Thursday, June 14, 2007

Observations, Upon Reaching a Lace Milestone

Ladies and gentlemen, the final row of the christening shawl center is complete.

A round of plain stockinette should not take a full week, but this one did. Hey, I've been busy. I had company, I got a new job, "South Park" was on, the sun was in my eyes, Dolores and Victorine are sewing costumes in the living room and Harry choked on a bugle bead, there are nine hundred unread e-mails in my box...you know, the usual.

As I prepare to begin the edging, it seems appropriate to pause and commit to electronic immortality the lessons I have learned while working the center square and borders.
  1. Knitting swatches is vital to the success of a lace project.
  2. Knitting swatches is a waste of time, because swatches fucking lie.
  3. Do not knit from the center of a center-pull ball of laceweight. It will snarl beyond rescue, and you will attempt to kill the next person you see.
  4. You can never use too many stitch markers.
  5. Keep your work-in-progress away from colored liquids, Velcro, curious toddlers, grabby old women, chocolate, spring rain, airport security, zippers, smokers, and the rear deltoid machine at the gym.
  6. Ted was right. Don't count rows, count pattern repeats. If you count rows, you will stop knitting entirely and stare out the window at all the people walking by who are not knitting lace, and try to imagine a time when you, too, will not be knitting lace, and decide this time will never come, and consider stabbing yourself with both ends of your Addi Turbo.
  7. The road to Hell is paved with nupps.
  8. At some point, you will be tempted to just bind off and call it a doily.
  9. If you set about counting a round of 840 stitches without first clearing the room of friends and family, go ahead and call the ambulance first. It will save time later on.
  10. A large lace project will teach you that you are much more of an idiot, and far more clever, than you ever suspected.

78 comments:

geekprincess said...

Lace knitting ending and a new job?
Lace knitting ending and a new job!

Type on this entry should be in red! :)

laceweight + center pull ball = ax murder...

(Details on the new job would be lovely, too.)

Marsha Brofka-Berends said...

Congratulations on completing the center of the shawl, starting a new job, and everything else that's good in your life.

And thanks for the tips. I've yet to undertake lace knitting, but I sure feel more prepared for it now!

Elisabeth said...

Saddly, I've already learned number three the hard way. I fear that project may never be finished.

Jax said...

And do you really think you can casually drop a reference to a new job and not get pestered for all the details?

Helen said...

I don't remember reading about a four-poster bed, let alone a new job ...

Anna-Liza said...

WTF, a new job? I knew you were a tease, my boy, but that is just cruel.

Tell, tell tell!!!

(Congratulations on the lace. Now I'm scared to start some, but that's probably just as well).

~laurie said...

Yay for you 'Frank' ( i see your visitor called you that..in my mind you are Franklin still :P )
You must feel like you've climbed a lace mountain!
You like opera? have you seen this utube?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0dzZTPWrSM

It's incredible

As always, i love how your writing is true.

Sneaksleep said...

I am sooo glad the lace shawl I'm knitting is really a rectangular stole. There may be more rows, but at least none of them is 900 stitches long!

I, too, am dying to hear about the new job!!

Another other mother said...

I can't think of anyone more deserving of a new job, with the possible exception of Dubya. Congrats. (Oh, wait, it's all of us who deserve a new job for Dubya.)

Kristen said...

"Woo hoo--congratulations!" says she who has never managed to finish a lace project that wasn't a dishcloth.

MonicaPDX said...

I swear, I shall never, ever, ever knit lace around curious toddlers or grabby old women. Which latter may be difficult, as I'm well on my way to becoming a grabby old woman. Congrats on ending the center! Is this anything like contemplating a mandala???

And yowsa, poor David; but it sounds like you took good care of him once you got hold of him. [g]

You got a new job?!?? GIVE! *kof* Please? ;)

Leslie said...

I assume Dolores broke the old bed (accounting for the new one) and admire your tact in not putting forth the details.

A new job? Tease!!! You know we need to know a at least a little about that.

I seriously didn't know about center pull ball and laceweight, although I doubt that's the problem I have knitting with a cobweb.

Congrats on all the accomplishments and on foiling murder by Addi.

Michelene said...

Were the grabby old woman hanging around the rear-deltoid machine at the gym? If so, I'd like to introduce them to some gawking old geezers who hang out at my gym. I swear I'm going to put googly eys on my workout shirts.

Daphne said...

Woohoo! New job! Congrats.

margaretex said...

Well, I have remembered the cryptic remark about the meeting with the bosses and how you never followed up on it. It has been nagging at me since and I knew at some point you'd make a reference that would clarify the situation. You have. I want to hear all about it.

I have learned some of your points from my daughter, Jen, because I'm too wussy to start a lace project.

Congratulations on your new situation and the new "company" and your entire life. I look forward to meeting you at SM (that's Stitches Midwest, thanks)

Margaret from Tex

Eileen said...

What new job?

Elizabeth said...

New job? Thought you'd just sneak that one past us, huh? Like we wouldn't notice?

carla said...

Congrats on the lace and on the job! I just ordered yarn for two Glencora-like projects today.

Carol said...

What's that? Don't pull from the center of a pull ball? Gee, wish I had said that.

Hey, wait, I did!

Judy in Indiana said...

How wonderful that you knitted one shawl. It will be a great family heirloom when passed to the next niece or nephew.

Nerdy Knitter said...

NEW JOB?! Where are the details?

We'd love to see the completed shawl--I'm sure it's going to be breathtakingly gorgeous.

Congratulations on completing a bunch of life stages!

--Judy

no-blog-rachel said...

Oh nice. New job, visitor, near-death-experience-with-a-bugle-bead and you leave us hanging? Thanks.

I'm in the midst of my first real lace experience and would only add that if you're knitting with cobweb-weight yarn, put on glasses whether you wear them or not. You'll need them by the time the project is over (if not by the end of the 3rd row).

Congrats on the lace!

Aidan said...

Yonkele! Congrats on the new job! I hope it brings you closer to nirvana.

I'm afraid to ask -- is it in Chicago?

I shall cry.

Anonymous said...

even with out the pictures, i am SO proud of you...plus i know the pictures are comming soon to a blog near you
marie in florida

Nancy said...

OOOO -- so anxious I am to see your gorgeeous lace (before you send it off and with then with baby!) A new job! How exciting!!!

BigAlice said...

Congratulations! Both on the shawl and the new job! And best of luck with the borders and the new employment.

Cherice said...

New job? Congrats!

#3 is painfully true. Not so long ago I threw a skein and project still on needles across the room and swore like a sailor to my husband ("Throw the damn stuff out, it's not worth it!!") Bless him, he sat for the rest of the evening picking out the knots and rewound the ball and told me I wasn't to touch it until my demeanor was a little nicer (the yarn is still in its baggie untouched).

I agree with you on the nupps too. Shoot, I agree with you on all the points.

JoVE said...

A new job? Is it promising?

And that bit about no such thing as too many markers also saves you from the one involving counting 840 stitches.

Anonymous said...

Do not knit from the center of a center-pull ball of laceweight. It will snarl beyond rescue, and you will attempt to kill the next person you see.

This was the very first lesson I learned about lace knitting. :-( Well, right after learning that I couldn't be relied on to count to five consistently....
Sherri

Lee Ann said...

So I can forgive you for not wishing me a happy birthday then, if you done went out and got a new job that isn't soul-sucking and horrible. I'm thrilled for you.

Clever idiots are the best kind. Idiotic clever people, however...

:-)

You did NOT count the rows. Please tell me you did not count the rows. Ouch.

Angela said...

So, when are you starting your next lace project?!

The Illustrious Ms E said...

Thanks for the tip about not pulling from the center of the ball with lace-weight yarn...I'm about to start my first lace item (a simple tunic), and I would have done that automatically...

Faith! said...

Holla that to the nupps comment. Gee wiz, I mean, they look fantastic, but man are they tiresome.

Midsummer night's knitter said...

I bet there's some kind of lace-related koan.
India

Ted said...

Knitting swatches don't lie. They just don't behave the way you think they should. But that's why you work them.

I'm sure there's some huge spiritual lesson in that, somewhere.

Riin said...

New job? Spill it, dude.

I've never understood the whole center pull concept. I knit from the outside so it doesn't collapse on itself halfway-through. I mean, really, what's supposed to support a half-knitted ball of yarn if you've pulled the yarn from the center? You're just asking for a snarl. Knit from the outside, and the ball just gets smaller but doesn't collapse. (I knit for years before I even realized that other people knit from the center.)

LaurieM said...

LOL!!! Loved the list. Only you could make the pain feel so good! ;-)

LaurieM said...

Sneak. The new job thing totally slipped past me.

Pink said...

What? The lace is complete and there's no pictures...what's up??

Thanks for the link to nupps, btw, they look like something suitable to focus my OCD on...

Windsornot said...

Okay, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who picked up on the new job thing. I kept looking at recent posts thinking, "Did I miss something?" Evidentally, I wasn't the only one! Spill, baby!

And while you are at it, I'm job searching too (first big one after the SAHM years), so send some good job vibes this way! :-)

Laritza said...

You certainly made me laugh! Every single one of them is true as can be! ask me how I know!

Jen said...

Wow congrats on new job, can't wait to hear more. And this whole list made me laugh. Fair warning for my inevitable eventual descent into lace. RE: counting stitches -- I read the section from the Yarn Harlot's book on not being interrupted when counting stitches and now my husband always says "The dryer's on fire!" when he hears me counting.

Also good to know not to pull lace yarn from the center. For the person who asked why you would ever pull from the center -- for non-lace, where you want the yarn to be fully relaxed, pulling the yarn from the center helps the yarn to further relax as it squooshes into the center. Also it doesn't roll around when you pull more out. Works great for sock yarn.

Camille said...

Tea - keep your lace away from your tea, particularly if you take sugar in it!

My lace has survived sugared tea (only just), velcro, university, camping, grass seeds from camping, my cat and grabby toddlers, teenages and old people, and a centrepull ball.

It's still only halfway there

Mel said...

Um, yeah, new job. Details, please.

lizbon said...

Congrats on the new job - and what it is about NYC to Chicago or Chicago to NYC that seems to lure all the air travel gremlins out to play hell with our plans? I mean, in theory it's a painless 2 hr. flight, but it almost never seems to go that way...

OceanKnitter said...

For your next lace project, try the new Addi Lace needles -- much pointier, sharper, and more dangerous.

ambermoggie said...

Well done Franklin, I knew you had it in you:)
And what new job? Enquiring minds need to know

Carol said...

Congratulations and bravo on the advice. Please say the new job has something to do with a book.

Sean said...

NEW JOB!! NEW JOB??!! I hope this brings as much mental relief as I suspect it will. And I hope it is a rewarding persuit!

And what a milestone — finishing a lace shawl. Bravo!

Yarngineer said...

Amen to #3! I have often questioned the wisdom of always working from a center pull. Can't stand the resulting yarn barf and expletives.

I love #2 and #10 too. :) The muggles just don't understand our sense of pride and accomplishment in *finishing* a challenging project.

One Sock Short said...

New job! Details, Franklin, details!

Please say it's in Chicago. I'll be terribly disappointed to find out that I'm moving to Chicago but I won't get to meet you.

Linda

Anonymous said...

Dude! You got a new job? I hope it's a zillion times better. Now dish! (See, the news pulled me out of lurkdom.)

Morandia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morandia said...

#7... so true! After the swallowtail shawl, I'm looking to trade my lily-of-the-valley pattern for ANYTHING!!!

Great list and HURRAY on the job!!!

Denise in Kent, WA said...

I disagree completely with #4, but the rest of the list had me in stitches (no pun intended). Congratulations on the shawl milestone!

P.S. Looking forward to reading the scoop on your new job.

Miss Scarlett said...

As I begin my 1st lace project I appreciate your honest lessons learned!
Although I think I already knew the truth about swatches, the bastards.
Can't wait to see a pic of your shawl.

dale-harriet said...

OK - regarding the new job, think the 5 Ws: who what where when why?
ALL o' us inkwiring minds need to know. You realize too, do you not, we're perched white-knuckled at our keyboards waiting to see pictures of the lace? It'll inspire some of us to try knitting lace - and the rest to return to the comfort of our warshrags...

farm-witch said...

Franklin, you're a really smart man and so I think I'll take your expertise to heart and save risking myself to the lace grief.

kmkat said...

The rear deltoid machine at the gym? I shudder...

New job: all the gory details, please.

Sarah said...

Great list! You are a very wise person -- like one of those yogis sitting on a mountaintop, but with lace. :)

Laura Sue said...

Ahem. A new job?

MaryB said...

Have I mentioned how much I love reading your blog? I may have, but in the event I have not, let me just say, I love reading your blog. I love it when you leave your posts up for a day or two. I love to come back and re-read them. "Just bind off and call it a doily" was the total crack-up line for me this time. But it was all the fun leading up to it, and following, that I also truly enjoy. Thanks, thanks, thanks for another wonderful read. MaryB

kberry said...

I thought I was the only one with the nupp issue!

I have one to add to your list: keep you knitting away from large breed puppies. At 13 weeks they are tall enough to reach your lap without leaving the floor.

Which would be why I have gotten exactly 4 rows of the mohair lace done in the last month.

Sigh.

www.knittingnutter.com said...

Thanks for the list of lessons learned - really helpful as I'm in the middle of my first shawl project.

FiberQat said...

So does the new job have anything to do with Stitches Midwest? Not that we're curious or anything. But it would be wonderful if it was fiber related. I'm glad you're free of the JFH.

Yep. Pattern repeats, not rows. Especially when you're working on 500 plus stitches.

Kathleen said...

Whoa, whoa! Back up the horse! New JOB? Spill.

Jen said...

Oh, Franklin. Raising my needles to you in solidarity...got some lace going on over here, chock full o'nupps. (And hey, where did you sneak the nupps in, anyway? I don't remember them being part of your original plan...)

Knit on, brother.

Carol said...

Yessir - I totally lost it on "The road to hell is paved with nupps"

I want that put on my headstone. Nupps are only on every third entrelac rectangle of the(otherwise quite lovely) Forest Path Stole. I'd cringe as I started each and every one of those rectangles. I guess I finally learned enough to LOOSELY add those stitches on the prior row, but I still did an ecstatic jig when the final nupp was done.

Good luck on the edging.

Jamie said...

I have not yet tried a large lace knitting project, but reading your entries is both petrifying and educational. Today I learned about nupps! (thank you for providing the click through - these tiny things mean so much to me!) congrats on the new job!!!

CynCyn said...

you have too many comments for me to see if someone has already suggested the addi lace turbos for your lace knitting. It makes the nupp-ing SO MUCH MORE pleasant. I hated the nupps. i was cursing Nancy Bush for making such beautiful Estonian lace patterns that I wanted to re-create but was getting hand cramps from dealing with all those effing nupps. Seriously. They make nupps almost enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Your lace knitting rules are exactly correct, though I am sure the list itself is a work in progress. Thanks very much for your blog; it is a pleasure to read.

Twilight said...

I think I would have gone crazy knitting all that lace.

Jane Prater said...

Absolutely true--but so well said. That comment alone should get you not just a job, but an advance for your next (first?) book.

nessagr said...

Congratulations- it must feel soooo good to be done! And it will feel even better to see it used :)

Dr. Steph said...

You are a wise man. Nupps are a tool of satan.

Yvonne said...

I laughed so hard at your list. Thanks for the warning, because I am about to unleash the monster under the bed...that is, the laceweight stash. Mother help us.

Eileen said...

"Bind off and call it a doily" just cracked me up!

I always have to stock up on stichmarkers when I knit lace, different colors and I need a chart just to remember what they are there to remind me of.

contactos en valencia said...

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