Thursday, April 06, 2006

Orenburg Update

For such a tiny, tiny project, it sure is causing me an extraordinary amount of grief. I tried knitting it with the recommended size needles (1) and 32 short little rows into it it was clear I was knitting a big knot. (I mean, really short--the pattern starts you on the bottom stitches so you're zig zagging back and forth on the border which is 7 stitches at its most narrow and 12 stitches at its widest).

I frogged it and went to consult my LYS who said that I either had to ::gasp:: buy smaller yarn (and something without mohair in it) or switch to bigger needles. Like, size 10 or something.

I didn't want to switch yarn. This yarn is be-u-tiful and makes me happy when I touch it. So I switched needles. Now, 1/3 of the way through the piece, it's clear to me that I'm smoking yarn crack again. You just can't knit an Orenburg on soft fluffy mohair. I'm going to finish it because of my sick fascination with failure (what happens if I . . . .), but I'm not going to knit the "real" shawl with it.

So--I did what anyone in my position would do, I went a-googling. I found the author's own website where she offers some really incredible yarn and a few kits and . . . stuff. Since the yarn looked incredible and since I really like the look of that big triangular shawl they're holding up in that kit picture, I called the contact number.

Edited because I must have accidentally erased a few details I meant to include. The woman who answered the phone is the woman who wrote the book I'm using for the sample shawl. It could be argued that she's the only reason you can knit an Orenburg-style shawl in America anyway (without having been born in Orenburg). She was very sweet but firm in letting me know that indeed--you can't use mohair for the tiny stitches in an Orenburg. She said the yarn I wanted was $45-$55 a skein (it's 80% silk, 20% cashmere) and I started doing math in my head as I asked her how much you needed to make the shawl--well, basically, one skein. I heaved a sigh of relief. Then I asked a bunch of other questions and she answered them and I was just so pleased. It's so nice to talk to a human being who is being helpful in a business situation.

Long story short, I'm buying the big triangular shawl she's holding up in the picture I linked to above. That will be Mrs. Bernstein's "hot for teacher" shawl so she'll stay warm in that drafty church where she holds most of her piano lessons and the drafty old victorian where the Music Academy meets. (Totally stole that "hot for teacher" thing STRAIGHT from Francis at the Panopticon--what can I say--I was a child of the 80's, too. Ironically, his "hot for teacher" shawl is the reason I bought the book Folk Shawls. I originally thought I'd make it using yarn I already have, but abandoned that and with it, any hope of making that shawl until we're totally out of debt and I can justify the purchase of that much yarn for one outfit for ME.)

Somebody please come here and beat me with a stick till I finish today's project. Geez.


Anonymous said...

Singapore caning at your service....
Of course there's always the trusty hammer to the head, my personal favorite.

The Queen said...

Oh. HAH!

(My kid brother whose first initial is j dropped a hammer on my head when we were kids--he was up in a tree building a "fort" and I was down on the ground minding my own business. Gravity sucks. We do think it's funny now. At the time, only he did.)

Aunt Charlotte said...

I just bought a set of those thin metal things you block lace with- want me to bring them at the end of the month?

The Queen said...

ooooohhhh! Yes! Well, maybe. It's going to be awhile before I finish that shawl. I only "need" to get it done in time for next Christmas. Chris's sweater and the Finnish mittens come before the end of the shawl (priority wise--Chris's sweater is a LOT of blue wool to knit up, I'll definitely need good, long breaks from it). If you think you'll use the blocking wires before then, don't bring them. I'll borrow them at canning weekend or something.

Aunt Charlotte said...

Reason # whatever why Max can't quit piano lessons- you are working on the teacher's Christmas present!