This pattern helps me, however, by getting a big chunk of the work out of the way in a stockinette base. Stockinette makes good television knitting—I barely have to look down anymore. I’ve gotten quite fast on the knit side, thanks to my continental skills, but I have yet to master a decent continental purl. No matter how I try, I just can’t get the hang of it. Some knitters counsel me to come down over the top of the picked yarn, but that twists the stitches and makes for problems for me. Others champion the “finger down approach” (for lack of a better name), but my index finger always cramps up after a certain number of stitches. I have another friend who pulls the yarn down with her thumb, but I’ve never been able to master that at all. And so I chug along, speedily knitting my way through the right side and not-so-speedily purling my way through the wrong side. There are worse fates. But I do worry my speed here will only make those growing final rows feel that much longer.
Don’t get me wrong—there are definite plus sides here. Malabrigo Sock truly is a delightful fiber, with wondrous colors and the perfect amount of elasticity. This isn’t the first shawl I’ve made from Sock and I doubt it will be the last. The weight is marvelously seasonless—light enough for summer but with enough heft to allow it winter appearances as well.
Kudos to designer Mindy Wilkes for giving both written and chart instructions for the lace section. I often prefer the chart, but in this case I think I’ll start out with the written directions. And I’m no idiot—I’ll be using stitch markers and safety lines to ensure I don’t meet with disaster. Or, more precisely, that I can save myself when I do.