Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's a mystery

MS4 is not going well for me. This is not the fault of the designer at all, it's totally a me thing. I'm not feeling happy with my choices, or my work.

I was kind of doubting myself already after a conversation with the SO's mom on Thursday, and then I looked at some pictures on Ravelry of people who had completed clue one (IN ONE DAY - I mean, it was only 30 rows, but still - all those freaking beads) and there was one in yellow with sort of topaz beads that was absolutely beautiful and I started to have a freakout over whether my bead choice was really a good idea. Most people seems to be doing tone on tone from the pictures I've seen. My yarn is blue and my beads are white (technically, 'old ivory,' but whatever, they're white), and I was just worried. I did swatch, but the beads were spread out across my swatch, not grouped together the way they are on the real thing, and I'm thinking that all that white so close to each other is a little overpowering.

I was maybe four or five rows into it - maybe six or eight if you count the cast on and setup rows. I thought about ripping back and using the gold-lined blue beads I had, but they just wouldn't show up hardly at all, and the SO resisted all my attempts to get him to go out in the rain with me to a bead store I found in Arlington (wuss - it was just a freaking tropical storm) to look at other bead options. He argued that we would be out that direction anyway on Sunday and I made him promise to take me if I was still unhappy with the beads on Sunday (yes, I know, I could've gone myself, but I had a feeling I would need somebody who would eventually get tired and go JUST PICK SOMETHING WOMAN or else I would be meebling around the store all day).

I also had problems with the yarn. I've had several problems with it tangling in the ball. I've had that happen before with yarn that I've wound, but I've never had an issue before with yarn wound at the store. It is really, really annoying me.

Then, I've had problems working with it on the needles. Normally with laceweight yarn (and silk yarn) I use wooden needles, but moving the stitches on the needle, especially the beaded stitches, was torture. I finally got a clue and switched to metal needles and the relief was immediate - stuff actually moves normally up and down. It's odd for silk to be this grippy, but maybe it is because Tussah silk?

Anyway, so that made it better, but the beading process also started getting to me a little. I started out using a very tiny crochet hook, but it's so tiny I can't catch both plies of the yarn with it, so I was snagging the heck out of my yarn. When we went out to dinner I bought some Oral B superfloss and tried the superfloss method. That is working better, but it's still a very tedius process. Worse, the stitches around the beaded area look AWFUL. It's so depressing. It's not the beaded stitches themselves that are the problem, but the column of stitches to the left of any beads is really wide and ladder-like. It's tempting to frog the whole thing and start over, but then I would have to rebead all that stuff, and I think I would go crazy.

Fortunately, the volume of beads on this chart suggests that the beading will taper off somewhat after the second clue. This makes sense as beading on the ends gives some weight to the piece to help it drape properly, while beading in the middle should be light so as not to make the piece droop where it isn't supposed to. So I'll grit my teeth and power through and hope the bad-looking stitches will tighten up in blocking. They should - I'm mostly annoyed because I can't figureout what I'm doing that's making them look so loosey goosey. I'm eyeing the beads with suspicion...maybe the way they strangle the stitches makes those stitches take up less yarn, so the slack ends up in the neighboring stitches? No telling.

After discussing it with the SO last night (he did his best to understand and be helpful, but his approaches are largely to conservative for my impulsive self), I have decided to finish the first clue. Then I am going to swatch again, but this time, I'm going to swatch one of the beaded diamonds, with different beads. I have, since the first, regretted not ordering a particular set of beads that my imagination has convinced me would have been perfect, so I finally sucked it up and ordered them and a couple of other possibilities. Hopefully, they will arrive by the time I finish this clue. If I like the swatch better, better enough to make it worth it, I will go ahead and knit clue one that way. If I still like it, I will frog the first attempt and reknit it.

I hope to finish the clue tonight. I have activities for the rest of the week, so I should be occupied until the new beads come.

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