Saturday, December 8, 2007

Off and Running!

One false start after another has finally come to an end. The scarf with striped border from Victorian Lace Today is on track and flying along. Really, it's such an easy pattern that I'm embarrassed to have had so much trouble with it.

The problem was in just getting it started properly. The wide border is knit from side to side, and matching up the tension of the cast-on and cast-off edges on the two sides was driving me to distraction. I knit the whole first border and then ripped out the entire thing three times, with various other entertaining excursions of knitting, checking, and ripping smaller patches along the way.

Mind you, there is nothing particularly difficult about the crochet cast-on method that the author specifies. It's just something I wasn't used to, and it took a while for me to learn what tension I was aiming for. And a ridiculously long time on each attempt to notice when I hadn't gotten it right. And much gnashing of teeth each time when realization came.

In frustration, I finally cut off some of the yarn that had been knit and re-knit until its smooth surface had begun to roughen. Really, I think I did it as much for the symbolism of a fresh new start as for the state of the yarn.

All is forgiven now. The scarf is coming along nicely. With just enough tightening up of the cast-on, and loosening of the cast-off, the two sides seem to be in agreement and willing to work as a team.

They seem here to be swaying together in some sort of romantic dance. With the silk, the drape, the lovely colors, maybe they're dreaming of being a ballgown. Perhaps they're twirling around the floor in a Viennese waltz.

The reality, of course, is more prosaic. The stitch pattern in the main body biases to one side, because all of the decreases are in the same direction on the same side of the fabric. I expect this will work its way out in the blocking.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the stitch pattern open up and become more airy. The pattern in the main body is simple, very simple. It really couldn't be much simpler and still be called lace. It's quite understated, but attractive, and serves as a restrained supporting player to the pretty borders on the ends. I found a Victorian Lace Today knit-along site, and there are a few examples of this scarf here, a couple of them even done in Handmaiden Sea Silk, as mine is.

The Sea Silk is gorgeous and perfect for this scarf. I absolutely love this colorway. In person, the colors simply shimmer.

I wondered earlier about how the horizontal color runs in the body would look combined with those that run vertically in the border. I have my answer now. With this needle size and stitch count, the colors are pooling in a beautiful way.

Ordinarily, this might not be something to strive for, but I think in this scarf it works. The slow diagonal flow of color over the surface of the scarf, surprisingly, reads vertically. It's quite in harmony with the striped eyelet patterns in the body and border, but provides movement and interest. And the massing of the hues together shows off the individual colors, in contrast to the way little dashes of color are interleaved in the border. Rather than competing, I think, the one really sets off the other.

I would never have predicted that I'd be cheering for pooling, but, well, there it is.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Hooray for you -- fourth time's the charm! FYI - Ravelry is also a great place to see what yarns other people used for that project.