Sunday, May 31, 2009


There are a couple of things that you need to know about me before moving forward....

1. I am heinously bad at math, so bad. If Baby Daddy was not a genius, my teenager would be up the creek with regard to help in math, especially given that she is enrolled in college level calculus (while in high school) and I never made it out of Algebra - in COLLEGE.

2. I am freakishly obsessive about numbers and amounts. Not like I can dump a box of toothpicks on the floor and figure out how many there are but just obsessive. I think about numbers and amounts in the middle of the night, when all good mommies should be sleeping. I think about things like how much yarn I have for a project or how far along I am in a project or if I complete 4 rows a day, I will be done by Labor Day. Not only do I focus on these types of issues when I should be sleeping, I oftentimes dream about them as well. And I talk to Baby Daddy about them when he comes to bed and I am half-awake. Poor man. (Don't lie...some of you do these things as well.) I do not try not to read knitting, spinning, felting, crafting or cooking books before bed. Doing so is like a firestarter for my brain.

3. I tend to not move forward with something half-cocked. I plan. I plan a lot. Sugarbee says I am her only friend that plans what to write in her diary (blog). It is true. Comical but true.

4. I get up at 5 a.m. (we leave at 8 a.m. for school and work) - I do yoga and I set aside half an hour to knit on a long term project - this month it is the Hanami Stole.

5. I am six feet tall with a proper Irish potato farmer build. Dainty knitting projects look simply ridiculous on me.

Moving on....forthwith....

I had recently re-organized my Ravelry queue for the twenty-billionith time and was in the process of matching up favorited projects with yarn in my stash. My goal was to establish a more realistic queue of future knitting goals rather than a 17 page queue (with 20 projects on each page). One's queue should not be more than one can knit in a lifetime. I came across this KnitPicks Palette that I have had for years. I love the color and I love the ply of the yarn - it is really lovely. I just knew the yarn and its color would be a great match for the Hanami. As such, I started the Hanami Stole in March 2009.

I have been enamoured with the Hanami Stole since its release in February 2007. On Ravelry, there are almost 700 projects listed, 340 of which are finished! See link below for a gallery of all Hanami Stoles listed in Ravelry. This completion ratio is impressive for a lace stole. For example, one of the best loved lace projects, EZ's Pi Shawl, has a 50% completion rate. In contrast, many of the other stoles and lace projects which were so popular in 2007 do not have such a high completion rate.

The range of colors that work with the pattern is astounding. I actually love the soft pink that the pattern was designed in but I did not have any pink lace yarn. I did consider doing a black lace version but decided against this because it would be super hard on my eyes. The black lace weight will sit it out this round.
(Black lace weight Alpaca Cloud from KnitPicks.
Gorgeous - black with flecks of green but killer on the eyes.)

Although the Palette yarn is not lace weight, I assumed I would have enough yarn as the pattern calls for 900 yards and I have about 1,400 yards of the Palette. My plan was to increase the size of the Stole based on the designer's suggestions for additional repeats of certain charts. The designer provides clear instruction on how to lengthen the Stole within proper proportions. This is brilliant. But....then....I started to overthink things - which is totally in keeping with my freakish obsessive nature. (See things you should know about me #2 above.)

First (refer to things you should know about me #1 above): I wanted to know how many rows the Stole would require so I could have a map of my progress throughout the project. Don't ask me why I couldn't simply use the progression through the charts as a litmus (i.e. 4 out of 15 total chart repeats). I needed/wanted row counts. After a number of calculations (again in keeping with #1 above), I came up with 814 (including additional charts/rows for a longer Stole).

I began knitting on the Stole in earnest during May (refer to things you should know about me #4 above). The worry set in when I started my second ball (of six) because I was only about an eighth of the way into the project. Even to a math idiot, there is obviously a problem. This kind of worry eats at me. (refer to thing you should know about me #2 above).

So, this morning, when I got up at 5 a.m., I started to calculate. Now, if I had been PicnicKnits, I would have been done in 5 seconds. However, because I am me (again, see #1 above), it took me 4 different times, using 2 different weights (ounces and grams) to figure the simple math of whether I would have enough yarn for the longest version.

The pattern (regular 70" length is basically broken down into 15 sections of chart, each of which are 32 rows apiece. I have completed 4 of the 15 repeats.

I weighed the Stole (with needles): 75 grams.
I weighed a pair of Addis: 10 grams.

4 repeats: 65 grams.

Each repeat will take 16.25 grams.
Therefore, the Stole will require 243.75 grams for the basic 70" version.

OK...good, I have 300 grams.

I then figured that to upsize the pattern a bit, I would need enough for 2 more repeats: an additional 32.50 grams which means 276.25 grams total.

OK....good, I have 300 grams.

You do not want to know how long it took me to get to these numbers. I am truly ashamed.

I need the Stole to be longer than the 70"(refer to thing syou should know about me #5 above). I am relieved glad that I can do SOME lengthening. But how much length will I end up with? Well, crap, that is an additional set of numbers I need to work, too. I am not really worried about that number as much because I can block it to death if I want (or not....).

This is one time that my worrying and planning have paid off. If I had gotten much farther in the pattern, I would have run out of yarn and then be faced with ripping back a project that I had spent an inordinate amount of time on.

Let's talk about the gorgeousness of this pattern. I am currently working the first chart which is a basketweave pattern. Do you see the lovely way the decreases lie on the fabric giving it texture and direction? I love that. The designer uses a left leaning decrease that I do not typically use (slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over) but this stitch gives a really clean and delineated decrease as seen above. I am having some difficulty establishing muscle memory in working this decrease - but it will come. I have 700+ rows to do so. There are a couple of rows in the basketweave chart that are a bit fussy (you have to move markers, etc.) but the end result is worth it. Another bit of praise of the designer: she gives the knitter notice of these shifts in the introduction. This way, when the stitch counts don't match up, there is no panic. OK, there is some panic and then I remember.

I also really like knitting with fingering weight for the Stole in place of lace weight (although I love working with lace weight). The knitting is easier because the stitches are more obvious. The knitted fabric seems more substantial. The color and hue are awesome but as mentioned above, I have not seen a project or FO which did not work. I can see the Stole in a deep mandarin orange. Oh. Oh my. Well, crap.

ON THE NEEDLES: Clapotis and Hanami
ON THE BOOKSHELF: The Graveyard Book by Gaiman
ON THE iPOD: NPR - Talk of the Nation podcast
ON THE TABLE: Leftover pizza


  1. You're too funny! For someone who is "bad at math" you sure do spend a lot of time doing it.

    And I love the term "completion ratio"! How perfect!

  2. well CRAP! i left you a comment and then got zapped by google!!!

    (sigh) ... i love the hanami stole, but i'm not allowed to start it because i have 3 other shawls on the needles. i should at least finish one before casting on another (perhaps)!

    i've made a few shawls from the kp palette though, and i would certainly use it again. i like their palette, shadow, and alpaca cloud.