There's not much progress to show on the Mystery Einband. I've been knitting a surprise for someone, sort of. I'm not as far along with it as I'd like to be. Busy with work.
After reading Fleegle's post about purl decreases, I got to thinking. If I knit the ssk's the way you're supposed to - ie. slip 2 stitches knitwise and knit them together through the back loop rather than simply knitting 2 stitches together through the back loop - will it result in a more pleasant knit on a lace pattern like the Small Trees? Turns out that it will!
Remember how I said that the Small Trees pattern was driving me mad? How I said it was boring? Well, it was also hard. Hard to catch 2 stitches together for some of the ssk's and k2tog's. D-mned hard when one stitch is a yo and the next is a knit stitch that has been done on top of a twisted yo.
I tried knitting more loosely - really relaxing - and that helped to some degree, but I just wasn't getting the lovely flowing experience that you get with the Russian patterns where it's all knit all the time.
I'll admit that in the past, I've scoffed at the need to do complex decreases when you're knitting with such thin yarn. It seems to me that nobody except the most eagle eyed knitter will be able to see the difference. OKAY, I do accept that sometimes you want a stitch to be lying to the left or lying to the right, but I couldn't see why you'd care exactly how you get it that way. So it twists the stitches, big deal. Who's going to be able to tell the difference on a yarn that is 50 wpi?
Well, after some thought and experimentation, I learned what millions of lace knitters before me must already have known - IT MAKES IT EASIER TO KNIT THE NEXT ROW!
Yes, I had seen Mim's tutorial on Directional Decreases and I had seen Knitterguy's super post on different kinds of decreases too (can't find it now - drat!) but I had gone on knitting the ssk my own lazy way.
Will it look different? Well. Since I did the first border and the center of the shawl the wrong way and am now doing the second border the correct way, it will soon be clear. I'll be able to pin the two sections up to the window valance and peer at them closely. I'm betting that the difference will be minimal and won't be a problem aesthetically. I may be wrong. I'll let you know.
In the garden, the critters have eaten all the lettuce. The strawberries are doing well, but as soon as one ripens it's carried off to be neatly consumed on the top of the picnic table. I know this, because whoever or whatever is doing it leaves the tops behind. I'm probably growing fruit and veg for a squirrel and then cleaning up after it.
Fortunately, what/whoever is not interested in my other offerings - radishes, cilantro, cucumber, tomato or rhubarb - at least not yet.