twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Slogging through the trenches October 18, 2013

“Holy My Gosh,” my dear grandpa used to say whenever things appeared to be rather overwhelming. And at this moment, after a two hundred and ninety-two picot bind-off of Stephen West’s Craving Color Shawl, in my mind, there’s nothing more appropriate to be said.

Just 1/3 of the way through the bind-off...this took nearly two days

Just 1/3 of the way through the bind-off…this took nearly two days

Whoa. What a project.  I mean, what. a. project. It’s different. It’s cool-looking and certainly nothing anyone on this planet has thought of before. But then, Mr. West may not be of this planet. And I mean that in a completely good way. His designs are always innovative, and personally, he’s simply adorable. I’m telling you, take his shawl class on Craftsy, and then try not to tell me that he’s not someone you’d totally want to have mojitos with some night. He’s adorable, and funny as all get out.

But this shawl…

Finished, finally. Ready for the blocking

Finished, finally. Ready for the blocking

This was my first mystery knit-along, and having knit many shawls in the past, I figured this one would be about the same level of commitment (time and concentration both) as the shawls of my past. In fact since it was all garter stitch and the only “lace” in the pattern was represented by long lines of yarnovers, it’d be easy peasy, right? Boy, was I wrong.

The first 20 rows into this pattern I realized I was in deep; I actually considered blowing the whole thing off. Still, I wanted to use up some of the old stashola…moreover, I was intrigued by what the heck this shawl was going to end up looking like.

I must admit it took nearly my entire concentration over the last month to finish, and I seriously considered—more than once—frogging this piece.

However, I didn’t realize was that the thing that would take the most perseverance of all was the freakin’ bind off.  To be fair, there were 3 options for the bind-off: Picot bind-off, I-cord bind-off, and the quick and easy K2tog TBL (knit 2 together through the back loop).  And like any good Raveler, I consulted the designer’s project, as well as all the finished projects to see how the finished bind-offs looked.

So obviously I picked the picot bind-off because not only did I love how it turned out whenever I did it on my Kirsten Kaipur shawls (Cladonia and Hecate), and despite a Raveler’s comment that it took her hours to do on her shawl.

Hours? Mama, this sucker took d-a-y-s. Days, I tell you. Of course, all the usual little interruptions: the litter boxes needed cleaning and the linens needed changing, 26 more picots, then time to start dinner and bring in the mail. You know how it goes.

Air Force One at the Reagan Library!

Air Force One at the Reagan Library!

Oh yes, thank goodness there was a long weekend interruption (huzzah for Columbus Day!) when I could not drag this thing along on our car trip to The Reagan Museum, Santa Barbara, and Solvang (the cute little Danish town that was featured in the movie Sideways).  A much neglected pair of socks joined me for our sunshiney break.

This was a deeelicious Danish liver pate sandwich with crispy bacon, shreds of homemade sweet pickle, and pickled beets. OMG

This was a deeelicious Danish liver pate sandwich with crispy bacon, shreds of homemade sweet pickle, and pickled beets. OMG

Sing it with me: Wonderful, wonderful Solvang...Honestly, it was lots of fun.

Sing it with me: Wonderful, wonderful Solvang…Honestly, it was lots of fun

Then back home to continue to slog through the damn bind-off. The way you do a do a picot bind off is to cast three more stitches onto the first stitch you want to bind off (he said use a cable cast on; I used a knitted cast on), then K2togTBL 6 times, and repeat. Just over two thousand stitches until you can stop.

Here is the designer with his shawl

Here is the designer with his shawl…

Well, I’ll stop kvetching and moaning about it now. After 5 days worth of actual binding off ( I actually fell asleep an hour into day 4’s knitting), it’s finished! And miracle of miracles, I really did end up liking the finished piece, although I haven’t figured out how to wear it yet.

...obviously he hasn't figured out how to wear it yet, either.

…obviously he hasn’t figured out how to wear it yet, either.

But I must say that what I’m most proud of is that I stuck with it. Sometimes, you just have to stick through to the end of  a project.

Now, back to the rest of life and all my other projects.


6 Responses to “Slogging through the trenches”

  1. Debbie Q Says:

    I will admit that I SO want to knit that shawl…..but the thought of the picot bind off makes me go meh! I guess I will have to reconsider.


  2. kathy Says:

    Please Deb, don’t let my whining influence you…it’s a pretty cool shawl. You could always do the K2TBL bind-off.


  3. Meg Says:

    Okay, I’ll say it: that’s a WEIRD lookin’ shawl! But your color scheme is to die for — those colors are completely beautiful together. (If those are the kinds of colors you have just hanging around in your stash, well I want to have at your stash!) And the picot bind off gives it such a whimsical finish, so from this side of the project it looks like it was well worth your efforts. I’m not sure biting one end of the shawl enhances the look … but once it’s all cozied around your neck it’s going to look great. I salute your tenacity! Now I’m going in search of some nice crispy bacon.


    • kathy Says:

      Totally weird. I honestly can’t figure out how to wrap it around my neck. I suppose I’ll figure it out, anyway. I can’t imagine who I’d even give it to, though Bug has expressed interest. LOL Oh yes, there’re sauteed mushrooms on that lil sandwich, too! 🙂


  4. Darling Cuz Says:

    I’m laughing out loud at your post. You had me at the liver pate sandwich, and of course, at the shout out of (one of) our favorite childhood movies, Hans Christian Anderson. We will be recreating that sandwich next time we meet, yes? It’s quite the work of art! When you figure out how to where it, post a picture! You will be stylish and lovely. Just maybe don’t strike his same pose.


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