September 6, 2015

It's Going to Be Full Of Stars

With the sucess of finally doing and finishing Xeina behind me, I decided to start another I-planned-to-do-this-and-bought-the-yarn-ages-ago project:

Yes, I ended up using DPNs in the beginning.  It turns out while Magic Loop works for starting, it doesn't once you get a few rows in -- it puts too much pressure at the corners with only two points.
This is Celestarium.  It's a pi shawl.  Why am I doing another shawl?  Well, because this one's a freaking star chart of the northern sky in knitted form.

Honestly, since this was the other yarn purchase I screwed up on and got the wrong weight for (using sport weight yarn for a fingering weight shawl...because who knew a yarn with socks in the name would be sport weight?), it may come out bigger than planned.  This works because I'm not planning to wear it. If it's big enough, I'll most likely use it as a blanket, or do what my boyfriend suggests and hang it up as a wall decoration.  Especially if I, um, borrow the edging pattern idea from this lovely person (I'm a sucker for infinity cables).

If you're familiar with the pattern, you might have noticed that I've adapted it a bit.  I decided to not do the yarn overs that were paired with the beads. I want it to look like the sky.  Let me tell you, this makes it so much simpler as well; I don't have to worry about one star over two rows, I just have to find the stitch to put the bead on.

However, I upped the complexity a bit by also deciding to the luminosity version, which is the one where someone marked all the starts by their luminosity rating so that you could use different bead sizes for each rating. But it's actually not all that complex.  If you're planning to do this, here's the trick: take an couple of hours to go through the charts and color each bead by the colors in the luminosity chart (this works if your doing the different color version as well, or both). Write a chart matching color to the bead size you're using. Ta da, don't have to worry about it again:

Of course, I ran into a snag where I couldn't get enough different bead sizes to do all the luminosities. Hell, the 6/0 beads are a pain to string on the stitch with this yarn, since it's thicker, and you can only go so big.  So I'm using the 6/0 beads for the lowest two luminosities, then scaling up. Also, watch out for total bead size vs hole size; I actually have to flip the 5/0 and the 4/0 mappings because while the hole is bigger in the 4/0s, the 5/0s I bought are bigger beads overall.

Despite all this, it's actually a rather simple pattern. It's mostly knit, knit, bead, knit, knit, knit... The only trick is looking at the chart and knowing where the next bead needs to be placed, which of course is easy if you put a set of stitch markers every 20 stitches in the circle, and mark where they are on the chart. This makes the thought process go: 'OK, my next bead is two stitch markers and 13 stitches away'. Boom, get there, put bead, look where next one is. And there are rows where it's mostly knits.

The only demoralizing thing is that I got this far so quickly and I'm on the second to last section, but now I'm slowing down (because pi shawl: the stitch count doubles when you double the rows). Also, looking it up?  Less than 10% done, of course.

It doesn't help when this happens:

This is my parent's cat, Atticus. Why the cat decided to sit there when there was a whole rest of the chair available is the mystery every cat owner has.

It also doesn't help that the yarn keeps dumping dye on my hands, so every time I have to put it down, I have to go wash my hands:

Yeah, I've never had a yarn do this to me. Bleed when washed? Sure, all the time.  Bleed a little on my hands? Yeah, once.  Make it so half my hand is discolored? Never.  The color is worth it, however.  It really does look like a night sky.