Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wee Tiny Lace Disaster

About a month ago I made a ground-breaking purchase... for me, that is. I've always thought of cashmere as an out-of-reach fiber due to cost.

I've been facinated with the Princess Shawl v2.0 knit-a-long on Ravelry. I followed up by checking out Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller at the MN Textile Center. After a short calculation of stitches, I've decided that I'm not 'ready' for a project this massive right now. Although it was fun learn more about it.

There are many reviews of cashmere yarns available at Fleegle's blog. (I just love her posts. Check out her amazing gossamer lace shawls and Bohus sweaters!) She lead me to Colourmart UK-- fabulously priced and deliciously soft coned cashmere. Customer service was fabulous-- many thanks to Robert!

About a month ago I ended up buying a few cones-- 3/45 65% Cashmere/35% Silk in Arctic blue (below) and a fingering weight 100% Cashmere in Garnet. Wowza. These are lovely fibers.

Since then, I've stopped all fiber-related purchases. On 12/15/07 I'll celebrate a month of 'yarn freeze' activity.

Of course, moments after the yarn arrived I knew I had to try it out! I knit a small swatch of the fingering weight in stockinette and washed it. It's hanging out on the shelf for a project next year. (It'll probably end up as a Faux Russian Shawl by Katie Nagoney & Ann Swanson in A Gathering of Lace.)

The lace (near gossamer) yarn was swatched with US 2s, 1.5s, 1s, and eventually 0s. Yes, 2mm was the perfect size. I've never knit lace with US 0s-- and it was most certainly a challenge! Of course, I decided to try a pattern with a nasty start: CO 8 stitches in the round for 2 rows-- Frost Flowers and Leaves by Eugen Beugler in A Gathering of Lace.

What a complete mess. Instead I knit a belly-button like I-cord with left-over koigu from the monster socks, then transitioned to the cashmere/silk.

Once I was past row 4 I was on a roll. Everything was smooth-sailing. It was a Sunday. The sun was shining. I was watching the Vikings in the midst of a winning game, even. (Who expected this turn-around even after Adrianne Peterson started to shine?)

Then, on row 19 I encountered a wee arrow. Somehow I didn't pay any attention to it.

Now, take a look at the left bottom corner.

Compare to the other corners. Arrgh! I didn't notice the error until row 31. By this time the sun was starting to set. Without the use of a headlamp, I don't know how I could fix this error on such wee needles.

I waited a week, then practiced fine-gauge lace surgery. After a bit of time, I think I got it-- but the stitches looked pretty terrible afterward. I decided to chock it up as a learning experience & frogged the whole thing. It was only 35+ rows afterall.

After the nasty defeat, I wanted to pick up a lace project that would certainly be successful and perhaps boost my lace knitting esteem! Lo and behold, in the unfinished project stash I found this beauty: Madli's Shawl -- Nancy Bush -- Interweave Knits, Summer 2004. What a delight to pick up a project and see every last stitch. The pattern repeats just zoomed by on US 6's. The yarn is two strands of KP's Alpaca Cloud in Tidepool. It's been in my stash just months after the yarn line was introduced. Is it just me-- or do others think this is this the absolute best alpaca on the market for the price?I'll be honest. I'm not planning to be faithful to the shawl. I'll work on it for time to time, but socks are still calling out my name.


Kay said...

I am so amazed by the lace you're doing. Not sure I will ever be ready for that.

Guinifer said...

Such a beautiful color - and it looks so warm! The closest I have gotten to lace is my "lacey" socks. I am not quite brave enough yet.

Jill said...

So now that you actually have Cashmere does that mean you have to change your blog name?
Your lace is absolutely beautiful. I've knit on size 0 a couple times and think that might be why I need reading glasses now. Good luck!

Jess said...

Wow, the white lace is just incredible! I don't know if I'll ever be at the skill level to knit something like that, at least until the kids have moved out into their own homes! Madli's Shawl is gorgeous, and definitely more along the lines of what most of us can easily accomplish.

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

Eek, too bad the Frost & Flowers didn't work out, but the yarn looks just lovely!

Miss T said...

That's going to be a beautiful shawl! The Princess pattern does look daunting, though.