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!