Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Madness Has Been Pinpointed....I Think

Still working on the "EZ" Entrelac.  I think I've found out all my problems happen when I'm doing the 2 triangles and 3 rectangles row.  It starts on the left and makes it way right.  So, everything I'm doing is done left handed or should be.  I'm doing it right handed, because I'm... well... right handed.  The stitches are more difficult to pick up right handed this way.  I keep getting the carriage parked on the wrong side.  It should be on the left, but I find it on the right a good deal of the time.  Then I have to figure out which row did I start making that mistake.  More unraveling.  Next thing I know I find a stitch hung on the 11th needle in a 10 needle only pattern.  More unraveling when did that wayward stitch get hung up.  Oh my goodness I'm so aggravated right now.  It only spurs me on though.  I won't let not being left handed conqueor me.  Because when the pattern is moving in the opposite direction it's a breeze being right handed.  So, I guess no matter what handed we are we'll all have to work harder in one direction or the other.
Last night my teenage daughter was manhandling looking at my work and I said, "Be careful I have a pin in it holding a loose stitch."  She asked, "Why?"  I explained, "On the 2nd rectangle some how I missed a stitch."  She says quizzically, "One stitch?"  I said, "Yes."  She says sarcastically, "Really mom just one stitch?!"  I respond a bit offended (is she bad mouthing my project or accusing me of lying), "Yes, just one stitch!"  She says, "Oh really mom you've only missed one stitch in your entire life?"  Now I know what she's really asking and I laugh and say, "Oh no I've missed many stitches over the years.  Just one in this project."  She laughs and says, "Oh that's better I was wondering why you were up on that high horse.  I thought I was going to have to knock you off."  I laughed again and turned back to my computer.  I kept smiling, because my little girl is growing up.  She responded like one of my girlfriends would if we were talking about knitting and they thought I was boasting.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diary of a Mad Machine Knitter

Mad as in crazy!  Lost my mind... can't believe I'm still plugging along.  I started a really cool project.  It's not the project that's driving me crazy it's my machine knitting clutziness.

I'm doing Diana Sullivan's EZ Entrelac.  It is pretty easy now that I've learned the process, but it was hard going to begin with.  For me anyhow.  I had a neck injury about 14 years ago and my short term memory isn't what it should be.  With repetition though it gets locked into long term memory and then I have no problems.
Until it was locked into long term memory I was ready to turn green and hulk the knitting machine, entrelac and all out the window.  My main problem was and is my choice of yarn.  She suggested a worsted weight acrylic, but I wanted to use some really beautiful cotton yarn from Knit One Crochet Too called Ty-Dy.  The problem with the yarn is that ....well... it's cotton.  It has no stretch and it splits easily.  This pattern calls for a lot of hanging and taking off a needles.  When you have persnickety yarn it just adds another dimension of aggravation. 

This technique calls for the use of a circular knitting needle with a small gauge needle.  This is used instead of waste yarn.  It actually works quite well.  It has taken getting use to.  First off my needle could be a smaller gauge.  Mine is a 7.  With the cotton yarn if the needle was a smidge bigger it would probably get stuck.  Mine slides out barely.  Also the postioning of said needle while machine knitting is important.  I've run the actual wooden needle through the carriage more times than I'd like to count.  Nothing has jammed or gotten stuck.  I've been very lucky in that respect.  Also the cotton yarn gets very tight on the nylon part of the circular needle.  Loosening up the yarn to be able to hang a stitch is challenging.

I've missed a stitch here and there.  I've knitted extra rows.  I've ripped out the same triangle 4 times and redone several rectangles.  BUT with repetition and practice things have gotten a lot easier. I am doing Entrelac without having to pause and replay the DVD any more.  I've even gone a few rows without sending my wooden needle through my carriage.  As you can see below it's well worth the effort.  I can't even imagine how long this would take if I hand knitted it.  Despite my belly aching I'm really having a good time.  As my piece gets bigger and bigger I'm getting more excited to see the finished project.