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.




Notes:
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.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooh, wonderful. I am looking for my first lace project (I never thought I would want to knit lace). I have a hunch I may be a lace shawl girl. I like how you wear your shawl and I agree with what you are saying. It does not have to be a fancy dress party to wear it - it can be any day.

Anonymous said...

beautiful!!!!!

and the color looks great on you.

the fact that you woke up today and get to share special times with the kids and mr.s is a good reason to wear your shawl.

(yeah, I know, spoken like a true survivor)

anne marie in philly

Mintyfresh said...

I like that idea; to make the day special purely because you're wearing the shawl. You did an excellent job! And can I come over and play mancala? I love mancala :)

LaurieM said...

Beautiful. Congratulations. Back in its heyday a shawl was a common, all purpose garment that women wore for warmth. I really like your attitude towards using your shawl and bringing back that sense of what a shawl is for.

I wore one of my shawls to the office one time and took it off in a meeting because the room was hot. As I left, my co-worker said "You've forgot your sweater." That's just about right, isn't it?

Sally said...

It's really gorgeous Liz. It almost makes me want to knit a lace shawl for myself!

Almost. :o)

Stuntmother said...

Rock on you. Beautiful and special is not for one day. It's for today.

Mo said...

Oh, Liz, it's gorgeous. Bravo, baby.

iSeL said...

Gorgeous! I am one of those who thinks there will never be a shawl-worthy occasion...but I love making shawls, so I think I will adopt your attitude and make me some of those lovely shawls I've been drooling over.

Margene said...

You wear that shawl very well! Of course you can wear a shawl ANYWHERE as you well prove. Why shouldn't we enjoy the beauty we've created even when home. Nice color, nice work, great photos!

Jersey Shore Deb said...

I LOVE your shawl, and I love even more your philosophy that you can wear it anywhere, especially around the house.
I too have chickened out on knitting a few shawls for which I've bought yarn, and used the yarn for sweaters, etc. instead. Now I think I WILL go for a shawl!

Deb

Ann said...

Well, I'm won over! That is gorgeous!!! The color is really exceptional. I would love to have a beautiful shawl to wear around the house ... to make every day just a bit more special! Congrats!

knittingphilistine said...

Oh, I am absolutely in LOVE with the photo of you in your lacy shawl washing the dishes. FAB.

tiennie said...

That is gorgeous! I've yet to attempt lace knitting, but oh, it would be so worth it if it looks like that!

Lolly said...

Wow! what a beauty! and I just love your attitude about it too - making the day special :) The shawl is gorgeous, Liz! Be very very proud!

Emma said...

Truly gorgeous !
Celebrating life is reason enough to enjoy wearing such beauty.

Christie said...

I love it! I've been looking at that pattern for the longest, but swore off lace shawls after my bought with a super mini Kiri Shawl. I may just have to copy you.

I love that you wear your shawl when you feel like it...one should not need a 'special occasion' to wear something beautiful! We're beautiful everyday and everyday is a celebration of life!

Cheers and congratulations!

Mighty Momogus said...

Everyone's said everything I wanted to say already - I'm late to the party! That's one gorgeous shawl - you did a beautiful job.

I believe we all should do the dishes in our lace shawls!!!

Rachel said...

That is a gorgeous shawl and a wonderful post reminding us that sometimes we have to make an occasion fancy all on our own. I think I need to go dig out a few of my own dust collectors...errr, I mean shawls.

Congratulations on finishing such a wonderful FO!

SpiderWomanKnits said...

Love it! And why not wear your shawl anytime and anywhere you want?!

One of the things that draws me to primitive/native crafts of tribal people is that all of their useful/mundane items were works of art. Life was the occassion as it still should be. You proved that :-)

jody said...

congratulations! you finished it!

great attitude too -- it's so pretty, why not wear it anytime?

i'm always surprised with how much warmth a floaty, lacy piece like that can give. it really is practical.

nova said...

Your shawl is beautiful. I think it's perfectly appropriate to gussy up for a mancala match...

Kirsten said...

Your Icarus is beautiful Liz!!
You make me want to drop my current knitting project[s] and start one of my own.

Cheryl said...

Wonderful! I'm making it from exactly the same yarn - I'm finally on the last repeat of Chart A. I really like working with the yarn, too.

catiebell said...

I am so happy to read your thoughts on wearing such a beautiful shawl. I knit Icarus for my mom for her birthday, and have wanted to make one for myself, but as a SAHM of three, I couldn't think where I would ever wear it. Now I have the confidence to knit a beautiful shawl for myself that I can wear to gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, soccer/baseball/softball practice, etc! Thank you!

Margaret said...

Gorgeous! Sometimes I'll wrap a lace shawl around my neck as a scarf just to have an occasion to wear it. And with a bit of silk sometimes lace is tougher than you would think!

KnitPastis said...

I love this shawl! You are so beautiful too!