Dragon update and some discoveries

Yippee! I’m done with the first chart! On to charts 2a and 2b. Yay for me!

This is by far the most challenging knitting project that I’ve ever tackled. What a GREAT feeling that I’m actually able to knit this pattern. Yay for me!

Here is something that This Dragon has taught me about following complex charts - If you keep track of where you are by marking the row from *above* rather than from *below* then you are able to make sense of where you are sooooo much more easily! When you are knitting lace, you don’t need to know what’s going to come in future rows, but it sure is helpful to know what you did in the row below. You can look at your printed pattern, and look at your knitting, and find your bearings – something that’s not easy to do if your pattern is covered up by your marker.

Try it and you’ll see. Is this something known to everyone in the world except for me? If so, then y’all need to hang your heads in shame for not telling me sooner, because this has made all the difference in the world, and it means that I probably won’t have to rip out this project yet AGAIN!

Take a look at this handy set up. My son graciously allows me to use his music stand, and looky here
– the perfect knitting stand! There’s a place for my glasses, and for extra needles (I let them dangle in back, when I’m knitting), a nice little ledge for supporting the magnetic board, and place for a pencil and for my point protectors, which, by the way, are essential for this project. Oh the horrors – imagine if I set this down to get a cup of tea, and find that the cat has pulled the needles out of the knitting? I could cry just thinking about it.

Do they look a little odd for point protectors?
They are goofy little ear-plugs which are supposed to reduce the discomfort suffered by the child who is in an airplane. They don’t work for their intended purpose AT ALL, but they make dandy point protectors for size 2 needles, lol. (I pushed the little ceramic plug out first.)

I was bound and determined to make my own circs for this project, and while they are not the perfect solution, they work for me. I use a completely different technique for these tiny needles – maybe you’d like to learn how to make them in a size 4 or larger? Read my article in Knitter's Review for more information.

Here’s how to make them in a smaller size - -

First – find some bamboo skewers which are the size of the needle that you need. In my case, I needed a size 2 (US) and lo and behold, take a look at where I found them – in my kids’ pickup-stick box.
These silly kids never once touched these pick up sticks. What do they know? This was one of my favorite games as a child… anyway – the sticks are a perfect size 2, and the whole set, the box and all was only one dollar! Imagine that!

Select two sticks which are nice and smooth. Pare down each side of one end, as shown.
I drilled the tiny holes with a tiny screw driver, which you see on the left of the picture. My first attempts were drilled by twirling an Xacto knife blade to make the hole – as you see on the far right, and in the center, but it made a funnel-shaped hole, due to the shape of the blade, and it took away too much of the bamboo, which made the needle too weak in this spot. The tiny screwdriver works *perfectly*, so this is what I’ll use from now on. The screwdriver hole is the one on the left.

Thread the cording* as shown,
pull it tight, then wrap all in my old favorite Plumber’s tape, and you are ready for business. Oh – wait – you have to carve the points. For this project – my lace dragon and all of those knit 2 togethers and so on, I made the points really long and really sharp. Sand everything smooth with 2000 grit sandpaper and *then* thread the cording and wrap and so on. *NOTE – this is plain old sewing thread in the photo – I ran out of cording, read about it below…

The cording that I used for these needles is called “Tattu Magic,”
which my daughter bought at Hobby Lobby some time ago. I used the last of her batch (Oh my goodness would you look at that – another spindle whorl, lol) so I went back to Hobby Lobby for more. They don’t have it, and no one would admit that they ever sold it in the first place. They all, basically, called me a crazy person. I was not impressed. I was also desperate, so I bought this stuff called “C-thru” and it works in a desperate pinch, but it is not the best stuff. It is a braided nylon cord which is made for beading. It threads back and forth through the holes, and it sits quietly, waiting to be wrapped up in plumber’s tape much better than does the tattu magic, but it’s too wimpy to stand at attention when I am pushing the knitted stuff from the cord and onto the needle. But, it’s not terribly bad, and I’ll probably use this needle for something. Neither the C-thru or the Tattu Magic would work for larger needles, but they are mildly acceptable for these tiny needles. I need to find something else – something stiffer… any ideas? How thick is Fishing Line? I think that something about 0.5 mm-0.7mm would do the trick.

Notice that all of my needles feature a red end and a blue end. This is my high tech needle signaling method, lol. When I am holding the blue needle end in my left hand, then I’m ready to knit a right side row. When I’m holding the red needle in my left hand, then I’m ready to knit a wrong side row. Swift, eh? I know that some of you out there, who are way past me in the knitting arts are scratching your heads, trying to figure out how this can be of any importance at all, but let me tell you – us Kindergarten Knitters don’t always know, and it’s nice to have a little help, that’s all I’m saying. I’m really happy to have this little crutch. When I’m knitting on this dark plum lacy stuff in the late evening hours with my 47 year old eyes, well, I’m not always 100% sure which side is facing me. All of you youngsters – go ahead and laugh. Your day will come. Heh heh…

On this pair of circs, a little hole developed in the tape, revealing a hole in the needle
and as I’m knitting back and forth, looking at this little hole… looking at this little hole…. looking at this little hole… wondering why I’m wondering about this little hole… and wouldn’t you know – that little hole piped up and said to me, “Hey! What are you waiting for! Thread some dental floss through me and I’ll run a life line for you!” What a totally nice little hole! It works perfectly!

I used it with some dental “tape” which threaded through the hole very nicely, because the tape is rather stiff. But, it is soooooo curly, and not satisfactory for a life line. So, I made a little threader out of the tape, and used it to pull the dental floss through. The dental floss is too soft to poke through the hole. These pictures tell the story.

(The pointy end of the needle is to the left of the photo) See how the dental floss has been pulled through the whole of the knitting? See how simple? Yoohoo, all of you Knit Picks Options owners – your needles feature a built in little hole…

I nearly fainted from the joy of how terribly easy this is!!! Running a life line without a tapestry needle! Oh the Joy!

After about row 51, it became *seriously* apparent that a life line is necessary. After reaching row 51 for the THIRD TIME - - yes, I knitted to row 51, ripped out, knitted to row 51, ripped out, and then I figured that maybe I need to get into the habit of running a life line, lol. The thought of threading a tapestry needle and then picking up all of these stitches left me pale, so… you can imagine my glee when I figured out this little life line trick. ALL of my needles will soon feature little life-line holes! So easy to drill them – so easy to use them. Yay! Just knit across – push all of the knitting past the hole through which the dental floss is threaded, pull the dental floss out far enough to tie up the two ends, then push the knitting back to the end of the needle. Nice….. (You might be so sharp eyed that you noticed that I threaded it through backwards for this photo. This row was already knitted, so I ran the floss through afterwards, which meant that the knitting needed to be pushed towards the needle point. If I had threaded the floss through before the row was knitted, then the knitting would have been threaded onto the floss by pushing the knitting onto the cable, get it?)

Once again, is this one of those common knowledge things? If so, then why hasn’t anyone ever told ME?

All of this babbling, and I’ve not yet shown you my progress on my little dragon. Here she is –

…not too far just yet, but we have high hopes.

So, now that I have this all figured out, I am going to put it aside to knit a gift for a VERY special person. Hey – I have LOADS of Initiative, but very little Finishitive… sigh… but, this is a gift-giving opportunity that I can’t let pass me by, and I *always* finish knitting projects which are for others… Anyway, I have some fingering weight Cashmere in the color “Brighton Rock.” (Click here for a link to an ebay auction featuring this particular yarn. Lovely merchant is Richard at Colourmart, by the way. I highly recommend doing business with him.) I would like to knit a nice, lacy scarf for this very special someone, so, if you have any recommendations, please let me know ASAP! I want this to be really special. Really special. Off to study my Barbara Walker Treasuries… What is a good length for a neck scarf for a tall lady – she’s about 5’7” or 5’8” or so. Any suggestions for this project?

Look at my knitting-photo-session entertainment –


Emma has had only 3 cello lessons so far, and gosh, she’s playing REALLY well! (Anyone has a nice cello for sale? Seriously – if you are in Southern Colorado or Northern New Mexico, and you have a nice instrument for sale, then let’s talk.)


Carolyn said...

Cello? No help there. But I've always wanted to learn to play cello. I loved the intro to Airwolf.

I've only ever run a lifeline once, and that was with dental tape, and through the tightening hole of my interchangeables. I can't imagine using a tapestry needle to run one. It would make seaming seem like a great use of knitting time, in comparison. Then again, I tend to not *need* a lifeline, so I probably have a jaded opinion of them. I've never tackled anything like your dragon... that may change my mind.

Sorry for not mentioning the bit about reading charts from the bottom up. (As opposed to from 'where you're at, on up'). It really does help.

Scarf ideas: I've heard you should make the scarf as long as the person is tall. How about the Beech Leaf Pattern (p. 216, blue book) with the Beech Leaf edging (p. 362, red book)?

knotingale said...

Using the hole for the dental floss is a good idea. Boye Interchangeables have a hole, too, so it would work with them. However, the few times I've used a lifeline, I just tied a slipknot in the end of the floss, put it over the tip of my needle, and pulled it through (while knitting, of course). That way, I was able to take the slipknot off the needles tip whenever I came to a stitch marker. If I didn't, the lifeline would be threaded through my stitch markers--not good.
Actually, I have found that I have no interest in frogging back. A stubborn preference for tinking back, even several rows, hundreds of stitches has made lifelines useless to me.
I hardly knit anything without stitch markers, though.
Good luck with your dragon. I'm sure it will be stunning.

Pensguys said...

Wow! What a set up you have! That's great!

You know, I just found out about marking my chart from above vs. below about 2 weeks ago...I'm still getting used to it, but it does make sense.

Rosemary said...

Thanks all! This is the very first time I've ever *needed* or *wanted* a lifeline, so I didn't know the proper method, lol. The author warned me to use frequent lifelines, and it took only three rip-outs before I decided to take her word for it. Yes, I'm usually hardheaded this way.

Carolyn, great minds think alike! Thanks for the tip about the height-length relationship, and yes, I am indeed thinking of one of the leaf patterns, as I really like all of them. Thanks for the affirmation.