Early last week, Mithril went down for a final blocking.
Finishing the neckband became my sickbed project, while I took a turn being laid up with the illness that swept our household. (I’m still not sure if it’s a mild flu or a violent cold, but it took each of us out for about a week. I remain extremely grateful that it didn’t include tummy symptoms, and that both parents were not incapacitated at the same time.) Said neckband took a couple of tries; I don’t know if it’s the fact that my gauge is off, or that I used larger 6/0 instead of 8/0 beads, but my first attempt was too loose and flopped open. I ripped out about 3/4 of it and redid it, decreasing on every row instead of every other.
Pattern Review: After my second attempt, I think I can still say that Mithril is the most difficult pattern I have ever knit. Not because it is badly written, but because it is just complicated stuff. There are oodles of charts, and lots of places to go amiss if you are not paying careful attention. That said, there are no techniques in it that are particularly difficult for any lace knitter; the extra demand is for attentiveness, not dexterity. It is, in fact, quite well written, and aside from a couple of places where the number of rows at the end was confusing, it was very clear.
You may also want to know that I knit the large size, and it only took one skein (490 yards), despite the pattern calling for 700. Your mileage may vary; my gauge was also small and the garment came out small.
I think I understand now why beads are only included on the front of the vest, and not also on the back (despite the obvious fact that it would double the time involved). With the front being shorter than the back, the beads add weight, and help balance the garment.
I am thinking about some kind of little clasp for the front, though I don’t know what style. Maybe just a big pearl that can attach on one side and poke through the knitting on the other. (Forgive my weird expression and greasy hair below; I was in a hurry to get Jared to take pictures before he went to work.)
I think my incorporation of the lace pattern into the back short rows was successful. the line is noticeable, but I like the look of it better than if there had just been stockinette.
Yarn Review: Manos “Fino” is really beautiful stuff. The blend of silk and lace in a single is exceedingly soft, and very nice to work with. It includes subtle variations in color that never seemed to present a pooling problem in this garment. However, it does have one nasty weakness: it will absolutely felt if you even look at it wrong. The skein was slightly felted when I went to wind it, but not prohibitively so. My sister-in-law ordered a skein online, and it was so felted as to be unusable. So I would not buy this online, but only in person where the skein could be examined (and perhaps not be roughed up by the shipping process). For how ruddy expensive the stuff is ($28 MSRP), this tendency is annoying. If I had to order online, I’d stick with my old standard Madelinetosh tosh merino light, a similar-looking single. It’s cheaper and superwash, and does not tend to felt so much, though its halo may stick a bit.
The beads I used were the ultra-cheapest from Joann’s. I needed most of 2 tubes of 6/0 beads. As you might expect for such a price, the beads were all variety of shapes, but nearly all of them were useful. I just couldn’t afford anything nicer at this time, and if you are patient and keep a weather eye on store email newsletters, you can usually get free shipping and/or big discounts.
With the completion of this vest, we are finally ready to get past Michel Delving, and cross the borders of the shire into the Old Forest. The plot and the knitting start to move a little faster at this point, and head into strange and mysterious lands…