I have knit lots more rounds of the Hemlock Ring blanket since my last post. I’m now up to Round 38 of Jared’s chart (I guess this corresponds to Round 84 of the original pattern), and the behemoth 250-gram, 478-yard centerpull yarn ball is finally nearing its end and collapsing in on itself.

Additional props to the Rainey Sisters for their notes and PDF: once I made it past the error in Round 35, I got to the Feather and Fan section and went to print out Jared’s chart so I could highlight the rounds I’d completed. Because I am apparently a technological moron, every time I saved the chart from Flickr and tried to print it, it came out tiny and illegible, and I couldn’t seem to get it to any kind of normal size. The Rainey Sisters PDF came to the rescue with flying colors! It has a chart key on the same page, too, and includes the original pattern in the PDF so you don’t have to print it out separately. Ladies, thank you.

I’m still really enjoying the endless feather-and-fan–it was a good project to bring to knit night, because of how it’s mostly just stockinette in the round. Also, after I kept getting paranoid that my increases and decreases had shifted over by half a repeat, and suspiciously counting the YO eyelets and trying to spread out considerably more than 40″ of crumpled lace to lie flat on the 40″ needles, Nicole helpfully suggested that I use stitch markers to keep track of where I was. If I were at home instead of having met my knitting group, I’d probably still be sitting here counting, re-counting, and grumbling.

I had never really thought of Feather and Fan as being the kind of lace pattern that might give someone problems, since it’s super-easy and one of the simplest ones out there, but since the number of plain stitches, increases, and decreases varies on every pattern row as the Hemlock Ring expands, I had to tink back a few times after letting my mind wander and reverting back to the increase/decrease pattern from the previous lace round, getting towards the end of the round, and realizing–heeeeeey, that doesn’t match up. It also doesn’t have the really strong geometric lines that some lace patterns do, that would immediately flag a mismatch between the current round and previous ones. (In fact, even the flowery center part of the Hemlock Ring, despite the more complicated nature of the lace, has for the most part really strong and easy-to-read increase and decrease lines, so I did realize there was a problem right away with Round 35 because it was clear that the decreases were not stacking up properly when I followed the pattern as written.)

I had already drawn a vertical line down the middle of the chart to divide it in half, so half the YOs are on the left and half on the right, to mark the beginning of the round, since the round begins in the middle of a lace repeat. I made markers from pieces of scrap yarn and placed them at this location on every repeat: 8 markers total, 1 of which was my original end-of-round marker, a different color from the rest of them.

Now (as is standard practice with using stitch markers in lace), as I begin each set of increases, I count to make sure I have the right number preceding the marker; slip the marker, make sure I have the right number of increases following it, and then work the plain sts (as needed) and the decreases, and I can tell by the time I get to the next marker if I’ve messed up the pattern.

It feels like it’s going really fast, although I am told that is just a cruel illusion, since the rounds get longer and longer. Since it’s my Mindless Knitting project, though, I have high hopes that it will get done reasonably soon and with a minimum of soul-crushing tedium. I do wish I could spread the whole thing out flat to look at it. Right now it’s like a giant lace bag, or some kind of weird sea creature (Emilee compared hers to urchins and anemones, but it kind of reminds me of an jellyfish at the moment, perhaps because of the color.)

In other knitting news:

Bad news: there was a fire yesterday night at the Malabrigo mill. They posted on their site that “Even though our floor did not catch fire, it seems there is substantial damage on our mill and offices caused by the soot and smoke.” I hope nobody was hurt and that they’re up and running again soon.

Good news: I’m really excited about Norah Gaughan Volume 3. Norah has been posting sneak peeks of her designs on Ravelry, in her projects, and discussing them in the Norah Gaughan group. They’re hosted on Flickr, so you don’t have to be a member of Ravelry to see them. I think one of these design stories is totally beautiful and appealing–look at Eastlake:

And Loppem:

Those are my two favorites of the ones she’s shown so far. Calvert is pretty nice too:

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