This weekend I’ve been given time off for good behavior—or so it seems. I finished a big assignment last week, and although my next one arrived at 5 PM on Friday and will be tough to complete by its deadline, I decided to ignore it and tackle a problem part of Bee Fields, weed a few rows in my garden, and do some modest cleaning.
The back neck edge of Bee Fields is far too demanding for nighttime knitting. It requires grafting the two halves of the shawl. The pattern tells you to leave a length of yarn for the graft, and to do this by starting with a provisional cast on.
When it is removed there are live stitches to be grafted. The one thing I wished I had done more carefully was to protect that length of yarn. It got quite a workout in my lap as I knitted away, and it began to get fuzzy. After I realized that, I made a tiny yarn butterfly and pinned it to the shawl, but I was still concerned that it would not stand up to any frogging. I had to get the graft right the first time.
There are two pitfalls for me. I often can’t undo a chain stitch so it unravels. I suspect this is some character flaw because I can’t always do it on sacks of flour or rice either. It is hit or miss, and when it is “miss”, I’m left with picking out bits of the crochet thread. That would have been a disaster on Bee Fields. In my mind’s eye, I could just see my work of three months unraveling before my eyes.
But it did work this time, and I manage to get the stitches lined up for the graft.
The Kitchener stitch unnerves me. The first time I did it was on socks intended for one of my son’s grade-school teachers. I was attempting to finish five teacher presents in about eight weeks, and I decided that a pair of socks with cables would be a perfect present. So I knitted away on my first sock project ever and saw the magic of a turned heel. Everything was going just fine until the toe. I must have had five pictures in front of me showing how this was done, and I don’t know how many tries it took to get it right. DS and DH still comment on the creativity of my vocabulary. And when I say how knitting is relaxing, they just stare at each other and try to keep from laughing as they remember the evenings spent on that pair of socks. I have gotten better at it since then, but starting the graft still leaves me puzzled. Luckily I have Katharina Buss’s Big Book of Knitting. Although this book isn’t as comprehensive as others on techniques, the topics it covers are illustrated extremely well. I really need this every time I start a graft:
So how did it work out? Not badly. The stockinette part is as good as I can manage it. This was the first time I grafted YOs, and they could be a bit better.
But I’m not taking this out. I think it is good enough, and if I tried to remove the graft to make any adjustments, I’d probably make a mess. And I don’t think the tail left for grafting would stand up to the challenge of being picked out and used again.
When I asked Ed what he thought of it, he gave me what has now become his usual response. “Look at all the mistakes. I think you should rip it out.” I told him that he was acting like Charles Boyer in Gaslight, trying to make me, like Ingrid Bergman in the movie, think I was insane. I suspect he doesn’t want me to ask this question any more, and his ploy is working.
Today is the end of the Seasons of Lace KAL, and I’m not done with Bee Fields. I have one more repeat to finish the third and last section (three rows to go—which will take an entire evening):
Then I have the 12-row border to do, bind off, and block. There’s a good chance it will be done this week, and blocked next weekend. I guess in the scheme of things, a one-week delay isn’t a big deal.
As I was stripping the bed for a laundry, and before I did the graft, I was listening to the Knit Picks Podcast. There was an interview with Miriam Tegels, the World’s Fastest Knitter. I could only speculate on how fast she would have finished Bee Fields. If you want to see something astounding, check these videos.