Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Rendezvous in Lace

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” ― Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib
I have this vague memory of something I said a couple of months ago. It went something like, "I have a hankering for a complicated lace knitting pattern." It was sometime after finishing my Big Comfy Sweater, after knitting hours and hours of plain stockinette stitch in the round.

I must stop living in these extremes.

I finished my Rendevous Shawl yesterday and got it on the blocking boards last night.  I don't knit many of these "bottom up" shawls, so I'm not used to starting off with hundreds and hundreds of stitches and working my way to just a handful. This project was a long, sluggish trudge at the beginning. I felt more optimistic after the first few weeks, and then all of a sudden, I was finished. It was like I woke up from a dream with a finished shawl in my hands. It was startling.

I was particularly amazed at how I reached the final rows. I can't fathom how a pattern writer would know that I would end up with the prescribed 55 stitches after working 46 rows of a complicated pattern with decreases and wrapped stitches. I kept trying to predict how it would end, but like any great mystery, I simply couldn't. And like any great mystery, I simply marvelled at how it all turned out. This knitting thing... it must be witchcraft.

But then, what does that make me?

I usually have such a hard time blocking these large shawls, mostly because I don't really think it through before I start sticking pins onto a pile of wet knitting. This time, I actually figured out how I was going to place this thing before I got out all the wires and pins. After that, it went surprisingly quickly onto the boards.

I moved it out onto the deck this morning to let it completely dry:

And then I took it off the boards and marvelled again at its beauty. The colour was hard to photograph. It's sort of a dark coral pink:

I really love Lily Go's patterns. They remind me of Art Deco or Art Nouveau architecture, and they satisfy my love of complex lace patterns, however long they might take me to finish. I am particularly astonished at how the wrapped stitches created those ridged arcs. I feel like I'm looking at calla lilies and bridges at the same time:

As usual, I was afraid I'd run out of yarn, but Lily's genius predicted almost precisely how much yarn I would use for 12 repeats. I actually have some left over, which would typically annoy me, but I'm actually ok with having about 60 yards left. After all, I still have a substantial shawl to show for all my efforts:

I am thrilled, as you can see:

I'm very proud of this shawl. I'm also feeling really proud to be able to work my way through these complicated projects and to see them through the end. I think that's what makes yarn people different from other people: we have this willingness to sit through the discomfort of not knowing how it will all turn out. 

That sounds suspiciously like a metaphor for life.

And so.... now on to something else to divert my attention. I thought about pulling out a summer cotton to make a simple knitted tee... or maybe I could try another shawl pattern with a skein of sock yarn... or maybe...

Maybe something completely different. Let's see how this one goes: 

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