Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Amazing Lace Challenge #1 or "WHAT WAS I THINKING???"

Okay, so I saw this pattern for a hobbyhorse toward the very end of Barbara Walker's third book and thought, "Wow, with a few changes that could look like a real horse instead of a child's toy. I should do that and make a horse-themed shawl for my mom for Christmas." Then just a few days later I ran across the Amazing Lace blog and thinking that there are no such things as conincidences decided to join. Of course, I would step up and say that I will design and make the aformentioned horse-themed shawl.

What I need to add here as a sort of back-story about the team you will be introduced to shortly is the following:

I had never TOUCHED lace-weight yarn let alone work with it before this!
I have never WORKED from a chart much less designed one!
The only lace knitting I have ever done is YO, K2tog, repeat ad nauseum and knit the WS rows. This garment was just finished a couple of weeks ago...
Finally, while I am an extremely adventerous knitter and have produced an amazing number of FO's in a relatively short time, I have only been knitting for 16MONTHS!!!

So, now I ask, "WHAT WAS I THINKING???"

That said, let me introduce you to the rest of my team. Not knowing what yarn I might like (get along with well enough to make a go of this) I purchased both Shimmer (in Maple Leaf) and Gossamer (in Trail) from Knit Picks. A MILE of each (4 skeins) because I was not sure how much this was going to take. I am currently swatching each yarn. The difference in their personalities is amazing! The first time I tried the Shimmer we had a terrible disagreement and parted company on very bad terms. The Gossamer was much kinder to me although we both know it is still in a class (or three) above my abilities.

My fall back (ringer) project and team member is a cashmere blend and novelty yarn (ball tags long ago lost) from my stash that are first cousins to the black shawl I recently finished. With them I will be knitting Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's (the Yarn Harlot's) Snowdrop Shawl. I find that I think in terms of patterns the same way she does. The vagueness of this pattern is in fact comforting.

As far as designing my own shawl goes, I have been studying other shawls and their construction, looking at about a bazillion lace patterns, and have charted one design based on a cross-pole jump. (I am swatching this now but am not entirely happy with it). Here is the graph as it is now. (The diagonal lines from lower left to upper right are not as strong as I would like them to be)

Aside from this motif, the soon to be modified hobby horse, and 2 versions of a "horseshoe" lace (shown above on the Gossamer), I am still relatively clueless (okay, completely clueless). I have thought about putting a whole horse or a horse head in the center of a square shawl and then using some of these other horse related lace motifs around the center.....

Or, I could do panels...

Or maybe a triangular shawl but that seems like the least likely to work...

Let the games begin...we (the lace yarns and I) will be busy training away. For now, The Harlot's Snow Drop will prevail and be our official entrant.

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