Sunday, June 20, 2010

Evenstar is blocking!

Finally, finally, my Evenstar Shawl is blocking.

This shawl was quite the adventure. It was one of those mystery shawl knitalongs that I so enjoy. In case you don't know what this means, it means that you sign up before you even know what the pattern will look like, then every two weeks you get a clue that gives you a little more of the pattern. I really enjoy these because it's pretty much a guarantee that the shawl will keep changing the whole time you knit it. Not a lot of repetition.

These KALs tend to make me a little competitive (although I try not to show it in the forums and stuff) but I was less competitive for this one than I sometimes am. There were 7 clues, and when they were released, I was sometimes caught up, sometimes a little behind. If I remember correctly, I didn't actually start until clue 2 or 3. I managed to be behind when the errors were discovered in the clues, so they didn't really affect me.

I kind of want to say something about the errors. In every mystery KAL I've been in (I think) there have been a few errors. I think this is just a byproduct of the system. For most knitting patterns, by the time they reach you, they have been test knitted, proofread, and knit by dozens or hundreds of other knitters over the course of weeks or months before you even start. These test knitters and dozens of knitters at home have found errors and talked to the designer and have worked out all the kinks. Mystery KALs are not like this. Generally speaking, they have been test knit, but the number of test knitters has to be small in order to keep everything secret. Then, all of a sudden, the KAL starts and hundreds of knitters are knitting the shawl all at the same time. Many are chomping at the bit and start knitting each clue the moment it appears in their inboxes. This means that when the inevitable error happens, it happens to dozens of knitters at once, and that generally means that somebody is going to make a stink about it. They say mean things about the designer, and the designer feels bad and cries and maybe thinks about not doing any more mystery KALs.

To the knitters of mystery KALs, I say: stop being mean! A seemingly large number of errors is a natural part of the process, because of the reasons I listed above. If you are going to get that worked up about errors in your patterns, you need to consider not doing mystery KALs, and only knitting from patterns that many people have knitted before you. You are negatively affecting my life by making some of my favorite designers not want to do mystery KALs any more. What you should do is be prepared for errors: put in lifelines, maybe don't start the clue the moment it comes out, prepare yourself mentally. And if you find an error, tell the designer and the community in a nice way so that we can all benefit from your eye for detail. That's my position on this whole issue.

As far as this KAL, I had a really good time doing it, mostly. The design is just gorgeous. It was my (approximately) my first time knitting a circular shawl, and it did become tedious when there were 560 stitches on the needles. For me, the worst part was the border. It was worked perpendicular to the rest of the shawl, and for each of the 560 stitches, I had to knit two border rows and place 5 beads. Slooooow going, and repetitive. It took me about a month and a half just to do the border -- a month and a half of knitting, getting bored, taking a break for two weeks, and then starting again. It made the end of the KAL kind of anticlimactic, but I am overjoyed now that the border is done.

Now the shawl is blocking, and all I can do is wait and hope that it will dry before we want to use the bed for sleeping. All of the pictures you've seen so far are during blocking. Here's a pre-blocking picture for your enjoyment: