I love color. I love lace. The two together are even better. Right? Wrong.
Prompted by my good friend Kim, who is attempting lace for the first or nearly first time, and my need to take a break from the recent abundance of sock knitting, I cast on for the Swallowtail Shawl.
As with most lace projects, it’s a bit of yarn blob right now.
Swallowtail Shawl Blob
The yarn is a laceweight 80% alpaca / 20% silk, hand dyed by Gail the Kangaroo Dyer.
The yarn is lovely – soft and silky, just yummy. The colors are dazzling. The problem, I think, is that the lovely yarn is competing too much with the lovely pattern. Apart – beautiful. Together – kind of ugly Betty. Maybe the answer is (gasp!) ripping and restarting with a solid color yarn.
A quick trip to the stash uncovered these.
- Pretty solid color lace yarn
They are all from KnitPicks, from left to right, Alpaca Cloud (100% Baby Alpaca) in Moss and Iris, and Shadow (100% Merino) in Sunset.
Oh decisions! I’m off to rip.
The thing I love about lace knitting lace is that moment when the pattern “clicks”. For me, every new lace project is both a joy and a struggle. The happy moments are when I’m selecting a lace pattern and choosing just the right yarn. I’m also happy as I set up my charts, copying and resizing for my 42 year-old eyes, highlighting the repeats, and arranging it all on my KnitPicks Chart Keeper. Fiber and needles in hand, the cast on begins and my optimism remains.
The struggle usually begins about two or three pattern repeats in. One moment, all is going well, and then suddenly I come to the end of a row and realize something is wrong. Maybe there are two extra stitches or not enough. Whatever the case, I’ve made a mistake and the now the frustration begins. Slowly I unknit each stitch on a hunt to find my error. Sometimes the tinking is short and the error appears quickly. A missed YO or an extra knit stitch. Other times, the tinking continues for rows, the errant stitch cunningly hiding from my squinting eyes, until I throw up my hands in defeat and frog the whole darn thing.
This has happened with every lace project I’ve ever knit. And every time I ask myself why do I continue with this lace knitting. The answer to “Why do I do this?” is because I love that moment when when my brain “clicks” and the secret code of the pattern reveals itself to me. I can suddenly see the paired increases and decreases. I can see the structure of the pattern, the center line and the edge stitches. I am comfortable enough with the code to confidently knit each row with just a quick glance at the pattern. No longer to I need to hold the chart in a white-knuckled death grip as I go.
This time the “click” happened as I sped down the tracks from Providence to New York City on the Amtrak Acela Express. Maybe because I was sitting in the quiet car, away from the distractions of cell phones and where conversations couldn’t raise above a whisper, I was finally able to focus my attention completely on my knitting and decipher the code.
Some people drink. This is what I’ve been doing to keep my sanity while watching the Red Sox get spanked repeatedly by the Yankees. Sigh.
With the whipping winds and falling temperatures, now is the time to pull the winter woolies from the storage bin.
But who wants to wear boring old black gloves, when there is mysterious fuschia yarn just screaming to be knit? Not me! I started this glove on Saturday, and look what I’ve accomplished. Only a thumb and three fingers to go! Well, and another whole glove, but you know what I mean.
It’s based on Cigar, but since I only smoke cigars when I’m in Aruba, and there’s not much need for wool gloves in Aruba, my version will have complete fingers.
I’m using 5 inch Brittany dpns, which were a gift from my Secret Pal. These are the coolest little needles ever. They fit perfectly in my hand and make me feel like a knitting speed demon as I whiz through round after round. (Check out their site for some interesting old knitting photos.)
Thanks for nice comments on yesterday’s Friday Harbor socks. They are made of KnitPicks sock landscape, Cape Cod. I used a size 2 needle, but next time I think I’ll try a 3. I like the finished socks, but they are a little snug.