Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Learning to Lace

It all started with this, and this.

I had wanted to knit a thank you gift for a special person. Feverishly clicking on links, I chanced upon the sites above, and images of my recipient casually draping her handknitted lace shawl while attending a glitzy dinner, starting floating across my mind.

(Incidentally, I also started dreaming of a lace shawl softly floating behind me as I walked serenely along the beaches, the light-weight warmth of the shawl shielding me from the chilly sea breeze. Yes I'm aware there is no chill in the breezes where I live, but it's my dream, honey)

So despite the fact that I didn’t know which way a ‘yarn-over’ was supposed to go, I was determined that I would learn lace. And then I will go find a chilly beach to walk on.

This is the yarn I used. G-o-r-g-e-o-u-s. Jaggerspun Zephyr (wool/tussah silk laceweight yarn) in Aegean Blue, and when it arrived I was so excited. It was soft and light, had a slight sheen, had just the right amount of ‘spring’ to it, and the color was saturated and not at all Sentosa Musical Fountain Blue as I had half-feared. All in all, a very promising beginning.

I spent days scouring the web for the perfect beginner lace pattern. It had to be easy and yet look professional when done. A fellow knitter had shown me her
Madli and she assured me that it was relatively easy. It was near the end of our conversation when she oh-so-casually slipped in, “oh & at the end you just graft it together”. Nonononono…. Grafting does not feature in my dreams, thank you very much.

So I picked a simpler pattern – Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls, took a deep breath, cast-on, and knit. And knit, and knit, and knit – for 20 whole garter stitch rows.
Where’s the lace!? I wanna learn lace!

By the end of the first lace repeat, I had a sore left thumb. I was using 3.6mm Clover metal circulars. Between the joint which kept snagging the lace weight yarn, and my tendency to strangle the stitches, I was shoving stitches past the joint more than I was knitting. But the times when I actually got to knit, was really really fun! I was hooked.

So I went to buy a pair of Addis (well, it’s either that or I spend the money on band-aids, and those are not as fun). The slight problem was that the shop only had Addis in 3.0mm. Well, I figured… I’ll just hv to learn how to knit looser.

Ouch. Wonky stitches and irregular holes

If I almost close both eyes and squint at the monitor, it looks quite pretty in a blurry way :)

I was assured that blocking would do wonders. I think people were trying to be kind.


anna said...

no it's true, blocking lace is one of the miracles of knitting. Before blocking, all lace looks a bit rumpled and lumpy - blocking it utterly transforms it, and is one of the most satisfying things you can do.

iro iro said...

thanks for your comments, anna.. your healing stole is really beautiful. i hope to be able to knit something like that someday. all the best in your book contract!