Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I told you I can knit....

ice queen 008I've been looking forward to knitting the "Ice Queen" since the last issue of Knitty came out (could you tell by the billionty times I've mentioned it already?). Alas, the holiday knitting, the birthday knitting, the 'I'm way too danged tired to read a chart' knitting seemed to be perpetually getting in the way. Then, last week, I developed what I commonly refer to as 'project oriented obsession' and the 'Ice Queen' started to inch onto my needles and practically demand some attention. I tried to resist, to return to those cursed hubster socks (2x2 rib) or the low neck sweatah (which, though it is shiny red handspun silk - I am at the never-ending 2x2 ribcage portion as well) or the last remnant of my failed attempt to be a gift knitting hero - the rogue (aptly named, as it turns out). I just.coulnd't.do.it. It seemed as though I'd wake from a deep sleep (I know it was so because I was usually drooling) and the needles would just be poised in my hands with (guess what?) some luscious hand-dyed 50/50 merino silk (zephyr) yarn in the 'mermaid' colorway and some sparkly beads. What else could I do whilst having that cuppa divine brown elixir than knit the danged thing? A few days later, the wimple emerged. I just have to say that this pattern is excellent and the simplicity of the whole knit is very soothing - particularly if you wake up grumpy and unforgiving as yours truly generally does. Beginner? A perfect start. Seasoned lace expert? A perfect project for travel or distracted level knitting. I see it being a stitch pattern I can grow with and I love wimples - even if the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a head covering generally worn by a nun - which made me all conflicted on the inside (let's just walk away from that, m'kay?).

I've heard it said many times that lace cannot be tastefully knit with hand-dyed yarns. Maybe it is my ornery nature or the fact that I am a dyer or, perhaps, just that I like to spit in the eye of authority - but I have been remiss in accepting such a bold and limiting philosophy. For this, I am now grateful as the challenge, the sometimes boredom, the tedium even of lace knitting is made all better for the ole eyes by a little play of color. This pattern is no exception. The feather and fan ripple dances happily with the color shifting to produce an exciting but not blinding knit. And, 'Mermaid', after all, seemed so very appropriate for such a project.

ice queen 035So, you might think that such a brazen departure from the accepted 'norm' of knitting lace in solid tones and the comfortable success of getting away with it might calm the waters so to speak, hmm? Not really. My outlaw bones are aching, I guess. I dyed up some 'Tia Dalma' skeinlets and am knitting the second "Ice Queen" in that as well as having thrown some of both colorways in the shop (shameless, I know). But, brace yourselves, I didn't stop there.

ice queen 040A few months ago, I determined that a good lace book would be essential for me to progress to the level of designing that I am aiming for. I narrowed my selection down to a choice between two books and picked 'A Gathering of Lace' over 'Victorian Lace Today'. My gut feeling was that since Elizabeth Zimmerman has been such a monumental voice in my knitting education that her very own daughter might actually speak lace in a way I could understand. Also, I like circular shawls more than stoles and the Victorian Lace Today seemed mostly rectangular. Of course, this was determined only by viewing sample pages. Still, I have been happy with my choice and all levels of practicality suggest I should be embarking on a project from this book next. Except, I checked the VLT book out at a the library and thumbed through the pages. All through it, I stood firm with my choice - until I got to this one. Instantly, I knew the yarn I would choose. Those two skeins of 'gypsy' lace yarn that I held back for myself? Of course, you knew it would be variegated. You knew it would be even bolder than the mermaid color transitions. You knew it would defy the rules. But, do you like it?