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Yesterday I drafted "My Personal Rules for Fair Isle February":
1. I will start knitting Glen Albyn, designed by Jade Starmore.
2. Even when it gets hard, I won't cave and knit something else. At least not in this short month.
3. Except plain stockinette socks. (If buying sock yarn doesn't count as buying yarn for you stash busters, it surely doesn't count to knit....)
4. But I can still spin, right?
5. No lace. No cables. Not even a little seed-stitch beret.
Can you tell I am getting nervous?
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Recently, there has been quite a discussion on a listserv I lurk on about how kits from Virtual Yarns frequently run really tight on yarn, even for those who knit at the perfect gauge.
Can I knit at the perfect gauge? When I make my little swatch at the beginning, I will be all but a novice, and with a penchant for tight tension anyway. By the end of the sweater, I'll have enough experience with fair isle that I am sure my tension will loosen up--meaning I will not be at the same gauge and therefore even more susceptible to running out of yarn.
Eeks! Pull out the books for some guidance and start rifling through them for hints....
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And then I read the comments on this post where I confessed that I wasn't yet swatching but instead casting on new lace projects here at the tail end of January.
My definition of a brilliant idea is something that you aren't thinking about but once you hear seems abundantly obvious and feels like you've known it all along.
Sarah lobbed in this one: "You 'ought' to do what you want to do!"
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Fair Isle February is a KAL with no rules. Why did I feel like I needed such inflexible rules?
Fundamentally, knitting is an ordered rule-driven craft of the textile world. Stitch follows stitch, row follows row. What makes is fun--what makes it art, even--is how we learn to bend those rules to create things all our own. Bending the rules is what created cables, what created shaped garments rather than just simple squares or rectangles--and even what allowed Fair Isle knitting to blossom.
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My partner David watched me reading through the library's copy of The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting by June Hiatt and an interlibrary-loaned Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting. He listened as I talked faster and faster, my voice getting higher and higher as the muscles in my body tightened. I said I couldn't do it. He reassured me that he was sure I could. I was almost crying.
Finally, he looked at me and said, "Why not just do something a little easier? Make a mitten or a hat or something. How about those mitts of Eunny's you were talking about?"
I suspect that success in a smaller project will give me confidence as well as help me regularize my stranding tension enough that perhaps then I'll be ready for Glen Albyn.
So bring it on! Rather than trembling and trying to turn backwards, I'm chomping at the bit for February 1st.
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The question is:
brown and ice blue?
or brown and rose?
Cross-posted to Fair Isle February