Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Notes to self

Gratuitous goldfinch photo. He visit's the neighbor's birdbath and then hangs out on the fence to dry.

One of the features of my MacBook that I really love is Stickie Notes. I pop them up, write my pattern notes on them, sometimes patient names or their problems while I'm working the phones and laptops, holiday menus, grocery lists, whatever. The problem with my shorthand, is I often don't label the notes, figuring I'll get back to them soon enough, and after months in timeout, I could kick myself for not keeping more meticulous notes.

Don't ask what pattern this stickie note may be for. While I can't be certain without more research, I think it may be the Burburry inspired cowl adapted by me for a different gauge. Apparently, I only made a note and forgot to add a title so I could decipher what I was doing later on.

Not that this happened on the lace piece I'm working on now. No, indeed. While my high tech notes failed me due to my likely deleting the stickie note holding the Peacock pattern's more salient points and progress, my low tech stickie notes worked. After searching my computer files to no avail, there was this shawl's salvation, stuck to the pattern itself.

Here is my low tech sticky. Thankfully, I've even jotted down which row below the cable holds the lifeline (row 127). Makes me look like a genius so many months later. I cross out right side rows when I finish them, as long as I remember to do so. Proof I'm forgetful? I am actually beginning row 146 as soon as the lifeline is in and apparently, I've forgotten to cross out rows 142 and 144. Also take note of the gratuitous fancy pedicure in the picture.

I've reached the end of chart F, and I'm placing another life line after completing the purl row. While inserting this line, I've found it beneficial to use highly contrasting yarn that's bigger than my working yarn. In this case, I'm using worsted weight yarn as a lifeline and my working yarn is sport weight. I've tried using interchangeable needle cables but find working the row after this to be terribly tight, therefore, I use yarn.

Though I shouldn't brag on this section of the shawl, I will. Sometime last night, I lifted my eyes from my work for just a moment while working row 144. I dropped 3 stitches 4 rows down. Two knit stitches complicated by decreases and a yarn over. After 1 hour of major surgery and a couple of do-overs, I finally fixed the problem area and fixed it so well, I can't find the scar. Whew. There was no ripping to row 127 and knitting it all over again (at least 8 hours of reknitting). Lace surgery is no easy task, but my success is proof it can be done. Well.

If you don't know how to use a lifeline, or have yet to learn the value of this trick, I'll share with you how I do mine. With a blunt tipped needle, work the lifeline through each stitch and more importantly, around the stitch markers. In my case, the markers don't matter because I'm using coil free pins as markers that I can open and move, but if you put the line through a round solid marker, you'll have to cut your marker out when you come to it when working the next round. When knitting the first row after insertion of the line, do not work the thread of the line itself, which is why it's imperative to use a highly contrasting yarn for the lifeline. Be sure to mark the pattern where you placed the line. This way, hours, days, weeks, months, or as in this project, even years later, you can rip to that line and it will hold all of your stitches securely at that point. Pick them up and start knitting. In the above photo, I placed the lifeline through row 127 (seen near the bottom of the photo). If I ripped to that point (which I did), I would pick up the stitches, and begin knitting row 128.

Truly a knitter's life saving technique.

So is this blog. Writing about these lifelines has jogged my memory about a prior post I wrote. As I near the last of the peacock feathers, I am also approaching row 164, evil row 116's more evil twin. Yikes. I shall be laying lifelines very frequently in anticipation. Let us hope I can kick row 164's butt when I get there, or in the case of this shawl, if I get there.


Alice said...

Dang, now why didn't anyone EVER tell me about lifelines??

That will save me from having to repair more head size dents in our walls.

Now, if I could only figure out how to put a lifeline in MY LIFE!

Miss 376 said...

The number of times I've written notes like that and then can't remember what they were for.

Stephanie V said...

We always think we'll remember. I have many cryptic pencil notes by low-tech paper patterns. And I've found them on old patterns that I've been given - or found. It's a knitting thing.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

huh? all i know is the bird is cute and the pedicure is tits!

smiles, bee

Charlene said...

I have a note feature on my phone. I often look back and can't figure why I wrote a note. It's always been like that with me.

NCmountainwoman said...

Interesting how we all have a different method of staying on track. Your correction sounds extremely complex. Way to go!

sapphireblue said...

You go girl! I would have pulled my hair out a long time ago.