Dear Mother-of-God. I. Am. Done.

It took a dogged persistence and a weekend of focus, but I managed to get fracture complete before my friend arrived for the conference.

I’m not sure why this was such torture for me. The pattern is easy to follow; the size isn’t so overwhelming that I was afraid the end would never come; the yarn is luscious to the touch. And yet… I was glad to weave in the ends of this one.

It’s interesting; it has some components of Westknit’s Clockwork, but more broken up and really, more delicate. If you’ll recall, this is the shawl for my friend, Goodwitch. She fell in love with the yarn and the colors when we were yarnhopping in Austin (actually, only about 15 minutes from her home. Who knew?) and just thought the piece was light and lovely. She loved the colors because they reminded her of the beach. I loved the color names for what they said about the piece: “Cedar — I am grateful for the wisdom of my ancestors” and “Peace Within — I remind myself that peace is found within.” I thought they were so very calming, and the silk/wool blend was just perfect to give a friend who lives in the middle of Texas. I started knitting this as a thank you for her wonderful hospitality time and time again but, in an odd turn of fate, Glenda’s father passed shortly thereafter, and I was struck about the added significance of the Cedar color in providing some comfort for her dad’s passing.

Memorial Day weekend, I realized I needed to make some serious progress on this project if it was going to be done in time for Goodwitch’s arrival, so I put in a lot of time over the holiday weekend. Finished the first set of stripes, the second full block of blue, and the first full pattern block. For some reason, I had an extraordinarily hard time switching to the pattern; somewhere I’d lost 2 stitches, so I had to incorporate them somewhere inconspicuous, which meant frogging several rows, tinking down, and reknitting. Finally I made it back on track, and finally made it to the point where I’m noticing that the rows are considerably shorter than they were, and that makes me happy as well. As I continued up the shawl, I I substituted shorter cords on my circulars.

A note about myself: not really sure I love the bottom up idea. Not in shawls, not in sweaters, not really in anything having to do with knitting. I think it’s because if something goes wrong and the unthinkable happens and you run out of yarn, you are suddenly up shit creak without a paddle or a skein to save your life. I would much rather do top down knowing that my rows were getting longer at the end, but that if I had to, I could end early, or camouflage my error as a decorative border.

I was a tad concerned that this was not gonna be big enough. Until I blocked it (last minute, of course–in fact, about 10 hours before I was going to see her). ZOMGBBQWTF. Thank god I only made a small!

As you can see from the picture, it blocked out bigger than my dining room table. Seriously. And that magical question, as always, is “How does soaking fibers and then stretching them out to dry end up making a deliciously soft finished object?” The world may never know. But what I do know is that the tumultuousness of the emotions that ran across her face when I presented her with this scarf, and explained it’s significance, was beautiful and overwhelming and raw and real. And to know that something I’ve made can cause such an effect on the recipient is an amazing experience, and it is well worth the love, time, and effort put into it. If I only see that effect once in my life, it is enough.

Love to you, Glenda. May you wear it and remember your father with love.

About the only thing that is any good whatsoever about being sick is that you have loads of time where you feel like crap and are tired, but can’t sleep because you feel like the aforementioned crap. And so you knit. Knitting I can do, especially if I take off my glasses and just watch the stitches. I don’t know why I don’t get sick more often. (Oh wait. Yeah I do. I hate feeling like crap.)

Anyhow, progress is being made. I really do think I love the variegation with this pattern, although I’m discovering far more colors in here than I had originally thought. Not really a problem, just, you know… surprising.

I should probably also admit weighing your yarn is quite helpful only when you’re able to remember to keep weighing it as you go. *hangs head* Yes, I forgot to weigh it when I finished Chart 1 AND Chart 2, and now I’ve started Chart 3 and I’ve really no idea what that means. To be fair, I’m not one who thinks knitting should include math and I did mention this might be a bit of a gamble, but if I do more of these bottom up shawls, I might have to change my tune just to ease my mind. I’ll also need a better scale. But let’s worry about that later.

While the lace is moving along in a most spec-TAC-a-lar fashion (yes, I’ve been watching Larry Crowne repeatedly), I can’t help but feel a little disconcerted when I look at the skein and see just how much I’ve used up. “You use less as you get farther along,” I repeat to myself. “No need to panic.” Yet.

Wow. Sometimes you come across an experience that totally opens your eyes. I’m in the middle of one of these, and I can tell you I am going to be a better knitter on the other side of this WIP.

I’ve been going through my stash and choosing yarns I love—mostly because the ginkgo pattern was so scrumptious, and it’s really easy to walk away with a FO on a one skein project. I’m craving something new, so I cast on Hitchhiker using my lovely Jayne colored Firefly yarn. That’s a great traveling piece, but I was wanting something more to work on, so I also pulled out the raspberry-chocolate skein of Socks That Rock, and looked for a lace scarf that would play with the variegated pattern rather than fight with it. Enter the Peacock shawlette.

This project is a first in many ways for me. It’s the first time I’ve actually looked to find a pattern that works with the yarn I’ve chosen. I have a love/hate relationship with variegation–I love the more subtle variations of color, but not so much the multiple colors thrown together. I’m finally understanding there are measures of variegation, and that if I want to use something with lots of variegation in color, then I’d better have a pattern that is relatively plain so the yarn can shine. This variegation is more subtle, so I think it will work well with lace that’s interesting, but not so involved that it will again take away from the beauty of the yarn.

It’s also my first bottom up scarf pattern, which is really intriguing because it isn’t “the same thing” only in reverse. It’s actually a little unnerving because my experience with lace is that you can’t screw that stuff up and let it go, because it all shows up in the blocking. And by Row 5, I’d corrected a few too many missteps that I felt it would start to be noticeable. So I decided not to frog the entire thing, but to tink back to the middle of Row 2, where my confusion started. Can you say “Hello, lifelines?” Yeah, me too.

That was my third first: using lifelines. I love working lace patterns; the repetition and the symmetry make sense to me. But this time, I’m faltering slightly, so I feel better with knowing the lifeline is there if I need it. The other thing about this pattern? Usually I’ve got lots of garter stitch behind me before we get to the lace. There’s an investment of time that I have already put in, so I’m likely to work back and fix a mistake. By starting on the lace first, it’s really easy to either ignore an error and move on (because I want to see progress and who is really going to see the mistake besides me?) ore else frog the WIP completely since it’s so easy at this point to say “just start it over”. Ouch.

Another first: stitch markers contributing to my errors, rather than keeping me on track. Now that I get that, I can factor it in, but damn! It wasn’t obvious to me just by looking at the pattern: I had to confirm my suspicions by researching what others had to say about the pattern, and sure enough; it was shifting by a stitch each RS row. Dammit.

And finally, I’m weighing my yarn. A definite first. If I do this more, I’m going to need a better scale, because my food scale just isn’t accurate enough. But I’m in the middle of a pattern that requires 10 yards less than what I actually have. So this is either gonna be interesting, or problematic—but I won’t know until I’m almost done. I guess I’ll keep you posted. And then I’ll drink.

Bottoms up!