So one of my favorite local yarn stores is having a knit-along for the summer. (Urban Fiber Arts, Damask Shawl by Kitman Figueroa.) My version uses Fibre Company’s “Road to China Light” a blissful blend of baby alpaca, silk, cashmere, and baby camel. This yarn is so soft, light, and delicious, knitting with it is like playing with meringue. My progress so far looks like this:
I’m actually on row 22 now, but the last photo I’d taken was on row 14 (it’s knitted from the outside in so the rows get shorter as you go). Am doing a size medium, with 3 skeins of RTCL…some people have had issues with not having enough yardage for whatever size they made, but at 470 yards, I am 30 yards over the recommended 440, so hopefully I won’t have any trouble.
The Damask pattern is fairly straightforward though I do have a few quibbles (before which I will tack on the disclaimer that I don’t often treat myself to other people’s patterns—purely due to time constraints—so am not sure how much of this is me being just ridiculously fussy or how much of it is justified):
Quibble #1: I will have to redo all the charts. (Lot of non-standard symbols, and I readily admit to being overly fussy about line widths and charts that use color unnecessarily, though much of my fussiness stems from an inability to read charts that aren’t designed “just so.”)
Quibble #2 – The charts and written directions for all sizes are run together so that the knitter has to choose between printing way too many pages and wasting a lot of ink, or copying and pasting the parts they want into another document and then just printing that. I’m going to probably just print off each chart as it’s redone on a blank page so that I have room for any notes, but boy…this is a lot of extra work. Charts and written out line-by-line instructions for over 140 rows of intricate lace patterning should have been kept separate, I think.
Quibble #3 – The pattern lies like a rug. It says you will need a mere TWO stitch markers (for the center stitch). You will actually need one for every single repeat of the ever-changing stitch pattern, the edge stitches, the center stitch, and maybe a few more to throw at the cat in a show of misplaced rage when you don’t have the proper # of stitches after starting over twice. It also doesn’t make any mention of the kleenex you will need when screwing up because of personal ding-dongery, but not catching the mistake(s) because of the short needles recommended (use a 40″ or longer for the first 5 rows—seriously, you will not regret it), nor the box of chocolates you will consume a little too quickly after you chuck the project back into your knitting basket because you had to redo row 5 at least 4 times…on nearly 300 stitches. Sigh. It also doesn’t mention the sweet kitty (who has finally forgotten about the stitch markers that went skittering past her face a few minutes previous) you will need to keep nearby to pet and hug when the chocolate doesn’t make you feel very relaxed. Last but not least: how could Ms. Figueroa forget to put how many pints of Häagen-Dazs to consume after each fitful knitting session? I mean, honestly.
…but from all the rave reviews the pattern has gotten thus far on ravelry, I am clearly the only one. Well, maybe. It’s tough to tell…Ravelry tends to be a pretty nice playground, which is great, but I think a lot of times people don’t give honest or critical feedback on things because they are afraid of seeming contrary. This can be frustrating when reading other people’s reviews in order to kick the tires on a pattern one has to pay for (especially when that designer has no free patterns), so am hoping others will find my notes about the pattern format helpful.
Have two patterns being test knitted that should be released very soon (like, in the next week). Will post about them here when they are available. :)
Am working on another design that will be done pretty soon using a yarn that is top-secret because it’s not even out in the world yet. Knitting on that project is making me feel like very fancy indeed. It doesn’t hurt that the yarn is downright dreamy to work with.
P.S. – no felines were harmed in the making of this post or the events that led up to it. Any references to animal abuse were hyperbolic and a feeble attempt at humor. PETA need not be called.