Unravelments and new beginnings…

September 17, 2010

Near Solstice

(C) Schoolhouse Press

Remember, some weeks ago, I posted the picture of a beautiful skein of yarn accompanied by a lovely wintery haiku? Those knitters among you who follow me on Ravelry of course noticed that the post marked the beginning of a new and very challenging knitting project: Near Solstice, a beautiful and very unusual lace shawl designed by Bridget Rorem for Schoolhouse Press. The design features the imprints of lace bird’s feet dancing on garter stitch snow, and is complemented by an intricate lace rendering of the aforementioned haiku across the top border. For several reasons I was hooked immediately. I had been pondering for some time over the beautiful airy and ethereal lace projects all those talented Ravellers knit and design, and I was wondering  how it would feel to learn something so new and so different, and to knit something complicated and fine myself [being, as you might know, a great adorer of ‘boring’ stockinette stitch projects on 4mm needles…]. However, although one can find the most amazing lace shawl patterns all over the internet [and in books, of course, as well], there was no design that actually spoke to me as immediately and directly as Near Solstice. Apart from being so much more than a simple knitting pattern [actually, I think one could consider this as a real piece of conceptual art…], it also complements my usual dress style perfectly: clear and simple lines [garter stitch lace! no need to go too experimental, right?], but nevertheless some little twists or unexpected details included. So there it was: my first lace knitting project…

And then I stumbled over this beautiful skein of Fiberspates Nef in ‘water’ – such a beautiful and luxurious yarn [merino, silk, and alpaca!] and such a perfect colour for a pattern playing with the idea of snow…or so I thought. Confidently I began the Herculean task of casting on 599 stitches on 2mm needles, and after several tries I finally got it right, but immediately was confronted with the sheer impossible challenge to knit with something that actually felt like thread.

Fiberspates Nef

So I knitted, unraveled, knitted, unraveled, knitted, unraveled and knitted again, and after a week or so I was looking proudly at six [!!!] rows of garter stitch that actually did look like garter stitch and not like some experimentally knitted fishnet. So far, so good. Then, the knitting of the haiku began, and I was confronted with the next hindrance: the huge problem of me being an extremely impatient and impulsive person, which, after much unraveling, knitting, unraveling, knitting [you get the idea..],  resulted in a very ‘creative’ rendering of the beautifully designed letters – actually, one could also say they looked like the aforementioned fishnet, but certainly did not form words, let alone a poem. Even though I had gotten the pattern right in the end, in between all the looking and thinking about the chart, I completely had forgotten about how to maintain an even tension when knitting with such a fine and delicate yarn. Additionally, I believe the yarn’s fuzzy alpaca content, although so very lovely and soft, certainly did not help. So, after much thought and consideration, including little doubts about the colour choice as well [it is a lovely colour, and goes so well with the spirit of the pattern, but it is not very me], I decided that it was time to unravel…

Fiberspace Nef

…and to start anew. A new yarn has been ordered, and while impatiently waiting for it to arrive, I’m beginning to suspect that this project, apart from being my first lesson in lace knitting, will teach me some things entirely different as well, among them, of course, patience…

But while I really try to do the waiting for the new yarn parcel as good as I can, my hands are already exploring other new territories. Let’s see what will become of this…

Crochet Hexagon

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