Thursday, March 16, 2006

The continuing Olympic Saga

I will admit it. I did not medal in Yarn Harlot's 2006 Knitting Olympics. I participated about as well as Michelle Kwan did in the real thing. I was there for the opening ceremonies, I had a competition preventing injury (in my case a week of the most gawdawful stomach flu it has ever been my misfortune to heave......... Oops, too much information for a public post ......) And then I silently slipped away, leaving my team mates to carry on without me.

But anyway, you get the idea. The Smoke Ring with Lace Edging in plum colored Zephyr wool/silk blend was my project.

So lo, a failed quest for Olympic Knitting Gold and several weeks and a hat and pair of socks and a scarf start later, I'm back trying to figure out what I can do to salvage my project. I say 'salvage' because in an not uncharacteristic fit of "I know better than the designer", I jumped in and started this baby more or less in the middle. This is designed with a strip of lace edging, joined in a circle, stitches picked up along the straight edge and knit in the round to form a cowl, then bound off around the face.

In the insanity of trying to cast on during the opening ceremony, knitting lace was just NOT a practical option. So while people in strange costumes were skating and cavorting on the TV screen, I managed a provisional cast on and the bottom of the neck area (3 inches of stocking stitch). I then proceeded up the length of the cowl in 3 repeats of a 12 row lace pattern, another 3 inches of stocking, another 36 rounds of lace, and a last three inches of stocking.

And that brings us to today. So now I have a nice, lacy tube. Which needs bound off on both ends - one in a integral knitting off wide lace edging and one in 'a decorative cast off'.

OK, great pattern, so far. But when I get to the cast off, I'm stumped. And I'm not the only one. There are a couple of other blogs that mention this as a problem point, as does one of the gals recently on Knitter's Review. I've been trying to figure this bind off out for about 3 hours now. I'm frustrated and fuming. I'm hoping that taking it one step at a time and writing it out will help. From reading the pattern, the bind off is based on a series of two stitch short rows, each repeat 'eating' a stitch from the work.

From the pattern: Foundation row: Bring yarn to front of needle for yo, k1, turn.
That makes sense. I would have written it, "At the start of the bind off round, YO, K1, turn work", but OK. (Pause to make it so on the project).

I'm now looking down into the cowl, and I'm set up for "Row 1"
Row 1 (WS): P2tog, turn.
First snag. Once you've turned your work, your working yarn is on the LEFT needle. When turning a sock heel, my teacher drilled into us to slip the first stitch back to the needle in our RIGHT hand. But if I do that, I'm 'eating' a stitch off the wrong end of the work and you obviously cannot decrease on BOTH ends of this. I think if you try you'll knit a kind of Klein bottle, kangaroo pouch affair, not something you can put around your face.

But luckily, I ran across a blog that mentioned dealing with this odd stitch from the front with a kind of backwards knitting. Let's see how THAT works.

(pause for intense concentration and after several attempts, failure).

I'm going to see if the gal on Knitter's Review can walk me thru this. If not, I may just do Barbara Abbey's "Very Narrow" five stitch lace edge and be done with it.

I'm going to go soothe myself with chocolate and a few rows of the Seed Stitch Scarf. Now that it likes its needle size finally, it's my favorite project. No picture today, I'm just TOO frustrated.

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