Knitsy asked two questions – what was my first lace project, and why lace at all since I’ve said I am not really the lace-wearing type. I’ll try to answer.
First Lace Project
In the best tradition of flinging one’s self off the end of a pier in order to learn how to swim, my first lace project was the Rose of England cloth from Kinzel’s Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting. It was back in the days BI (before Internet), when aside from my mother, I didn’t know anyone else who knit. While I had no one to ask questions or provide help, I also had no one to tell me that I might be just a bit overambitious for someone who had just picked up needles a year or two before.
It turns out that I wasn’t overambitious at all. The pattern was clear and logical, with no errors. All I had were simple increases and decreases to worry about. Yes, the project was big, but even so it wasn’t a bad choice for a first timer.
I have to admit however (sheepishly) that the thing isn’t finished. I have one more round of petals to do and I have to end it and block it. Why has it sat in the closet all this time? Several reasons. First, it was a first project. While there are no structural errors in the thing my stitches are less than even. Second, lace yarn wasn’t readily available. I used cotton crochet thread, and didn’t have a clue as to how much I needed. Even that was hard to find. As a result there are supposedly similar weight white cottons from three makers in the piece, bought at three different times. And I still need more! The spots at which I transition from one lot of thread to another are very evident both in texture and even color (not all white is white). Third, until recently I had neither dining room nor place to block something so large. I can’t use this excuse any more because now I have both (although the table is rectangular rather than circular).
My long time pal Kathryn has twitted me many times about letting this one languish. But I’m not entirely sure it deserves to be finished. Sure, I’ll have finished off the piece, but I won’t be happy with it. I know every time I look at it I’ll think of what might have been or how it could have been done better. Is it worth it to invest the extra time if the result will be only disappointment? What would you do?
In a conservation of things lost moment, my copy of Heirloom Knitting being found, the bag with my unfinished Rose has now disappeared. Otherwise I’d show a picture of that sad resident of my Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM. Instead I’ll give you happier eye candy. Here’s a link to the incomparable Judy Gibson’s finished Rose. I melt in shame for my own shortcomings. I still love that pattern, but perhaps it’s time to toss in the towel on attempt number one and re-knit the thing for real.
Why not? Actually, there’s more reason than that. I find the way patterns build in lace fascinating – how the charts or prose directions translate into the visual impact of the actual work. The more involved or complex the design, the better. Even more so if there are almost no row for row repeats in the piece. Plus I have to admit that making things with no garment shaping or final fit to worry about is wonderfully relaxing. So what if my flat lace pieces end up being a bit bigger or smaller than target? They’re splendid just as they are.