Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Never Quite As Planned

I wish I could tell you that my research concluded spectacularly and I'm fully refreshed after my brief blogging hiatus. Life, unfortunately, never quite goes as planned. The good news is that I will definitely be out of lab by mid-September and will most likely defend my PhD thesis sometime in October. The bad news is that I will be juggling thesis writing in between lab work and starting my new job in October. Needless to say, blogging may not be of the highest quality over the next two months and might not keep to my usual once-a-week schedule, but I will be here nonetheless.

Part of my disappointment about my hiatus comes from being unable to finish my lace shawl, which is the only project I worked on during August. Honestly, I seriously underestimated the amount of time that the border would require. I have about 6 more hours of work left on the shawl and now I'm facing another challenge--I'm running out of yarn.

I was actually smart and bought two 880-yard skeins for this project, which requires 800-950 yards. Unfortunately, one of those skeins ended up in the dyepot for my dyeing with turmeric tutorial. So I braved the danger that is KnitPicks to order an extra skein and came out unscathed. (Okay, so I did buy two skeins of Comfy Worsted in Whisker so that I can make an Elijah, but an extra $6 doesn't count.) With extra yarn in hand, I hope I can finally finish this shawl!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brief Hiatus

I've decided to take a short break from blogging for the rest of August, as I'm currently focused on trying to finish up the research for my PhD. So much of my mental energy is going toward this work at the moment that I feel it is better to not blog at all than to divert some of this precious energy into making low-quality posts. I hope to finish up most of this research and return to a normal posting schedule by the first week of September.

Thanks for understanding and I will see you again in September!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Let's Talk About Lace

I recently pulled a half-finished lace shawl from the depths of my projects pile and decided that it's time to finally finish it. It's been on the needles for over two years but still needs a good amount of work done on it. It's my very first true lace shawl and, while I'm not certain how much I will wear it, I would like to at least scale the mountain that is lace and come down the other side.

The pattern is Miriam Felton's Lightweight Mountain Peaks Shawl and I'm knitting it with KnitPicks Bare Merino Laceweight. I'm kind of kicking myself now that I chose the lightweight version instead of the easier standard version (bigger needles and less yardage), but I think that the finer details in the lightweight shawl will be lovely.

One thing that I'm learning during this project is that I prefer 'lace knitting' to 'knitted lace'. The former has pattern on the right-side rows and purls on the wrong side, while the latter has pattern on both sides. The level of required concentration is the main difference between the two, though 'lace knitting' has the distinct benefit of not needing 'purl 2 together through the back loop' stitches. Those are starting to drive me crazy.

Luckily, I just finished the main 'knitted lace' section and have moved on to two whole charts of 'lace knitting'. I'm hoping to make some major progress on the shawl in the next few weeks, but it doesn't help that even the simplest rows take me over 10 minutes to knit at this point.