Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Elevating the Mundane
Despite my usual position in the "product" side of the process v. product debate, when it comes to lace, I am all about the process. I love finding the rhythm of the repeats and learning to read the lace. I struggle despite the life lines and liberal use of stitch markers and endure the inevitable tinking. I hunker down for the endless rows as the shawl grows. I marvel as I observe my work bloom into beautiful wings as I pin it out.
I struggled with Icarus. The yarn was sticky. It took me a while to be able to read the lace well enough to catch errors quickly. It got really big at the end, each row taking almost 30 minutes to complete. It required my total concentration, which meant my time to knit it on any given day was limited.
But anyone who knits lace knows that the payoff is worth it. This shawl is romantic, weblike and very warm. It is elegant and buttery, with a slight shimmer from the silk in the yarn. It is an instant heirloom, a classic piece of handiwork. And I made it.
I know knitters who do not knit lace, claiming that they'll never wear a fussy lace shawl.
As a stay-at-home Mom, I rarely have occasion to wear a fancy lace shawl. I have yet to be invited to a garden party or ladies tea, and hot dates with Mr. S are more likely to be at a basketball game (especially during this time of year) than at a romantic restaurant. Most of my days consist of any combination of cooking, interacting, nurturing, and cleaning. But doing these activities while wrapped in a gossamer blood-red lace shawl can elevate the most mundane task from the dull to the sublime.
Who says you don't have occasion to wear a lace shawl? That it is today is reason enough to wear a lace shawl. That I made it is enough to wear a lace shawl. Today is a special occasion because I am wearing my lace shawl.
Pattern: Icarus, by Miriam Felton, IK Summer 2006, or available here
Yarn: Alpaca With A Twist Fino in a Ruby Slippers. It is an alpaca/silk blend that has an incredibly smooth, buttery hand and a shimmery look. The alpaca makes it fuzzy, thus it can be sticky, and hard to frog. However, this is my first experience with a true laceweight, so I do not have experience to compare it with other lace yarns.
Pattern Mods: I did one fewer repeat of the first chart than the pattern calls for, since it is a very large shawl if knit as written, and I am a petite gal. And it is a pretty big shawl, even with the mod.