Thursday, March 02, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously--Oscar Wilde

A little enlightenment for those who were offended by Franklin's Knitting Olympics Gold Medal.

I am always happy to forgo good manners for the sake of educating fucktards.

Knitted Lace v. Lace Knitting
I'm writing this for my boy Franklin so that he doesn't have nightmares about big floating yarn-overs strangling him as he knits the Wedding Ring shawl. And for all the rest of you who might be having those nightmares too.

(Also, Kathy and Selma are whining that some of us write too much about spinning and weaving so now they can both have a nice cup of shut-the-fuck-up.)

Simply put, knitted lace has patterning on every row; lace knitting has a plain row, knit or purl, between the patterned rows.

Got that?

Most knitters with experience have done lace knitting to some degree. It's the knitted lace that makes cartooning, well-mannered gay men nervous. Along with the rest of us. Here's the pattern in the Melanie shawl that's lace knitting:

Very simple 6-stitch repeat that would be easy for most knitters new to lace. But then, pair this with knitted lace motifs and it's a whole different story.

You can see that the yarn-overs do not have the benefit of the plain row as the lace knitting yarn-overs do.

What makes knitted lace so much more difficult than lace knitting is not the first row but the second. In that, you must reverse the decreases so that k2tog becomes k2togB (or sl1, k1, psso or ssk) and vicey versey. Compound that with the occasional sl1, k2tog, psso and it's fuel for the dyslexic in all of us.

Here are the first two rows of the motif shown above:

Doesn't look that hard, does it? You knit row 1 as shown: K1, K2togB, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k1.

However, on the second row, two things happen. First, you must now read the symbols in reverse, beginning at the lefthand side of the chart. As it happens, the second row is executed exactly the same as row 1.

Second, you will now have to include a yarn-over in your decrease. This is what had me floored until I got it into my head that the yarn-over must not be twisted when incorporated into the decrease. It's easy to do that.

Just remember this and make it your mantra: With k2tog, the yo follows. With ssk (or k2 togB), the yo comes first.

There's been some talk back and forth, on the Heirloom Knitting list and on Katherine and Ted's Princess Diaries as to whether it really matters if you mirror the decreases or just say, "Fuck it" and make all decreases k2tog. This has not been resolved. On a garter-stitch shawl and in such fine yarn, perhaps not. Probably not. Once the shawl is dressed, the directional decreases may be moot.

I've opted to knit the Melanie shawl as charted. Because I can and because it seems to me that if directional decreases were not a relatively important component, then all knitted lace single decreases would be charted as k2tog.

So, Franklin, when you get back from Ft. Worth and you read this, I'm happy to hold your hand throughout the Wedding Ring project. And work that sample swatch over and over until your brain sends your hands the right messages.

Back to School
Well, I got the job as technical writer/editor. I start on Monday. Vacation's over.

I have mixed feelings about this, of course. On the one hand, I have enjoyed every minute of my vacation from adult life. I've gotten a lot written on the book, taught myself how to weave (barely), got a lot of spinning and knitting done and a lot of blogging, too.

On the other hand, one does need those health benefits. And it's never good to live off of one's capital.

That said, as of Monday I would imagine that I will be blogging about twice a week, as I did when I worked full-time. And that blogging will probably take place in the evening or on the weekend. Whatever.

Suffice it to say that after almost four years, I'm not about to stop writing the blog. So bear with me while I get back into the swing of things--it may take me a few days. I'm actually quite excited about the job. It suits my skills perfectly and I always enjoy technical writing and editing. God knows why but that's the talent I was born with and that's what I love to do.

If you don't do what you love, work is just that. Work.

But this fiber life is a rare and handy thing, and I love that too.

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