Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Labour of Love Part 2 - Lifelines and Keeping Track

I meant to publish this blog post a looong time ago, but as often happens, life got in the way.  So here is the second part of my post on what I learned whilst knitting the Princess Shawl.

I have previously blogged about using lifelines on the Princess Shawl.  I used a vertical lifeline whilst knitting the edging, which really helped when I came to pick up stitches for the border.  I didn’t use a vertical lifeline when knitting the border however, as these stitches are picked up individually as you knit the final edging and using the technique given in Heirloom Knitting, I found this easy to do.

In a project this extensive, it is imperative to keep track of where you are.  I used post-it notes to mark my position on charts and to keep track of row numbers.  One really simple tip I read on PrincessDiaries, is to put a post-it note above the row you are working on instead of below.  When I first read this, I didn’t see what difference this would make.  However, once I gave it a go, I realised that this enables you to not only see the row you are on, but those that have come before, thus allowing you to ensure your current stitches line up with those below.  In this way, I could always spot mistakes straight away as my stitches would not line up.  I did not use horizontal lifelines when knitting the Princess.  In fact, I never have when lace knitting.  Being an impatient knitter, I could never be bothered to put one in!  There were a couple of times where I did have to rip back, but never more than a row.  If I dropped stitches or made an error, I would sort out the problem in that area rather than ripping everything back.  I have become quite good at knitting surgery! I also used markers between each repeat on the feathered border so that I never had far to rip back.  I didn’t use markers on the centre as the row repeats were so small.

Towards the end of the project, I was knitting at least 2 – 3 hours a day exclusively on this (as well working full time of course!).  I had such an important and immovable deadline and as the date of my wedding loomed I was genuinely worried that I would not finish the shawl.  At this point, I did not particularly enjoy knitting on it and just wanted it to end!  My hands ached and my husband thought I was crazy for knitting so much.  In fact, during our wedding ceremony, he even vowed to always be there to rub my hands for me after too much knitting!  However, although I found it stressful having to knit this to a deadline, I do wonder that if I hadn't been making it for such an important occasion, whether I would have even finished it by now!

Looking back six months hence, I am still amazed every time I look at it and I feel so proud of what I accomplished.  However, I am really enjoying knitting whatever I choose to and the instant gratification of working on small projects.  I feel though that the experience has given me a huge amount of confidence in what I can achieve in knitting and that I have learned nearly all there is to know about lace knitting.  So I am ready to move on to new challenges and techniques.  From my current spate of projects, I think 2013 will be the year I master colourwork and stranded knitting.  Watch this space!

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