Sunday, April 13, 2014

Colonnade Jacket

This sweater is going to drive me to drink!  Let me start from the beginning...
I love this sweater, the Colonnade Jacket from the Interweave Knits Summer 2013 issue:

I bought yarn for it at the end of November of 2013 and did a gauge swatch and have not did a thing with it until the end of March.
The yarn I bought is Berroco Vintage (50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon) in a blue color called Cerulean, at my LYS Brandon Yarn Boutique.  It is so soft and has a heathered look to it, not completely solid in color.

Love It!!
Anyway, as you can see in the picture of the jacket, there is a lace on the entire front edge.  This pattern is written so that you knit side to side, so at the beginning and end of each row, you are knitting the lace pattern, with knit or purl sts in between.
This is where the drinking comes into play.
I wanted to challenge myself and read the pattern from the chart and not do words or a written out pattern.  Seems like an easy chart:

I mean, I have seen some pretty involved charts, and this one is easy.  WELL, it turns out my brain has not been wired to read charts.  I tried, really tried to get the hang of this.  I just could not successfully complete a pattern repeat through to the 10th row to save my life.  I would goof-up on something at some point.
I attempted this pattern on a gauge swatch, of course.  I'm crazy, but not that crazy to jump in on the project before getting the sts down pat on a practice swatch.

I grabbed leftover acrylic from my stash to practice.  The orange string is my lifeline.  Yes, a chart and a lifeline.  Two new techniques to me in this one project.  The object of the lifeline is that you have the string in your project at a point where you know that it is error free.  Like you are good up to that point and you mark where this point is.  You continue to knit and if you do make an error that you cannot fix, you can rip out your work down to the lifeline.  The lifeline has secured your row and you slip your needle in the stitches that the lifeline is holding.  Viola!  You do not have to rip the whole thing out and you just resume knitting from where you marked.
The use of the lifeline is critical in lace knitting.  There are yarn-overs (yo) and slip, slip knit (ssp) all over the place, where you would never be able to recreate that if you dropped a yo somewhere or whatever the error may be.
Once you get to a point, you insert a new lifeline and continue knitting.  I use two, so that when I am ready to place the 3rd one, I remove the bottom-most lifeline and use that same string again.  You remove it by simply pulling it out.
In the above picture with my practice swatch, just above the bottom repeat, there is an error.  A big boo-boo.  I had ripped out the whole thing multiple times and since I had not put the lifeline in at the start, I had to cast-on again and again and again.  Like I said, I was chart reading and really trying.
When I made that boo-boo, I just started back at row 1 and continued with my first lifeline.  It worked!  I had to rip back a few times to the lifeline in my practice swatch.  Well, at least that is what it is there for.
I continued with my practice swatch for a few more repeats and then bound off.  I wanted to graduate to my actual yarn that I will be knitting with and with the size needle I determined I would use.  Not bad, I have removed the lifelines, which I was gaining confidence on:

I can do this!!  Ok, so I cast-on for the project, ahem, 180 sts.  Jeepers, I hope we are good-to-go!!
I place my lifeline at Row 1, my first knitted row.  Good thing, because I messed up and ripped out... a few times at various rows.  I was getting a bit fed up with this.  So, I reverted back to the way I like to knit: with flashcards.
I write out each row on an index card in words or abbreviations.  I have one card where I mark what row I am on and where I have placed the lifeline.  This way, I am only looking at the very row I am knitting, not distracted by symbols or viewing the entire chart and losing my place and translating in my head what to do next.

Let me tell you, this has worked out SO much better!  I no longer feel the need to get drunk after knitting or requiring blood pressure medication.  I am using the lifeline as I go and I feel much better about the project now.

I'm not that very far along, but at least I actually want to keep working on it, rather than ditching it and looking for another project to knit with my boutique yarn.