Wednesday, September 05, 2007
War, What is it Good For?
This shawl from Victorian Lace Today is my nemesis. Every Saturday, there it is in the window. I unlock the door to the shop, and there it is, staring at me, laughing at me, taunting me. Every Saturday someone comes in and asks, "Is that pattern hard?" I grit my teeth, and say yes, it's hard, and I can't do it. Every week my animosity towards that shawl grows, yet my desire for a rematch is forefront in my mind. You see, this shawl kicked my ass.
How many times have I cast on? I don't know. How many times have I ended up with a knotted, tangled mess? Too many times to count. But this past weekend, I said to myself, this is it - you're going down.
I readied the battlefield. I armed myself with the new Addi Lace Turbo needles, a weapon I did not have in my aresenal when the book was first published, and Circular Shawl and I first went to war. And scrap yarn - I don't care how many times I have to rip this out, I'm gonna get you sucka. T.V. - off! Radio - silence! It was time to get to work.
To defeat your enemy, you must know his/her "tell" - at least that's what poker players say - that little twitch or gesture that says, I'm bluffing, you got me. After four or five more tries, I discovered Circular Shawl's secret - and I am about to share. Here it is - Circular Shawl is a Merengue, not a waltz.
Remember Dirty Dancing - Patrick Swayze is trying to teach Jennifer Grey the Meringue. The music starts - the steps begin on the second beat - 2,3,4 - not the first beat. She keeps putting her foot down (on his), on the 1. We all know how that worked out - WIPEOUT! as she slinks along, practicing her moves all over the Catskills. Her feet keep doing a waltz - 1 - 2- 3, 1-2-3, and then all of a sudden it clicks - and she can even do the lift.
And, it was a moment of beauty, when I finally abandoned that 1, 2, 3 rhythm, and realized that the pattern started on the 2nd beat, not the first. The first line of the pattern is basically, Yarn Over, Knit 3, Yarn Over - and that Yarn Over is the first beat on the second side - that lone stitch is going to be the only marker in the circular blobs you're making.
One of the things that makes this pattern so hard is that you can't possibly use stitch markers. You're adding a stitch every row. There's an additional repeat every four rows. And the usually built in markers - double decreases - really don't mark anything - the circles are formed from the right side - the knit three together is off centered, like you were forming a circle at a "corner." It just doesn't look right, but it is. And the other pattern row on the right side - yarn over, knit 2tog, yarn over, knit 3 tog, yarn over, knit 1. 2-3-1, 2-3-1. Not a waltz, a merengue.
Alright, so I sound like a crazy person - but here it is! I'm using the Pastttimes Soy Silk. This is about five or six repeats of the 12 row chart - and I've got it! Ok, not quite as sexy as doing the lift with Patrick Swayze in the lake - but I'm excited, nonetheless.