Monday, October 12, 2009

There is no spoon

In the climax of The Matrix, Neo is finally able to see through the "reality" of what is appearing before his eyes. Instead of seeing Agent Smith he sees a stream of cascading information. He sees that the walls of the tenement building in which the scene occurs are actually luminous bits and bytes of data. And he sees that the bullet that has been fired at him is also data: data which can be manipulated however he sees fit. Neo has finally realized that there is, indeed, no spoon.

Usually, knitting lace is a lot like that scene. Honestly.

It sounds strange, but I typically find that somewhere in the course of a lace project, the pattern suddenly makes sense. I am able to see where I am in the pattern. To see how my current stitch relates to the pattern as a whole, and to see how one change of that stitch might change the pattern in significant ways. This is a kind of epiphany - and I always enjoy the chance to play "Neo with Needles".

Except, of course, for those occasions when the epiphany never arrives.

Unfortunately, that was my experience with the Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today. Frequent readers of this blog will note that I've complained of this pattern before. The piece is now done, and I'm pleased with the result, but I have to say that I never did have an opportunity to express my inner-Neo with this one. The pattern simply never made sense.

Each individual stitch made perfect sense. Also, each of the rows was relatively straight forward, but the relationship of one row to the next consistently confused me. Partly, I think this is because there really aren't any rows of rest. Most of the lace work I've done has been in either straight stockinette or straight garter stitch - meaning that the wrong side of the work is either straight-across purl stitches or straight-across knit stitches. This pattern is arguably garter stitch in nature, but the wrong-side works a number of yarn-overs and decreases as well. Incorporating those into the work made it very difficult for me to see where I was at any given time within the context of the four-row repeat.
Also, once you manage to get the central section completed, you have the opportunity to work the edging all around the piece. Because the 16-row edging repeat connects to four rows of the central section, this takes quite a while. I managed to frog the edging section multiple times before getting it right.

All that said, I'm pleased with the result, and Mrs. TSMK seems to be as well. It came off the blocking this morning, and she immediately threw it over her shoulders to head out the door.

So, here it is. Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging - done in Plucky Knitter two-ply lace weight cashmere - Color is "Mouse of Madrone."