Maximizing

I am loving this shawl as it knits up.  It as addictive as a good Fair Isle pattern, where you want to keep going just one more row to see how it will look.  The color transitions keep me engaged.

My second skein of this fiber was not plyed very tightly, so I put the hank on my swift and quickly sent it back though my wheel in the plying direction.  Then I used my ball winder to take it off the bobbin and wind it into a cake, and to even out the twist, I had the winder about 20 feet away from my wheel.  I choose not to set the replyed twist in this yarn, I think that it will be fine knitting it up just from the wound cake. I will be knitting from the opposite color end this time, starting with the blush color and the shawl will hopefully end in the green.

I have almost finished with the first section of the Echo Flower Shawl, and I really want to maximize the length and use the most of my handspun possible. To achieve that I know that I need to save approximately 40% of the total yardage for the border (based on comments on a KAL thread for this shawl), so I am installing life lines at the end of my next 2-3 repeats so that if I do need to frog back, I will not be picking up 100’s of stitches willy-nilly.  I am going to try to finish with the first skein, and the pink section of the second skein, which is also a good transition point to the border.

To install a lifeline:

  • It works best if you are putting the lifeline on a purl or non-pattern row (if not available, make the lifeline at the most logical place).  I am doing mine at the end of the pattern repeat, which happens to be a purl row.
  • Find a yarn that is thinner and a contrast color to your project.  It also helps if you use a cotton yarn if the project is in wool, and it will then slide out evenly without sticking to the stitches.
  • Do not cut the end of your lifeline until you have captured all of the working stitches.  Work directly off the skein or spool.
  • Thread a blunt end needle and run the thread through all of the stitches from left to right.  Do NOT include any stitch markers unless you want to take them off the needle on the next row and keep them with the lifeline.
  • When all stitches are threaded, make sure that the thread is longer than the garment and tie to the knitted fabric a couple of rows below at both ends.
  • Knit the rest of your project, and if you need to rip back for any reason, you have secured that row.  When ripping back, I like to pick up the last row by unknitting my stitches one at a time while I put them back on the needle.
I wish that I had used a cotton crochet thread or a thin cotton knitting yarn instead of the heavy sewing thread.  It would have made it easier to not catch up the lifeline on the next knit row.

This is a good video tutorial that I also found on YouTube.  I did try the tape method, and could not get it to work.  And I do not have the Knitpicks interchangeable needles to work her other method, but perhaps one of you does.