Lace Liaison

I have recently discovered my hatred of lace. With the TFA Year in Colour Club, we get a skein of yarn every other month with a one-skein pattern. I believe it was the May skein that was lace, I blogged about Paul balling the skein here.

The pattern is for a beautiful cowl, the lace pattern not too complicated and there are sections of plain garter stitch. Easy enough… right? Wrong!

I cast on the 320 stitches on 16” 3.25mm needles because the yarn is so fine and those were the only length I had. Why not? The 320 stitches fit on the 16” needles with zero room to spare, but whenever I periodically worked on it, I worried about dropping a stitch and not noticing.

Old photo of the dreaded 16″ needle cast on.

After I finished Mom’s Alpha socks, I decided I was going to really work on this cowl and get it done! The problem was, while working on it so infrequently, I kept losing my place in the pattern and not remembering where to pick it back up. This is sort of embarrassing since the pattern is about 10 stitches repeated and only two lines of actual pattern. Nonetheless, the pattern looked off; I think I repeated the same line of pace panel over and over instead of alternating like I should have.
What I held in my hands was akin to a tangled mess of very beautiful and delicate yarn. This is where it started going downhill. I had about two or two and a half inches worked, while it didn’t look like much on the 16” needles, off the needles it seemed considerably larger. Deciding I would buy 32” circular needles in 3.25mm I ran to Johanne’s and picked them up.
Sitting in the living room at home, I unwound the work I had previously done. First balling the yarn then, nearer to the end, letting it sit in a small pile on the floor. I didn’t want my cast on edge to be too tight so I held one end of my 16” circular needle with the 32” needle creating an elastic hem that wouldn’t bunch.
This sounded like a good plan in my head why wouldn’t it be? The answer my friends is quantity. To cast on 320 stitches takes a lot of concentration and memory, even in small segments of 70, 90, 70, 90. Concentration and memory are two things I have been sorely lacking in the past couple months. First time, I cast on too little, so I fudged a stitch here and there were I needed it. Upon doing the second round I realized I then had too many. I ripped it out again determined to start over and do it properly. I cast on again, this time placing a stitch marker between every 10 stitches. Instead of ending up with a perfect 320 stitches I ended up with 390. I mixed up my numbers *facepalm.* Seeing no way to fudge that one, I started over AGAIN. The third time was not my lucky charm because there was something wrong with that cast on too.
At this point I decided it must be the yarn. The end I was casting on with was all kinked and crazy from having been knitted. Not to mention the fact that it tangles 100X easier in this from. I had a short text conversation with Alanna at this point.

Me  : I am officially endorsing the curse “SON OF A STITCH”
: AND
: I now hate lace
: If anyone is keeping score

Alanna: Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good.

Me : It’s not

Alanna: Did ya screw up?Me : It’s not a matter of screwing up so much as not being able to get it right…

Alanna: I see. Hate those days
:Is it the Tanis cowl? Or shawl?

Me: Cowl

Alanna: Lol. One word answers. Not good.
: Deep breaths

The breathing helped… a bit. I decided to re-ball the skein rather than immediately setting it on fire in effigy. I called on Betty the baller and started on the task of procrastinating my next cast on. The last time I ripped it out, the yarn managed to tangle into a labyrinth like knot at the end, so I cut it. There was noooo way I was opening THAT particular can of worms. Needless to say, my small pile of un-balled yarn was even smaller than when I began.
I’ll glaze over the re-balling; it went relatively smooth, although that isn’t saying much. I managed to get lace burn when I unraveled the ball a bit too fast. Lace burn is similar to rope burn, but it feels like it is crossed with a paper cut. Poor Alanna received a play-by-play via text. We also discussed the benefits of having a catharsis cry, and agreed that it should become a social norm.

There are no more photos of my progress with the lace because there is depressingly little to show for my work.

When the lace was balled and I could no longer put off another attempt, I started casting on. This time I only placed markers in the appropriate 70, 90, 70, 90 locations, it was a pain to take them all out the first time. At this point I figured nothing was going to help me except the divine intervention of the crafting gods. As it turns out, they finally heard my cursing and smiled down upon me. I cast on the right amount of stitches and carefully, VERY carefully began working the ribbing. In the several hours I spent doing this, I probably have half an inch of work to show for it.

Finished Alpha Socks

Lace after finishing the Alpha socks, which were knit in a fine yarn as well, was probably not a good idea. I just couldn’t warrant starting another project when I have this one on the needles. So help me, the next thing I knit will be bulky weight! Or at least worsted…