I Should Have Swatched!
I haven't been able to do much knitting since I last posted but I did start Birch in Kid Silk Haze from Rowan 34 shown below.
As you can probably see, initially a LOT of loops are on the needles because the total cast on is 299 stitches! This is followed by gradual decreases until only three stitches are left for casting off. Umm, won't have to worry about the cast off being too tight then!
I apologise for the fact that it's done in exactly the same colourway as the River I knitted (Dewberry) but that's because I mistakenly asked DH to buy three balls of KSH for River (instead of two) and, as I planned to knit Birch as well, I thought it easier just to buy another two balls and do both in the same colourway rather than return the extra ball. Either River or Birch is destined to become a gift anyway but I must admit I'm now getting a bit bored with knitting the same colour. Here's a close up showing the stitch pattern.
The bad news (at least for me) is that I'm going to have to frog the whole thing and start again. You see, I should have swatched! The pattern states that there should be 20 sts and 32 rows to 10cms but I have only 16 sts and 23.5 rows to 10cms. As blocking increases the size, I think I'm in danger of ending up with a garment that will fit my 6 feet 7 inches tall DH rather than me (except I'm sure he probably wouldn't wear it!) The positive side to this sort of thing, as I often remind myself, is that I will learn from it ... hopefully. Any lace knitting gurus reading this blog are welcome to offer advice in the comments section on whether I should next try 4.5mm or 4mm needles! :-)
When knitting Birch initially I kept losing concentration and had to count back from the beginning of the row to ascertain what I should be doing next in the pattern sequence. None of the stitch markers I had were suitable as they were all too big and bulky, even the smallest ones. Then I managed to get some of these tiny elastic bands used for hair braiding from Claire's Accessories and they're great.
Thanks go to Anita of Roxy Knits for recommending these. They may be fantastic for braiding hair (I wouldn't know) but what I do know is that I can't recommend them highly enough as stitch markers!
There are lots of different colours and they come in packs of 100. I've started off with oranges, reds and yellows and blues and greens and another pack of just white ones. The different colours will be useful for some patterns. They are really easy to put on and remove from the needles and don't impede the knitting at all! Obviously, they haven't got a split in them so they can't be moved until you've knitted the loop next to them but that doesn't matter at all. There are ten stitches in each repeat in the pattern rows of Birch but those ten stitches don't stay in the same position because of the decreases at the side. It's no trouble at all to remove my "stitch markers" every wrong side row and then replace them in the right positions every pattern row and at least I don't have to count back from the beginning of every row when I lose track of what comes next!
However, Birch will be frogged and will eventually become Birch of the right gauge so watch this space!
I'm so enamoured with knitting lace that I've now acquired the book shown below left (Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller) and await delivery of the dressing wires (pictured below right), both from Heirloom Knitting.
Also, from Heirloom Knitting, I've ordered the pattern below for when I'm a little more experienced.
It's the Wedding Ring Shawl pattern. Isn't it just beautiful! It's a limited edition pattern (only 500 available) until 2010. I'm hoping (no, not hoping, planning) to knit it when I feel ready for the challenge . . . . . before 2010!