Friday, November 11, 2011

Climbing Mount Knitverest

Wow. I really have learned a lot about knitting, test knitting, pattern writing and how these things might be a danger to my sanity. And I've finally done a technique that I've read about, seen pictures of, but never worked a pattern that called for it. Attached I-cord, and I-cord bind-off. All in the same I-cord. That was nifty!

Dracoclava is coming along quite nicely, though it's slow going. When I finished the main helmet section, I was terribly worried that it would be far too large. But the eye sockets are in, and that pulled it together a bit. I knitted the ears out of sequence (before I tried the I-cord brow) because I wasn't quite ready to try something new (it was late, I was tiring). As it turns out, having the ears ready before doing the eye sockets helped me when it came to picking up stitches for those sockets: I was not visualizing how the ear went into the main helmet correctly until I very roughly basted one in. And then the big knitting lightbulb lit up above my head. Aha! Eureka. And all that.

Working on the snouts, which should pull it in a bit more. That big rectangular opening in the front is about to go bye-bye!

I am a tad worried that it may end up being too small now! Go figure. I agonized over the gauge starting out. 7's got me very close - about a half a stitch off. 6's gave me a tighter fabric. 8's are what the yarn recommends. I went with the 7's. Why? Because when I started, I didn't want to have to rewrite the pattern to adjust stitch counts for a different gauge. Who knew I'd be doing it anyway, to get my poor old brain un-confused. And now I know that I'd have given up if I'd had to adjust stitch counts! And I feel quite prepared to edit just about any pattern any one might give me. Just about.

There are quite a few things that I find intensely cool about this pattern. The wee short rows in shaping the final rows of the ear were too darned much fun to knit. And I still think that there's something magical about having a 4-row decrease pattern for an 8-row pattern that works. I had a moment of doubt when I started, but... I honestly put down the work after the second repeat of the decrease pattern and admired just how cool it was that it did indeed work. And, yes, geeky moi did in point of fact repeatedly say, "That's soooo cool! It's like magic!!!"

I may end up knitting a second one, as I'm proofing my pattern rewrite as I'm going along, and, oo, did I make a bunch of typos. And I'm still worried that the eye sockets aren't quite what they should be.

And, the most frustrating thing: somehow I manage to skip the same 2 rows in working the ears. The ears went pretty quickly and I wasn't being as meticulous about advancing the row counter to keep track of things. After quite a few rows, I'd suddenly realize that I hadn't advance the counter, and over-advance it. I find it quite interesting that I did that at the same point on each ear. I guess there's something to be said for consistency. And maybe having so much fun doing those little short rows was against me, because in my rush to get to them, the one I skipped was the very first.

Well, so much for my break. Back to the upper snout. I am looking forward to seeing how much it snugs up the current looseness caused by that rectangle...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

'Tis the Season to Rewrite Patterns, Fa-La-La-La La

Well, it's been interesting. I'm dead-set on knitting Dracaclava for Keith's nephew, but, OMG, pattern was just too... Words I've seen on Ravelry to describe it are "vague", "confusing", "poorly written". Really, it struck me more as "notes to self on how to recreate what I've done" than "pattern to sell to general public." Some of the techniques were strange to me - why on earth would I knit 380 stitches only to completely remove them later? I couldn't see any structural advantage to doing that, so I didn't. Everyting is actually in the pattern, it just... well, it's hard to sit down with yarn on one side, paper on the other, and just knit. Way too much thinking. So, I rewrote it, start to finish, with every single row/round numbered. And without using "row" when really the work was in the "round."

I'm feeling a massive sense of accomplishment over that. And a little brain-fried. Happy, but fried.

I also rewrote the Basic Horse pattern that was knitted flat and then seamed up all over the place to knit everything that could be in the round. At least I did that last week, so I can take a break from Draoo and work on that.... And rewriting that pattern was a breeze in comparison, as the original was pretty darned tidy. Just... All those seams! Ick!

Hopefully, I will not be rewriting any more patterns soon. And if I do, hopefully they won't be as much of a struggle as Dracoclava!