Thursday, May 29, 2008

all this useless beauty

I have been obsessed with one thing all week:

The Feather & Fan shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I started it somewhere around a year ago, but put it aside in summer because hot, humid weather + fuzzy alpaca yarn = disaster. Then I couldn't work on it all winter because dry, rough hands + fuzzy alpaca yarn = disaster also. But now that we are experiencing a super-extended spring (temps still in the high 50s/low 60s) I have been able to pick it up again.

I also wanted to work something complicated and interesting before the baby arrives and my brain dribbles out of my head. You moms know that of which I speak.

When I restarted this I was just at the end of my first ball of Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud (440 yards), and had completed 100 rows of the pattern. There were 600 stitches per round at that point. I thought it took forever to get around, and heaven help me if I made a mistake, because finding it and fixing it was a hellish, 2-day operation that made me want to poke my eyes out.

So I daringly picked it back up, joined the second ball of yarn, and have now completed 136 of 189 rows. That may sound good, but I am now at a point where there are well over 800 stitches per round, and each round takes approximately 45 minutes to knit. Seriously. The pattern is 3 plain knit rounds, then one pattern round. In one evening of knitting (from approximately 9:00 until 11 or 11:30) I can knit about 4 rounds. But not always. Even though it is the very definition of tedious, I am enjoying it immensely.

Hubs snickers at me because I am knitting a shawl - he thinks it a very "old lady" thing to do (no, he does not read knitting blogs and does not know hundreds of young ladies are knitting up a lace storm). He keeps asking me why I'm doing it. I don't have a really good answer for that. I guess it's because I get tired of knitting toddler sweaters - Daughter barely wears them anymore now that she is so active because she gets too hot - and I'm not really ready to make baby boy sweaters yet. The repetitive nature and need for constant counting keeps me nice and calm and occupied, so I can't devote energy and thoughts to pregnancy anxiety. And also, it's nice sometimes to make something that's beautiful...just for beauty's sake. Why not?

For the record, last year I remember thinking (and may have even stated here) that I didn't know how this shawl was going to take 5 whole balls of yarn at 440 yards each. I was halfway through the chart and had only used one ball! But now, having knit 36 more rounds, I get it. The second ball is almost gone already and I am hoping I make it with the yarn I have. 800+ stitches per round really eats up yarn quickly.

So today, instead of madly knitting, I forced myself to use naptime productively; I vacuumed (finally, eew), and did the dishes, and even got some laundry out on the line to dry. Plus I worked on the hem of my brown linen dress (which I will finish tomorrow). I probably have enough left of naptime to work one more round of the shawl......if you need me, I'll be hunched over my lace, brow furrowed, counting, counting. But don't let the scowl fool you...I will be happy! :)


Anne K. said...

The color is heavenly - it's going to be gorgeous as you stroll around the neighborhood on a cool summer evening....!

Karen said...

I can't wait to see it done. What a gorgeous color.

When I was pg with B I used to do word searches to keep my mind settled. LOL. Knitting would have been so much more productive.