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Tres Chic Veronique

 

Why do I do this to myself?

I'm addicted to Birch. So much so that I've put the Phildar Cable Cardi aside (well, it's still on my couch, all I have to do is reach out and grab it, but I haven't touched it). I couldn't even put Birch down last night, while watching Amelie (did you notice there's a crocheter in there? The hypocondriac lady who sells cigarettes!). This movie is very visual, and although it has lots of dialogue, you really have to watch the screen to catch all the details that "make" this movie. This is very distracting when you should really be looking at your stitches and counting in your head. (Speaking of counting in your head, can I mention, without sounding crazy, that row 3 of the 8 row lace repeat is my favorite? It has the perfect rhythm. I forge on with the other rows until I can finally reach a row 3).
Anyway. One of the reasons for my addiction is the suspense that I've managed to create.

I think I might run out of yarn.

The pattern calls for 3 balls of KSH. 229 yds x 3 = 687 yds total.
I bought 2 oz of Habu's Mohair/Silk, at 373 yds per oz, 373 yds x2 = 746 yds.
746 - 687 = 59 yds left over. I thought I was in the clear.

I grabbed my size 7 needles, cast on 299 st, and off I went! Except, it was soon apparent (after, oh, 10 rows), that this fabric was way too airy.
I compared a strand of KSH to my Habu beauy, and yes, it is much thinner.
Feeling very logical, I went down a needle size. I bought size 6 circular Bryspuns, and cast on 299 st again. And again, the fabric was too airy.

This is when I took out the big guns: a size 4 needle. Ha! Take that, Birch! It worked. Phew.
Then I started calculating: since my stitches are smaller, the whole shawl is going to be smaller. To compensate, I cast on more st (329 to be exact). And since each loop is smaller going around a size 4 needle than a size 7 needle, I felt confident I'd have enough yarn.

But do I really ? How much yarn do I need?
I decided to be scientific about it.
First, I knit a little sample.
(Isn't it cute?)

Then, I weighed it: 0.51 g.

Finally, I made a diagram of the shawl, and calculated how many of my samples (colored here in pink and white) would fit into the final shawl: 121.

121 sample triangles at 0.51 g each = 62 g of yarn needed.
I have 2 0z. One 0z= 28g, so 2 oz = ..... 56g! Aack! I'm missing 6 g!

Before completely freaking out, I decided that perhaps my sample was too small, and might introduce a margin of error. It's possible, right? I started knitting furiously each evening, and I weighed the remaining yarn in the morning, using the precision scale in the lab.

After wednesday night's knitting: 35% of the shawl had been knitted, and I'd used 33% of the yarn. Yay!
After thursday night's knitting: 43% has been knit, I've used 57% of the yarn. No!
Stay tuned for tonight's result...

(Before you ask, yes, I can go back to Habu and get more yarn. They keep their mohair/silk yarn on gigantic cones, and simply wind some of it from the mama cone to a baby cone as needed. So I can absolutely go back and get more yarn of the same dye lot. I just like calculating and making diagrams, ok? And maybe, just maybe, the idea of a shawl made with one continuous strand of yarn is magical to me).

You think I'm crazy? One of my friends consoled my by telling me a story about his grand-mother, a knitter who became senile. Every day, she would knit a lace square (or crochet, he's not sure). With each passing day, these squares got more and more intricate. Her madness poured into these complex, geometric patterns. The family was stunned. They also ran out of yarn. Their solution breaks my heart: every evening, the grand-father UNRAVELED his wife's work, and would wind up a new ball of yarn for the next day's work.

By Veronique
On Friday, April 14, 2006
At 4/14/2006 11:42:00 AM