On Giants' Shoulders

Friday, May 11, 2012

Was This Really Such A Great Idea???

So a couple of weeks ago I got this fantastic idea that I'd like to knit myself a lace shawl. I'm not sure if I'm envisioning myself as Miss Marple, or just like the idea of a bit of light lace around my arms at church in the summertime. Or perhaps it was just that I thought I really ought to challenge myself just once, instead of knitting another pair of socks (which I can sort of do most of with my eyes closed). So I downloaded a pattern from Ravelry. I started it four times and couldn't get the stitch count to be right after about the fifth row every time. So I threw it aside in disgust and went back to knitting socks. Since I had two pair started and most of my current socks have holes in the toes, that seemed prudent. Tuesday after I left the chiropractor's office I had to stop at the shoe store and pick up my dress shoes which were being stretched so they didn't give me blisters. After I left the shoe store the rainy day, and the fact that the yarn store was so close, inspired me to stop at the yarn store and at least pick up some stitch markers. While there I managed to find a lace shawl pattern that looked somewhat less complicated than the one I had been attempting, so I purchased the pattern and some Addi Turbo lace circular needles.and headed home.

 I managed the first eight rows without too much of a glitch (although I still don't like making one right after the first stitch). I got the next section done, and then found I was off by one stitch, and of course hadn't put in a lifeline. So I had to frog it back to the place where I had 15 stitches on the needles. I managed to get through that section and the first eight rows of the Elfin lace pattern. I then had the good sense to put in a life line. I really thought I was doing well. Then it turned into six rows forward, four rows back because I kept ending up with a stitch short about every fourth row. This morning I was in a major snag and ended up ripping a full nine rows back. I've now re-knit those nine rows and intelligently put in another life line. However, I have a very, very small triangle of lace for all of the hours of effort I've put in (representing something like four episodes of Hardcover Mysteries and six of Bones---thank you Netflix!)

. I am finally beginning to see what the pattern looks like (which may help with future dropped stitches). I still want to knit this shawl, but I'm now doing it really and truly to prove to myself that I'm up to the challenge of it. This is not relaxing knitting. I can't say I yet understand the allure of lace, well other than the fact that it looks so pretty and I really do love the yarn I'm using. Knitting for me really hasn't been so much about doing complicated things. I like a pattern that's got a little bit of interest in it. The dress I did for Luci last spring was like that. The top had this sort of gathered effect to it, so the first part of the project was a challenge and you had to really be on your game. However, then I hit the section where it was just knit one round after another. For me, that kind of knitting is relaxing, meditative, and fun. For a lot of other people I guess that kind of knitting is --- well, kind of boring. I'm not sure that I'd like to knit miles and miles of stockinette stitch, I do like a little something to break up the monotony. However, this lace knitting is a real challenge. It's not a challenge like a Spartan race, like my daughter's former roommate just ran. It's not a challenge like losing 60 pounds (which I sort of need to do --- again) However, it is a real challenge in focusing on what's in front of me and not allowing my mind to drift away (at least not too far away --- re-runs of Bones seem to work some of the time).

 Right now with the world in such a chaotic mess, retreating into lace knitting and simply focusing on something I actually can do is my way of coping. I think I actually would rather be fuming at the piece of yarn from the center of the ball that snagged into a knot with my working piece of yarn than fuming about politics. I can't do anything about the politics, I can (with a very fine gauge needle) unsnarl the knot. So, that's how I spent my day. I got so present focused that I totally a. forgot to eat breakfast (or even lunch until 2:00 P.M. and b. totally forgot about a meeting I was supposed to attend this morning. I clearly have to pace myself a little better. I am determined to knit this thing, even if it's not such a great idea because I really want to prove to myself that I'm up to this particular challenge. I'm too old to run a Spartan race, I'm never going to run for political office. I'm never going to be a famous actress. I'm never going to make a big impact on the world outside, but I just maybe I can actually knit a pretty lace shawl.

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