This morning, coffee in hand, I surveyed my dining room table covered in knitting – knitting books, knitting yarn, knitting tools, knitting notebooks – and thought that all was right with the world. (And yes, my placemats are wrinkled – such is life.) This is the result of swatching with the Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn for a new shawl design. Over the last few days, I pulled out a few stitch dictionaries and other resources to flip through, I pulled out a crochet hook and waste yarn for a possible provisional cast on, and I pulled out my design notebook to write down Every. Single. Thing. That. I. Do. I’m not sure if this is a foible unique to a new designer, or an expression of my Type-A tendencies, but I just sleep better at night knowing that I had an idea and I. Wrote. It. Down. (I also write in pencil, but I know that’s just a holdover from my days in engineering school, where the math always changes…..) I’m not sure why those scissors are lying there – perhaps in the case of a swatching emergency?

Anyway, the great irony in all of this creative mess is that I’m thinking of using a clean and simple stockinette fabric with lots of strategically placed yarnovers to make the most of the color and the drape of the yarn!

After trying a couple of different cast ons and yarnover positions (and playing with the rate at which those yarnovers appear – the rate of increasing? Calculus in knitting? First Derivatives, anyone? chuckle chuckle), I think I’ve settled on the above as a good place to start. This colorway remains notoriously difficult to capture on film, even on a bright sunny day like today – only with the flash could I capture the color changes and the texture of the swatch. I’m more than 50% sure that this swatch will be ripped back too, as I revise and edit my idea, and in some ways, I think that’s the hardest lesson to learn: don’t be afraid to rip it all out, especially once you get that feeling that your idea isn’t working. It’s like software – sometimes version 1.0 is filled with bugs, and you need to work through versions 1.1 and 1.2 before you’re into smooth sailing.

We’ve got a busy weekend chez Chalson, including a vet’s appointment for Coco (for suspected seasonal allergies, poor thing!), a birthday dinner for my husband Andrew at El Paso Taqueria, a gem of a Mexican restaurant uptown in Manhattan, and for me…..an all day sock class tomorrow at Lion Brand Yarn Studio with Melissa Morgan-Oakes to learn her technique of knitting socks two at a time from the toe up! I’ve been looking forward to this workshop for months, and I can’t wait to come away having learned a bunch of new tricks. Happy weekend!

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