Lost in the land of Nupp
I have noticed so many lovely lace shawls on the blogs of my buddies, I decided to take the plunge and try my own. Last seen, this little beauty was nothing but a scribble (as Margene puts it) - cute eh? !
The yarn was a gift from my friend Lisa - it's 100% lace alpaca that she has hand dyed in the colorway "Paprika". I love this color - it dances among various shades of copper red to burgandy to a few spots with a golden hue - and totally lives up to it's name.
The first 14 repeats went along pretty well. Although, I admit to talking out loud, saying the stitch pattern over and over as I knit along through all the odd numbered rows. The pattern? Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark (as recently featured in Interweave Knits.)
The pattern is so well written - even a beginner like me can tackle it, and follow along........... right up the part I have affectionately title .............
"The Land of Nupps".
Thus far, I've done 2 sets of "nupp" rows, and I had to quit for the day. Not because of lack of time, nor lack of desire, but I set it aside to beg for mercy. (Last time I took a peak, there were about 16 more nupp rows.. sigh)
Here's the little nupp itself (actually there are two of them on two different rows)- close to the pin in the middle of the photo. See those little bumps (right above the green lifeline)?
What's a nupp you ask? well (since this is a publically published pattern, I can refer to it here without breaking any rules.. I hope...thanks Evelyn) On the knit row, the nupp reads: K1,yo,K1,yo,K1 all in the same stitch. Then when you go back and purl the next row, you purl those 5 stitches together.
Now we enter the Land of Nupp - often followed by crossed eyes, tongue in cheek, holding one's breath and almost ripping the thread of those 5 little stitches.
Hmmm - why, you ask?
The knit part of the stitch seems to pull tighter and tighter as you try to put the needle back through it to purl. (insert some more frustrating noises here, along with evil laughter and the words " You'll not beat me you little nupp gremlin!")
I finally resorted to digging out my size 0 dpn, and lifting the 5 stitches off the shawl needle, with the hope that I could ease them gently together without any further massacre. It worked. (and also took over an hour to purl back on that one row.)
There were many deep sighs and walks around the house after that first row of Nupp Land.
Ever the intrepid fiberwizard, I pressed on..... (are you sensing disaster.. you can relax. All stitches are still safely on the needle, and nothing's been broken anywhere close by :-). I knit the second row of nupps, and this time made the stitch enormously loose ; reasoning in my little brain that I must have just pulled too durned tight the first time. Silly me. 90% of the little nupps again pulled too tight on themselves. Aarrggh.
So I send a small plea out to my blog friends who are lace pros....... am I making the stitch incorrectly? Is there a lace-knitter's-trick-book that I can buy right away?
I suspect that I may have fated myself to a few dilemmas when I set out to knit this little beauty up in less than a month - I am so wanting to wear it to this show that is coming up within a couple more weeks.....
So thanks - in advance - for all who jump in with ideas and help. I might not be able to write back (if I don't already have your email... blogger doesn't give it to me) But please know that I will be cheering and clapping on this end.
In the mean time, I think I'll go back to my true first lace shawl (which I began somewhere around early November) This is the Bird's Nest Shawl from the wonderful little book "Folk Shawls". I've almost finished the first of the three repeats. It's a 90% silk/ 10% cashmere yarn, in the most yummy shade of soft yellow.
Looking forward to hearing from all of you, as I stitch my way through the bog in the Land of Nupps.