Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm In Stitches

I just got my Estonian lace knitting book “Pitsilised Koekirjad” in the mail from Martina in Germany. It only took 9 days from the date I ordered it so that’s not bad at all. This seems to be the only way to buy this book so it was great that I got such good service. My first impression is that although it’s a crummy printing and binding job and I can’t read a word of the text, it’s nevertheless a fabulous lace pattern resource! There are gazillions of potential shawls and such lurking in these pages. All I need is the symbol translation PDF courtesy of Shelda Eggers & Merike Saarnit and a lot of patience to work out the teensy little charts. I love that as well as the common English abbreviations, Merike included the literal translation of the stitch instructions. Yarn-overs are “air” stitches, knits are “rightway” stitches and purls are “inside out” stitches — so cute!

Why do I think that the book is badly made? Because the photo reproductions are poor and some are downright pixilized. Also the binding is the “perfect” glued type (like a paperback book) which is actually not-so-perfect. I can already hear the glue cracking when I open the book and a few times pressed into my scanner will likely loosen the pages. Some of the charts nearly go right into the gutter so you need to open the book fully to see the whole thing. Of course that prevents it from easily being comb-bound when it starts to fall apart. I’ll have to be careful.

But ooh, the patterns! They are soooo yummy! This is a stitch dictionary of surpassing stimulation. Some are almost familiar background stitches and some totally complex and new. There are nupps galore and the edgings are kindly charted showing a mitred corner. There are a few patterns worked from the centre out. There are some rather dated lace sweaters and a heap of lovely shawls shown in photos and perhaps partially charted out. A lot of the shawls have a fringed edge however which doesn’t appeal to me, though I’m sure it’s an ethnic style. There’s even a dress which could be the inspiration for a lovely wedding dress with charts for the shaping for skirt and sleeves. Not that I have any unmarried children left! This book was originally copyrighted in 1995 so the fashions have at least a partial excuse for looking circa 10 years earlier than that. I do love the pained expression on the face of one young man modeling sweaters that I’m sure are much too girly for him!

Knitting the Icelandic Lace Shawl gave me a taste of lace that wasn’t just the “holes on a plain ground” type. And knitting the Swallowtail Shawl gave me a taste of nupps and how their texture adds to the lace. Each shawl I’ve worked on has left me hungry for more complexity. I think this book will help me create a shawl pattern of my own as I try combining elements into a harmonious design. I also saw at least a couple of patterns that might work well for socks too. So many ideas — so little time. Sigh.

Meanwhile T-Man’s Earl Grey socks are coming along nicely. They’re more faded denim than grey but so what! I’m using the same number of stitches as Yarn Harlot’s pattern but smaller needles, my usual 2mm. I think her Joe’s feet are somewhat larger than T’s so this should reduce the size enough to fit. Most of the sock is plain but there are two little cable sections, one on each side of the foot. I started using stitch markers to remind me to pay attention to the cable areas because I was whizzing right over them without noticing. The extra fussiness of the stitch markers is offset by not having to fix mistakes! Another thing I did was to re-chart the pattern in Knit Visualizer. I like the symbols better because they’re bolder and easier to read at a glance than the ones that Stephanie used. I cut out my chart and used magnets to hold it inside the lid of my Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine lunchbox with another magnet to mark my place. Works for me!

I’m currently trying to clean up this messy house for the thundering hordes who are coming on Sunday for Thanksgiving Dinner. (Around 22 at last count. Yipes!) At least I’m feeling more energetic than I have been because T is still sick so he’s not much help. He’s home again today working via his computer and cell phone. He’s lucky he can do that and he remembered to bring home his phone earpiece and notebooks which are rather important to his job as a tech support specialist. Hard for me to vacuum around him without disturbing him though.


Kat said...

Wow, 22 is definitely a thundering horde! LOL! Good luck with that. ;-)

The book sounds wonderful! Well, the info in the book sounds wonderful, anyway. Thanks for posting that!

Anonymous said...

I love those 'daughter dyed' socks!! The colors just really appeal to me.