Topanga is particularly lovely during the spring and early summer months as the mountain is covered with pretty wildflowers. These flowers are a pretty shade of grayish blue that I think tones well with my current yarn (Blue Sky Alpaca Royal "primrose"). I hope they are still in bloom by the time I'm finished! I also hope not to hear from any botanists telling me they are actually a weed. The royal alpaca is heavenly to knit with - sigh - and I can see more alpaca projects in my future.
I'm currently knitting the Swallowtail Shawl (free pattern link). For those of you unfamiliar with this shawl it has the distinction of being voted one of the top 5 patterns from Interweave Magazine (Spring 2008). High praise indeed and well deserved (mostly - LOL). I really loved this design, until I came to the nubbs. Weep, weep. Now I'm sorry I chose this pattern because I have found the P5Together stitch at best awkward and at worst downright painful! It is an ill conceived stitch that is only mildly ameliorated by executing a slip 2 P3Together instead. To my horror and dismay I've actually had the nubbs unravel before my eyes requiring me to tink back to reconstruct the original nubb a row back. And yes, I've tried forming the nubbs loosely but I don't care for the sloppy appearance of the stitch formed that way. But now I'm nearly through with the nubbs and it's smooth sailing from here on out.
Lace knitting is a nice skill to have whether you want a full lace shawl or just a small motif to set off a hat, sock, or sweater pattern. By in large you will find that lace stitches are simple to execute (mostly - LOL) and give stunning results. And seeing that I'm currently in the middle of a lace knitting project Mr Puffy suggested that this would be a good time to share one of my lace knitting tips. This lace knitting tip is geared toward the new and/or aspiring lace knitter. So, if that includes you, pour yourself a cup of tea and read on.
Knitting Tip #4. Knitting Lace - Read Your Resting Row Stitches
As a preface I want to define two terms.
1) Pattern Row. The pattern row is the row where you are following detailed instructions to perform various knitting stitches such as increases and decreases. This is also known as the "right side" of your knitting.
2) Resting Row. The resting row is where you purl all stitches across. This is also known as the "wrong side" of your knitting.
Generally, with most lace knitting projects, you alternate between a pattern row and a resting row.
With that preface here's a lace knitting tip: always read your stitches as you purl across a resting row. By this I mean you need to mentally track in reverse the pattern row you just knit and confirm as you purl across the resting row that all your increases and decreases are correctly placed. This is a great double check on your knitting and provides you with an early detection method to catch any errors that might have occurred on the pattern row you just completed.
I think is is also helpful to know that when knitting lace most mistakes are the result of either forgetting to make a yarnover increase (YouTube Video link showing how to create a yarnover increase) or making a yarnover increase where it doesn't belong. On the resting ("purl") row it is very easy to correct this mistake by either adding a yarnover or dropping a yarnover as you come upon the mistake.
This knitting tip does require a fair bit of concentration as you purl across the "resting" row. I want to emphasis that lace knitting is a skill that gets easier the more you do it. I also think that the mental exercise is a good thing as I consider knitting a pivotal part of my Alzheimer prevention program. I thought I was alone in this view of knitting and so I was amused the other day to see that Channon of Chan Knits similarly views knitting as part of her AZ prevention program. It certainly can't hurt.
Now that everything about knitting lace is as clear as mud, I think we could use a tea break! Here at Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog we primarily talk about afternoon tea and by that I mean a tea time where you sit down with a tea tray and enjoy a relaxing break in your day along with something to nibble on. But I like to drink tea all day long and I start every morning with a pot of tea. This morning I'm drinking French Blend which is a custom Lavender Lounge tea from San Clemente, California. It is a black tea with floral undertones that I would describe as a complex earl grey tea. In the picture below you can see that it has a variety of flowers petals mixed in with the black tea. Unlike most black teas I like to drink this tea without any milk or lemon added.
Have a great weekend everyone and be sure to take time to enjoy a cup of tea!