Thursday, January 12, 2012

Doo Does Lace. And Beads??

Okay, now that I'm becoming (cough, choke) "mature," I've been trying to figure out what kind of old lady I want to practice being.  It's entirely flexible because it's all a mindset.  I have zero interest in enriching a plastic surgeon and not being able to frown because when you inject botulism into your face, your face doesn't move anymore.  And that's pretty creepy but also, when I frown, I damn well want people to know it.  So that's out.  I sort of decided on accepting the inevitable aging things, but doing it gracefully.  That was the ideal.  However the reality concern about that mindset is that it's too easy to ignore style entirely.

I've pretty much decided to accept "conservative New England" because that's kind of where my head is.  It means LL Bean and I live in LL Bean clothes.  My whole wardrobe is LL Bean.  Like to an after-the-fact realization.  If I look at my wardrobe, "Regular" in winter is their Turtlenecks, mock turtlenecks and "dressy" is their Pima Cotton long sleeve tops.  "Regular" in summer is their Saturday T-shirt and "dressy" is their Pima Cotton short sleeve tops.  I can't knock those Pima Cotton tops, they're a thin drapy fabric, cool to wear and though they are pretty perishable, they go anywhere.

So with that mindset I did something strange.  I have no idea where this came from, but for some reason I got a yen to knit a "real lace" shawlette.  And with beads!  Now finer lace (meaning laceweight yarn) is a departure for me to some extent, but beads are a total departure.  It made me wonder if those neurons are starting to misfire.  I mean, one could take that as a sign, even though it would be a pretty benign sign.  But anyway, I went into my LYS and looked at laceweight yarns.  Now Jerry (husband) has some very set opinions that I don't always agree with (e.g., Ravelry won't be around much longer because Facebook is losing steam).  But he's a really good dyer.  Pretty phenomenal in fact.  He had a colorway that I can only describe as the color you stare at when deep sea fishing off the coast of southern California.  (Damn, I miss deep sea fishing.)  It's a color hard to describe, but that's the color of this colorway.  It's not deep green, it's not deep blue, it's somewhere in there.  It's not flashy, it's very muted.  But not dull.  And he pulls off an ever so slight verigation.  It's easy to get big ones at the dye pot, not so with "ever so slight."

I bought that yarn.  To give you an idea of how fine it is (maddeningly so on a size 7 needles that are VERY slick, to boot), there are 1,000 yards to 4 oz.  That's pretty fine.  Not "cobweb" but definitely at the finer end of the laceweight range.  Let's just say I have no interest in knitting with anything finer. 

The beads?  Well, Cindi is pretty blingy, she favored some really blingy ones.  I went for the same color beads as the yarn EXCEPT they have sparkle.  Not cheap brassy sparkle.  Okay, it's the kind of thing where on an ever so slightly cloudy night where you can still see the stars, they don't scream out at you, but you're definitely aware of them.  That kind of beads.

So I was going to make a shawlette I've made twice before because it's easy.  But instead, just for the fun of it, did a pattern search on Rav.  Bunches of thumbnails.  But one stopped my eye in its tracks.  Both eyes.  Not a lot of beads.  Again, like stars are on an ever so slightly cloudy night.  And the feature photo's yarn color was a dead ringer for mine.  And that's how I met Susanna IC, designer par excellence.  The name of this shawlette is "Little Leaves."  It was a definite step up from any lace I've knitted before in terms of complexity, but not so far out there that I felt defeated. 

People called this a "quick knit."  HAH!  Not for me it wasn't.  But I finally got it done and it came off the blocking mats yesterday afternoon (probably 12 hours too soon but oh well.)  It is GORGEOUS in person.  The shape is quite unique in the way it's constructed, but also because short rowing is used.  It fits if worn as a shawl because it meets in the middle and doesn't spread apart at the bottom edge.  It can be tied and it stays tied (the square cut ends).  Its wing tips can be flipped over the shoulder and they stay put.  AND they cascade into a point (out edge's front corners).  It's perfect.  I love this designer.

These photos do not show the color of the yarn but that's hard to get anyway.  So with that preface, here it is.

Blocked (the shape as you see it, but could have blocked it more spread out if I had more mats)...

Best shot to see the leaves stitch pattern....

Best shot to see the beads which are hard as hell to photograph and get their color.  I could only get it by shooting at a slant, totally warping the yarn color and to some extent the beads color but this shows their placement, hence "not overdone."

So now sure, this can be worn with LL Bean and with jeans too, because people do all that now.  But with a red down jacket that makes you look like a marshmallow??  I don't think so.  I might have to add a slight variation to "New England LL Bean Conservative" and buy some sleeker pants.  And shoes that aren't slip-in clogs....  with hay and dried horse poop on them.