Week 6: Decisions decisions

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 46g, which means I have knit 230m in the past week.

I was getting a bit “bummed” about how long this is taking me and how little progress I’d made last week despite trying to be dogged about working at it. This week, thanks mainly to being forced to take the bus a few times, I’ve managed to get closer to my target yardage (40m/day) over the past week. Boy, am I glad!

The big deliberation I faced this week was when to start edging. The designer very helpfully gives this chart for the percentage of yarn you would use if you chose to do yet another repeat of the Blossom Chart before starting the edging:

I had, at this stage, knit 6 repeats of the Star Chart and 7 repeats of the Blossom Chart. From the table above I needed 41% more yarn if I wanted to make another repeat of the Blossom Chart before starting the edging. My problem with understanding how much yarn that 41% actually entailed is that I didn’t know what the percentages related to i.e. you need to know what 100% is before you can know what 41% of it is. Was 100% a) the total yarn used so far? Or b) the total yarn you started with? Or c) the total yarn used to complete the shawl? The only quantity I could be certain of was “a)” the total yarn I had used. This I knew I could measure. The total yarn I had started with was too arbitrary, given the variety of yardages of skeins of a similar weight. And “c) – the total yarn used to complete” was, as yet, a complete unknown.

One of my knitting buddies, @Clarabel, swore she knew the answer was “c)”. Considering she has knit Laminaria an infinite number of times more than me (remember, the number of times I have knit Laminaria = 0 and anything divided by 0 = infinity) I had to give her opinion some consideration. My idea (that the percentages were based on yarn used to date) meant that the ratio of [yarn used] to [yarn remaining] was 100:41. Whereas her interpretation of the table was that the same ratio –  [yarn used] to [yarn remaining] – was 59:41. That’s quite a difference in terms of actual yardage.

I decided to take my usual Architect’s approach and follow through on the more onerous option, which was @Clarabel’s. By following her logic I needed more yarn to complete another repeat and the edging, so- assuming my calculations indicated I had enought – I was less likely to run out of yarn in the process. If, at the end of the day, I can cast off and have a chunk of lace-weight left over… well, to paraphrase Dr. Phil: maybe I was right, but at least I can be happy.

Since making that decision I knit another two Blossom repeats and – according to Clarabel’s interpretation – I still  have enough yarn to make another repeat before starting the edging. As of writing, I’m starting my 10th repeat of the Blossom chart…

Gems from the Web

This week’s Gem is brought to you by @MaryLD who sent me this fantastic link: The Craftsy Block of the Month. I’ve been hearing about Craftsy for a long time but never delved into it. Visualise me at the top of a slippery precipice if you will. I’m about to take that fateful step into the abyss, you can tell.

But it’s all in a good cause, isn’t it? Ah yes, all for…


If you recall, at a previous Knitting and Stitching show, I got a bit carried away with the Jelly Rolls in my efforts to build up a stash of scraps for the Tokyo Subway Quilt. Since that flurry of impulsiveness I have sobered up to the realisation that Jelly Rolls are somewhat challenging to work with. For a beginner-quilter, with no fabric stash, there is a limited number of patterns that can be worked from a single jellyroll. You are further limited by the selection of fabrics and colour choices included in the roll – not all of which are the same quality, it turns out. It doesn’t help if you’ve cannibalised a few jellyrolls for another project and decide to cobble the remainders into a project. As I have done!

So my first step was to decide on what colours I thought might work together in a project – see below – I may not have been altogether correct, refer cannibalism above.

Remaining Strips from Two Jelly Rolls

Then I consulted my trusty Jelly Roll Quilts book [which purports to be “The perfect guide to making the most of the latest strip rolls”] and found the only pattern that I could make, without getting more fabric, was a baby-quilt sized version of what they called “Pandora’s Box”. It gives a handy arrangement for making the four-patch blocks at the centres by sewing two strips together, cutting them up, and then sewing the two-piece strips back together, checkerboard-style. The rest of the block has a tatami-mat construction that appealed to me: sew two short strips onto two opposing sides of the four-patch block; then the two longer sides are sewn on to match all. What you see below are the blocks before the long ends are sewn on, so the difference in length between the centres and the long ends is the seam allowances.

Initial thoughts on arrangement

In between me playing about with the initial arrangements of four-patches vs outer strips, Mary gave me a red-light filter, known as a Ruby Beholder. This is an incredibly handy tool for patchwork. It helps you filter out extraneous information of fabric i.e. tone or hue or even colour and judge it your pieces purely in terms of value. Suddenly, I realised how some four-patch blocks were reading in comparison to others. This changed how I arranged them in the overall top. Instead of sprinkling the green-surround blocks through-out the top, I arranged it based on how the four-patch blocks appeared and kept the green-surround blocks to the centre row.

One row done: still playing with arrangements

Once I assembled the top in full I had a niggle about the block in the top right of the (appalling – and apologies for that!) photo below. In principle it all worked but there was something jarring about the brightness of the fabric surrounding the four-patch of that block. After consultation with the rest of the Twilting class I decided I had the right fabric remaining to rip this block out and remake it with a better surrounding block.

All sewn up and no-where to go!

Nike+ GPS

I’ve been using Nike + GPS since mid-September last year and I passed 300km after my run on Tuesday. The first I knew of it, though was this lovely message from the website (above). Even though I know these things are automated, I have to tell you, it made me quite chuffed that someone, somewhere thought this achievement worthy of noting and celebrating.

I finished my 5k coaching programme on the web-site, which I’d used to keep me running and keep my fitness levels up during the Winter. It surpassed my expectations by improving my pace also. I’ve signed up for their beginner version of the 10k coaching programme. This also runs over 12 weeks and will have me running 13km runs some weeks and up to 37km in a week!

Saddo that I am, I spent most of last Friday afternoon plotting runs through Hyde Park in anticipation of doing a 6.4km and a 8km run while we’re on a weekend away in London in two weeks’ time. I probably spent more time wondering about the routes than I will spend running them!


7 Responses to “Week 6: Decisions decisions”

  1. aviewintomyworld Says:

    hello! thanks for your comment – i’ve been a bit remiss about replying/following up lately. Your lace/yarn ratio-ing reminded me of my cast on/stitch pattern confuddle!!
    plotting routes is addictive, i get sucked in to plotting them on map my ride/map my run, but your training sounds like its going great – go you 🙂

  2. Alifeofherown Says:

    Well done you! That’s some achievement. I’m using you as my motivation to get out there and do something (usually walking) because here the excuse about the weather really doesn’t cut it!

  3. Rubysasha Says:


    Some help with the shawl maths!
    You have 1,000 yards in your arsenal for this shawl and you want to use up as much as possible. If 1,000yrds is 100% and you need 41% to finish one more repeat and the edging then you need to keep knitting until you only have 410y left.


    You can work out the weight of this 410yrds if you have the weight of the skein you started with, so

    410yrds:34.85g (lets not niggle, roughly 35g) (85 x 410 / 1000)

    Hope it makes sense!

    • undermeoxter Says:

      Thanks so much for commenting. I had to mull this over for a while.
      The maths makes perfect sense but I had this niggling feeling that “what if I were using a skein with a different yardage?” What if, say, I had 800yds or 1200yds in my arsenal. By this logic, one repeat of the Blossom Chart and the edging chart would take either (0.8 x410yrds) or (1.2 x 410yrds). Whereas how much yarn it takes me to one more repeat and the edging has to be a Constant: if I’ve already knit 5 repeats and I’m wondering if I’ve enough yarn for another and the edging the amount of yarn that would take can’t change relative to the yardage of the skein.
      I don’t know if I’m explaining it very well, but this is what I meant on Twitter about this option being too arbitrary.

  4. karl Says:

    I totally relate to the plotting routes addiction, though now around Coimbra i generally just go out and run. I know I’ll eventually get to somewhere I know – The advantage of now living in a small city 🙂

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