; three are enough to tell your story, the airiness or denseness  of the stitch work is the only other element.

I used black bulb pins as stitch markers.
I adore the scale pattern I am using for the edge. It has a slight bias drape to it and the pattern folds nicely on itself at the corners.

Scale Pattern is perfect for a Mitred Corner as it is easily followed while knitting short-rows for the 45degree angled bend.  
Mitred corners were a very scary thing in lace knitting for me. This scale pattern is simple and once that pattern is in your head you can switch to short-rowing for the corners very easily.
That was one of the wonders I beheld this week...that a mitred shawl corner is actually a flat one-dimensional mitred sock heel. In other words, if you can knit a sock, you can knit a shawl.

Use a long stitch-holder like these and pass each non-worked stitch onto it before you turn your work. The rows get shorter and shorter until you are at one single stitch. Then re-build the depth of the edging by adding the saved stitches one at a time for each row until you have the full complement of stitches and rows back.
The picket fence look near the border will be gone in the next shawl.
The next shawl (yes) will be The Real Shawl.

So, you need to understand that this is the shawl for learning on. It has an L-plate on it.

The next shawl is the important one.

I have driven out to Waitakere Alpaca to collect the yarn and will start once this is finished and blocked.

Isla waiting for the postman.
Isla has settled. She still makes a huge fuss around motor-bikes because they remind her of her previous life on the farm. She desperately wants to run after ALL the bikes. As our postman does his mail run on a bike, we have a daily watch for him at the merest sound of an engine hum.
She is a noble gentle soul and looks after me and Chris just as a Collie ought to.

Be happy

Knit boldly and bravely

Fiona MacBride

*Sellotape is a British thing.

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