Over a year ago now, the very brilliant Alice had the equally brilliant idea of running a lace shawl knitalong via Twitter. We would get clues every so often to continue our progress and questions and sharing could all be done via the wonder that is Twitter.
I know some people have their Twitter feed running in a widget on their blogs, but I don’t really dare put mine up. Given an occasion I can swear several shades of Dulux colour card blue, so I thought it best that I maintain some degreee of decorum.
The knitalong ended last August. I was still knitting, because I am a slow sort. But also maybe because I wanted to enjoy the yarn I was using.
My first ever skein of Wollmeise. I won this skein at a charity bingo game that was hosted by Alice not long before she started the knitalong project and I recall not trying very hard to win anything else afterwards because I was so pleased with it. They’re not immediately my colours, but the shawl pattern was called Aurantium Blossom (Ravelry link), which referred to orange blossom, and I figured, clearly, it was meant to be.
I like lace knitting. I like reading charts, because to me it’s like running a program in my head. I’m married to a software engineer who codes all hours of the day, and he can read lace charts for that reason. It’s a bunch of symbols telling you what to do next. Ones and zeros. Binary. Lovely.
But again, I am the slow sort, and also the easily distracted sort. I abandoned the sunny, happy lace shawl for a while. I have no idea why. Eventually I got fed up of all the half-finished things I have lying about the place and decided to tackle them one by one.
Imagine how dumb I felt when upon pulling this shawl out again, I had all of 20 rows left to do. Twenty. Twenty rows with nearly or over 300 stitches on, but twenty rows nonetheless. Embarrassing, really.
It took me twenty minutes to read the chart, read the knitting, read the chart again, count some stitches and read the chart some more just to find out where the heck I was in the pattern. Once I worked it out, I was off again.
I sometimes write notes on my patterns, telling me alternative ways to execute something, or directional notes or so on. The trouble with leaving a project for so long is that I spent a lot of time looking at these notes and thinking, “What did my past self mean when she told me this?”
Sometimes I do expect to unearth a neglected project and find its pattern, scribbled with the words, “About bloody time, you idiot.”
In the end, those twenty rows took a mere couple of weeks, plus distractions. I cast it off. I waited for a warm day when there wasn’t a lot to do, and I washed and blocked it.
It was like pinning out the sun.
Pattern: Aurantium Blossom by Alice Yu
Yarn: Wollmeise 100% Merio Superwash in Sonne
This is, above all, why I love lace knitting. A bundle of loops and stitches, all damp and lifeless after a bath, gets carefully pulled out, stretched and pinned, and suddenly every little detail comes to life. Orange blossoms near the top, orange flowers in the middle and finally edged with leaves.
I thought it was going to take wing and fly away, back into the sun.
I wear this a lot now. I like that when I’m on the tube or the train, reflected in the windows would be duller, flatter colours that get swallowed up by the tinting on the windows. But not this shawl. Oh no. It defies that sort of thing. It feels like nothing could swallow up these colours.