Power Knitting

a soft, blue-green coloured tension swatch in a lace pattern that has columns of double decreases and graceful arcs of eyelets, with a seed stitch border

Power Knitting

I am prone to having periods of "power knitting." Sure, a deadline is usually involved, and sometimes that takes the fun out of  it, but other times? Well, a good power knitting session can give a great sense of accomplishment.

Most of you know that I also blog for KNITmuch.com, in addition to writing a regular column called Knit Together in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine.

Coming up in May, I'll be reviewing a laceweight linen yarn called Flax Lace, by Fibra Natura. I wanted to make a horseshoe shaped shawl for a bride to wear on her special day -- the shawl was going to be blue (turquoise) really, but I ran out of time, and decided to make a stole that could be made for the bridesmaids to wear over their dresses.

Linen isn't an especially warm fibre, so this would be a great project for a summer wedding, and would add a nice, lacy touch to the photos. The lace is a pretty easy one, with columns of double decreases flanked by eyelets in a pleasing, arched pattern. There are only 4 pattern rows. This type of a pattern can go either way; it can be just difficult enough to keep my interest, or be so mundane that it makes my head ache.

This culminated in a "power knitting" situation. Happily, horseshoe lace is "just difficult enough to keep my interest," and after two tension swatches, I started my power knitting.

three skeins of yarn with the labels at the bottom of the photo

3 skeins of Fibra Natura Flax Lace, in turquoise, mineral, and white

The white yarn for the stole arrived on April 6, and, after photographing the lovely array of colours I now had in hand, I wound the skeins and cast on the next day.

Now's a good time to talk about strategies for power knitting. It's not something you want to be doing every week, or even every month. Sitting in one posture for hours on end can take a toll, and I've been having back problems lately, so I'm starting with

  1. Mind your posture - If you're going to be in the same position, do it properly -- have your elbows, knees, and hips at 90 degrees from their adjacent body parts. Feet should be firmly planted on the floor,  with thigh bones parallel to it. Keep your back as straight as you comfortably can. (Now is when your high-school typing class posture comes into play!)
  2. Keep your work at the right height for your eyewear. If you wear glasses, progressives in particular, you'll understand my meaning. This may mean that your forearms need to come up a little higher toward your shoulders, but it's important to have as little angle at your neck as possible to avoid having shoulder muscles cramp up.
  3. Take little breaks - to keep your hands from cramping up, find a convenient spot (the end of every row or every second row), and give your fingers a couple of stretches or flexes. Yes, it will slow down the process of reaching  your goal, but your hands will thank you for it.
  4. Stay hydrated - keep a glass of water nearby and drink it!
a lovely white froth of horseshoe lace with a seed stitch border on a purple background.

Power knitting stage 1 - 3 in./ 7.5cm in a week!

Once you've got yourself "tucked in" and seated properly, you'll find your knitting will progress quite quickly! I actually cast on on April 7, and it appears I got off to a slow start: it took me almost a week to get the first three inches or so done!

Then, though, I kicked it into high gear -- I was knitting at meetings, through hockey games (I don't watch hockey, but it gave me a chance to let the Laddie watch what he wanted), and over morning coffees (when I would normally do my stitching).

A froth of white on the left, with the right side laid out to show the horseshoe lace.

Horseshoe Wedding Stole, 13"/ 32cm long.

Five days later (April 19), I had 13" of froth!

By the 23rd, I'd slowed my pace again and was sitting about 16"/40cm. The pressure is on again, though -- the guild meets on Wednesday night, and I want to have this ready for show and tell! And, I want to display it at the Knitter's Frolic on Saturday. So, the gals at guild will have to see it in its unblocked state, and I've got Thursday and Friday to do some power blocking!

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