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.

13 comments:

HoyaGirl, said...

And it's gorgeous! It makes me want to find the laceweight in my stash.

Mz Kwooz said...

Excellent explanation and you SO have the upper hand now!

(Yes, I've been a lurker and am so glad you're back blogging!)

JoAnn, Wynnewood said...

Are those lace needles the bomb! I was doing a lace wrap from jojoland that I bought last year at stitches and was confused, ripped it, started over and dragged along on regular circulars. Then, I got the lace needles, zipped along to the finish and have quite the thing to behold. I'm so proud of it and I know exactly how you feel about that aha! moment. Its like a revelation - and can you imagine how smart the person is who figures all this out on paper. Geez!
I'm glad you're back too. I just wish you guys could do the podcast because I really don't like any of the others. Oh well. Keep up the good work. Maybe one Saturday I'll meander into the shop.

Ruth said...

Congratulations on your victory! I started my very first lace project at the end of july, and am about 1/3 done. I got side-tracked by tandem-socks and weaving in a sweater that has been waiting forever. Also by a puppy, who chases everything, especially yarn.

Bridget said...

It's looking as beautiful as the one in the shop! I'm both impressed and jealous ...

Anonymous said...

I would dearly love to be able to read your blog, but the yellow print on the white background makes it impossible. I don't know how to do anything about this,do you? Deb

Wendy said...

Congratulations both on your determination on figuring it out and also for "getting it"

Looks great.

Wendy said...

Deb - I've tried to fix the codes so that it works in your browser, but unfortunately, nothing I've tried works. If you use any other browser, it will look just fine.

Wendy

Elysbeth said...

Thank you for the explanation. Glad you got it! What will you do for celebration?

Carol said...

Congrats! It looks awesome!

Sherry W said...

I think you should teach a class at Rosie's. Like the Landscape shawl group, but with this harder pattern. Many of us want to make this shawl, and many of us are scared as crap with it.

Oh, here are the errata:
http://www.knittinguniverse.com/books/bookscorrections/lace/laceweb.pdf

Karen said...

Hey, congratulations! It looks great. I knit the one at Rosie's and it was a bear -- I didn't find a good rhythm until about 2/3 of the way through. You'll love the edging, it's not hard and really pretty. The reward for being done with the body. That Lacey Lamb blocks up a treat, too. (I assume that's what you're using, I can't read the yellow either.) I'll be looking in to see progress pics!

WandaWoman said...

Hey, you take your pleasures wherever you can find them!