Thursday, 17 March 2011

Today for lace

In the continuing push to make it to Icelandic lace, I will be working on the cotton candy Icarus. The goal is to keep the same pace as on Icarus the Second.  There will also be knitting on the blanket till my hands won't cooperate.  

I'm really not counting repeats, though.  It is more that I count the number of columns along the spine.  The pattern in the book shows 7 columns of stockinette.  Right now cotton candy has just moved into the 5th repeat and a quick count of the second, reveals it too, is just into the 5th.  

Hmmm.  This is a little unexpected.  I thought the pink was much farther along.  I'll take it though.   

The yarn was too dainty for my original shawl choice, but I just absolutely had to have it. Too delicate to resist. This was the start of my little lace obsession and the tipping point from a good lace stash to a grand lace stash.  Yup.  1200 metres of soft dainty pink lace. Who knew it had such power over me? (This pink was also the start of my burgeoning bead stash.) 

Icarus is a simple complexity.  Its long columns would show the dainty pink to advantage.  Lots of solid ground.  Dainty delicate showy lace on the border.  Perfect for my pink.

And then, sometime after I started, I got hold of a ball of Zauberball lace, the brilliant multicolour. Yarns like this, with its many many strong colour changes, demand a certain sort of pattern.  I like ones where there is some change in direction and I particularly like shawls where the elements are large and well defined.  After much gnashing of teeth, I accepted what I already knew. That Icarus was the perfect shawl for the yarn.  

All of a sudden I had two Icarus on my needles and a good opportunity to compare these two very different yarns.  The Zauberball single, and the gently plied Merino.  The Zauberball on big 4 mm needles and the pink on dainty 2.5 mm needles.  

I'm not sure why I went so small on the pink, but it may have something to do with the quantity of pink lace on hand.  I have plenty to do as many repeats as I need of both lace patterns to get the size shawl I want. 

The Zauberball was a purposeful choice to knit with larger needles than the pattern asked for.  I am monitoring the weight of the ball to make sure that I have enough yarn to knit the lace at the end of the columns.    

My adventures in lace have revealed a few things about the two projects.  The biggest thing I found so far?  I have singlehandedly rediscovered why the ssk (slip slip knit to create a left leaning decrease) was invented. Small yarn.  Small needles.  SSK is easier.  Inexplicably easier than just pointing through the back loops. 

OK, that is a lie.  It is obvious to me that the knit 2 through the back loop twists the stitches, shortening the amount of ease available.  SSK opens the stitches up.  On fine yarn with small needles, more ease = easier knitting.  

The inexplicable part is that I find it easier. SSK usually feels so foreign.  One of the wonders of the great mysteries of knitting.     

1 comment:

Brenda said...

In my sock class this past year one student declared "I hate the SSK. Why was it ever invented?"