Monday, May 03, 2010

More lace

So here's my next Lace Folly.  This is the end of Clue 1 in the Evenstar Mystery Shawl KAL, by Susan Pandorf.  Why on earth I thought signing up for a Mystery Shawl KAL for another circular shawl was a good idea, I may never know.  I mean, the original one only took 2 years, right?  Why not?

This one is different, though.  This one is LOTR themed, which = cool and it appeals to my inner (and outer) geek.  Evenstar.  It is a KAL ( Knit-A-Long), so there are lots of other folks out there involved and there's a whole group of people to talk to about it as we go.  The Sock Scarefest was a fun KAL, so I thought this one might be, too.  It is a mystery shawl, so the designer sends out the next chart every two weeks.  I'm all about mysteries.

As you can see, lots of motivation to give it a try.  So, I signed up.  This KAL actually spurred on the finish of the Pi.  I wouldn't let myself start this shawl until the other one was done.  So, that worked well for me.  Then I decided to splurge on the recommended yarn from The Unique Sheep, Eos laceweight.  Then I decided to not only try their gradience colors, but I ordered a custom colorway.  That part worked out really well.  I love the colors and Kelly (at TUS) liked it so much, she says they might add it as a permanent choice and call it Midnight Special.  The colors may not show well, so it runs from a rather bright denim-ish blue (in back) to a very lovely purple (up front).  

The part that didn't work well?  Oh, that would be the backorder on the yarn because so many people ordered it.  There are 1000 people in this KAL, though not all of them are probably KAL-ing along right now.  Not all of them ordered the recommended yarn, either, but enough of them did so that they had to re-stock before the KAL kicked off.  Even so, there were quite a number of us who were waiting on their yarn and didn't get to start with everyone else.

I put the time to good use.  That's when I was finishing the edging and doing repairs on my Pi.  Now, the last clue (#7) comes out this week, and I'm still on Clue 2.  I'm feeling pretty optimistic, however.  There were a number of clever people in this KAL who started knitting before the ink was dry on the copies of the charts/written instructions.  They have sorted out the (very few) problems, and have posted helpful links and tips on how to manage some very tricky stitches.  Additionally, there are some lovely people who are obsessively (I say this with love and understanding) symmetrical who worked out some alternate stitches to adjust the way some motifs leaned in the lace.  You know, so the leaves are balanced, etc.  These were optional, of course, but with the side-by-side photos available to browse while waiting on my yarn, I was able to decide what I liked best and make notes on my charts where I wanted to do something different.

As a result of this incredibly well-planned approach to this shawl (comparing to the first Pi), this baby is soooooooooooooo easy.  I mean, there are some stitches that are challenging for me, make no mistake, but the challenge now is fitting my needle in the stitch to do a kfb7 - k3tog without dropping 6 stitches as I make the last (7th) one, not in figuring out what the heck it is.  I did have to rip everything out. Twice.  That was totally me with some dropped stitches and I wanted another go at it from the beginning to try to avoid ladders.  Then I ripped part of the 1st clue three times as I kept dropping blasted stitches in the same stinking row, and I'm pretty sure in the same stinking place. 

I finally made it, however, and in the process decided to change needle size as well.  I have to say, I LOVE this yarn!  The pattern is beautiful, and I cannot wait to see how this turns out.  My dear friends who are LOTR GEEKS are going to love it, too, but you'll have to settle for pictures.  This puppy is mine!  So, naturally, I signed up for her entire LOTR series of patterns.  sigh  Because my obsession is completing a series.  I don't have to knit them all, but I do have to have the patterns in my collection.

My obsessive collecting is also leaking over into my video life.  Again.  I've tried to avoid it for a while now, but I finally splurged on some DVDs to complete one series collection I've been dragging on.  It is tough to justify because the kids can't watch it with me, so I've fallen behind on watching it.  But. I. Must. Have. It.  So, since we got our tax money in, and Himself spent some on music for himself (heh, Himself/himself), I figured I could do the same, even if I don't get to watch them all as they come in.  Of course, there are other series out there that I also "need", but so far, I'm feeling pretty good about just having the one done.

School is going well, but a bit slow.  We are so far behind in math we will be doing it all summer.  The up side of that is that I think if she had a summer off, she'd forget everything she managed to learn this year.  So, perhaps the summer-long work on math will help her be/stay prepared for the next school year.  We are signing up to do this again next year, and I am still undecided about the youngest joining us.  She's all for it, but I'm not sure it will work with her.  I'm taking the summer to decide.  Other classes, though, are going well and are more or less on target for completion at the right date.  You know, assuming she doesn't just totally drag her feet.  One recent stroke of luck for us was the volcano in Iceland blowing right when we started in on plate techtonics and volcanoes.  Thanks Iceland!  I was happy, however, that we made it through the earthquake chapter without any personal demonstrations.

Ah well, now.  Back to school!


Michelle said...

I'm a big fan of continuing homeschool through the summer, albeit less intensively, for the very reason you gave. Ask any school teacher and they will tell you that the first weeks/months of a new school year are spent bringing everyone back up to speed on the stuff they learned the year before, before they can proceed.

Michele / akkasha said...

That looks like it will be beautiful! I admire you taking on another circular shawl.

I love the Gradient yarns. I ordered the red to purple ones for some socks. (Didn't care for the ones in the 7 Deadly Spins mailing so I gave them to my sister in law.) The colors you got look stunning. Yummy!

Jamie said...

Michelle -

You make a good point. I know some of the teachers who 'loop' classes (teach the same group of kids for two grades in a row) love it because they know exactly where everyone was on the last day, and they spend much less time trying to bring them back up to speed. Of course, they also know the kids, which also helps.

I'm certain that doing math all summer will be miserable for me (because she hates it SO much), but it will be a really good thing for her. Maybe someday, when she's 30-ish, she'll remember and be glad we did it. I don't think I'll be looking for a 'thank you,' though. :)

Michelle said...

Yeah, parenting is a thankless job. It would be SO much easier to put Brian in school, because he butts heads with me almost every day on schoolwork (he is a very strong-willed boy!). But I homeschool because I think it is the best option for HIM, not ME. I do see progress, though, in schoolwork and violin practice; I gotta keep reminding myself of that!

Daisy said...

That's hilarious, I can't believe there was such a run on the yarn that they had to back order it!