The lace debate

I tend to think of myself as a process knitter. I generally pick projects that I want to make, not necessarily projects that I want to have in the end. The one weird exception to this is lace. I covet finish lace objects. Love the intricate feather-light airiness. I just don’t love knitting it. I know exactly why. Lace looks like this before you block it.

Rock Island

 

That border is very intricate lace. There are no “rest” rows there are yarn overs and decreases on every row. Drop a stitch in that, and you’re screwed. And yet, it looks incredibly unimpressive. There’s just nothing fun about unblocked lace.

Rock Island

 

I love to stop mid-kint and take a look at what I’ve produced every so often, and with lace, it just never looks like you’re producing something worth all the effort you’ve put in. It’s not until you are completely finished and get a chance to aggressively block your project that you finally see the fruit of your work.

Rock Island

 

I don’t like waiting that long to finally see what I’m getting. I mean, blocking improves everything, but lace doesn’t look like anything before it’s blocked. I need more encouragement than that. And yet, I still find myself casting on lace projects. It generally leads to extremely enthusiastic beginnings when I’m all excited by gorgeous pattern pictures and a freshly wound ball of buttery lace yarn. I also get pretty enthusiastic about the end because I can taste the lovely lace I’m about to see bloom into life with a good block. The middle, frankly, is a slog. Every time I think about a new lace project I go through the same internal debate–do I want to start a project I know will feel like a toil through the long middle? Is the FO worth it, when the process is really what I love about knitting. The answer is generally yes. Life is a mystery. But seriously, look at the blocking photo!

Rock Island

 

How’s the progress on the crochet blanket you ask? Shut up.

Iced Hat

I couldn’t quite muster the oomph to blog yesterday. I was doing too much actual knitting. I have four sweaters at various stages in progress right now and I’m trying to bust out the bulky one. It grew by 5 inches yesterday.  Bulky yarn is my friend.

But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. Five inches of stockinette is not that interesting. Cables are interesting and boy do I have some cables for you.

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That, my friends, is Iced Hat by Irina Dmitrieva. I bought her whole Cabled Hats 3 collection the minute I saw it. They are all lovely cable-y  masterpieces. So many cables, some rounds have as many as 36 cables per round.
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I’m teaching a whole series of classes at For Yarn’s Sake about hats that feature different techniques. This was the project for Hats: Cables. There will also be Hats: Color, Hats: Short Rows, and Hats: Lace. (Can you tell I like hats?)
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I made mine out of Rowan Felted Tweed in the color “150”. Felted Tweed is 50% merino, 25% alpaca, and 25% vsicose. It’s a little crunchy when you’re knitting with it, but it softens up SO much when you wash it. It also weighs next to nothing. Each 50g ball has 198 yards! I got the whole hat out of one ball.  It’s light and airy to wear but still nice and warm because of the merino and alpaca.
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I blocked mine around an 11″ dinner plate to get a nice beret shape. Looking at the projects on Ravelry, it looks like quite a few people have left it in more of a beanie shape. It looks cute both ways. I’ve had it done for about 3 weeks and I’ve worn it about 15 times.
I am still dutifully reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell but I’ve thrown in an audiobook of Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman to give myself something a little more exciting. It’s the perfect sort of blend between Science Fiction and Fantasy, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Backsliding

So after starting the year off strong blogging every day for the whole month of January, I find myself backsliding into my old lazy-blogger ways.  Only wanting to post when I have a finished project to show off.  Well after a month-long absence, here I am.  And I’ve got something to show.

I’ve mentioned several times that for, Christmas and my birthday, Ryan signed me up for the Stephen West Westknits Shawl Club.  (This is reason number 792 that Ryan is awesome.)  Since December I have received an exclusive pattern plus yarn to complete the pattern in exclusive colors all designed by Stephen West, my favorite knitwear designer.

I’ve already shown you the December and January installments and I love and wear them both.  Neither of them compare to the February installation.  The yarn for this installment was Malabrigo Sock.  It’s 100% merino awesomeness.  The colors were Chocolate Amargo

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This is actually a Malabrigo color that anyone can buy, it’s not exclusive to the club.  This pisses me off a little because the club was advertised as 100% exclusive.  9 exclusive skeins of yarn and 8 exclusive skeins + 1 non-exclusive skein are not the same thing.  The club membership definitely added a premium to what the standard cost for the yarn would be and that premium must be for the “exclusive” factor.  If you’re only going to have 8 exclusive skeins, say 8, not 9.  
and Oeste
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The pattern for February was the extremely unique Oeste (the yarn was named for the pattern.)   I love the look of this shawl!  I think it’s so unique.  It’s constructed by making 7 mini-shawls then making the body separately and attaching the mini-shawls to the body.  The instructions say to seam them in, but I attached them as I bound off the “steps” in a way similar to a three-needle bind-off.
It’s currently blocking.  I can’t wait until its dry.  It came out extremely long–almost 7 feet tip to tip.
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It’s still wet, so the colors are a bit darker than they will be once it’s dry.  I keep walking over to feel it and see how dry it is even though I just laid it out about 25 minutes ago.
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It’s a good thing I finished when I did.  I cast off last night.  This afternoon when I got back from the clinic I had this waiting for me in my mailbox:
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Hello March package, it’s nice to meet you.