Sunday, September 18, 2011

somewhere beyond the sea...

i love yarn overs.  they're cute, they're decorative and they are easy to do.  they were in the first item i knitted.  i think they add a little something to a project.  and they are the first step to lace knitting.

i have always been drawn to knitting lace, heaven knows why since i can't read charts.  but ever since i started knitting i have been entranced by lace patterns. a hint of lace is what draws me to a pattern. i have books on lace and have downloaded gobs of  lace patterns. i look at them longingly, aching to cast on, until i break out into a cold sweat when reading a pattern that is all charts.  sigh.

a few years ago while participating in my first swap, i was introduced to the pattern "blossom".  this is a easy lace pattern shawl.  it was designed for hand maiden sea silk yarn which is a beautiful yarn made of silk and a sea weed derivative.  it is beautiful, believe me.  my swap buddy gave me a hank of the yarn and suggested the pattern.  i was mesmerized.  the yarn was so amazingly blue and shimmery.  and the pattern!  it was nothing but double yarn overs!  i was in heaven.

but i didn't cast on.

i can't remember how it happened, it must have been because i was working at the LYS and the yarn was on sale, but i decided to make my mother the blossom shawl out of elsbeth lavolds silky wool.  this is a tweedy looking wool, but very soft when knit up.  and when it is washed, it is quite lovely.

the shawl took me quite a while.  i couldn't figure out how to keep track of where i was in the seven row repeat.  and i couldn't find my rhythm in the various double yarn over and k2tog patterns so was continually having to rip my knitting;  i also had a challenging time reading my knitting so when i made a mistake i couldn't figure out where i made it, i just knew a mistake had been made because the pattern ended incorrectly.  somewhere in the fifth repeat of the pattern  i got to a place where everything was correct, i knew where i was and i put the project aside.

fast forward two-ish years. i decide it is time to clean up some unfinished projects so out comes blossom.  i figure out where i am, glance at the pattern and off i go.  amazing what a few more years of knitting experience teaches you. not only did i find my rhythm in the various double yarn over patterns, but i could also read my knitting and correct my mistakes.  amazing!  i was so thankful.  so i finish the shawl and gift it to my mother;  who loved it!  the color and fit were perfect for her!  she couldn't wait to wear it to church!

(commercial break for some yarn deets:  yarn:  elsebeth lavold silky wool;  color:  #24, claret (discontinued); yardage: 192 yds per skein; close to 3 skeins used.)

finishing my moms blossom meant i could now start mine.  eagerly i cast on the sea silk.  quickly i discover how slippery silk is.  wow!  i was instantly thankful i had made blossom out of a heftier yarn first because this yarn was so slippery on the needle.  stitches regularly slip under the markers or under other stitches so i have to pay attention to which stitch is where and are they all accounted for.

but can i tell you how beautiful this yarn is.  it is like running water.  the picture doesn't do it justice since it does not catch the light or the oh so slight variegations in the yarn.  it is so lovely.  and it shimmers.  the picture is one repeat over half-way done.  i am at the stage where i think i will have gobs of yarn left over and then the pattern explodes into bigness and sucks up all the yarn.  pretty soon it will barely fit the 26" circulars it is on.  at that point i will need to be very careful not to make mistakes.  knitting back over hundreds of stitches to correct a mistake is not my idea of a good time!  but on the other hand, i can't wait.  it is closer to being finished then not being finished, which makes me more anxious to finish it which makes me more prone to make a mistake.  sigh.  i'll keep you posted.