I always enjoy the occasional "knit someone else's pattern" project. I helps me continue to learn new things, and, let's face it….sometimes it's awesome to pay your $6, grab your yarn and needles, and be able to start knitting, without having to sketch something out, work through the construction in your mind, work multiple swatches, and do a bunch of math before you begin!
Rock Island was my latest "not my pattern" project. It was a Jared Flood pattern with tons of projects, and totally worth the $6.75 he charges for the pattern.
I wouldn't call myself a beginner when it comes to lace, but I wouldn't call myself advanced, either. I'm kind of a brave adventurous beginner. I'll take any lace project on if I like it enough, but chances are I'll have to look something up, watch a tutorial video, or end up frogging and re-knitting part of the project.
This one was no different!
I found the border chart easy. Well, except for the fact that you have to repeat the 8-row chart about 70 times. Now THAT took a little determination to stick with it!
I blocked the border after it was done because I thought it would make picking stitches up from it easier. It seemed to work - not only did I find picking the stitches up easy, but I came out with exactly the number the pattern calls for. Don't you love it when that happens…especially when that number is in the high 200's?
When I started in on the "Rock Island" chart (the body lace), I was over-thinking it. I was glued to every stitch, counting and re-counting where I was. I got through 8 rows before I admitted something had gone wrong. Most of it looked good, but it was obvious I had messed up a few stitches here and there. Unfortunately, this was not a chart with any "resting rows"…there was patterning on every single row. And do you think I had used a lifeline? Ha! Lifeline, schmifeline.
I pulled it back down to the garter stitch section on top of the border.
When I started the Rock Island chart for the second time, it hit me - I should be looking at these stitches in groups of three - not in groups of six (as the chart shows the main repeat), and not as the single stitches I was looking at before. Once I grouped them into threes, I barely had to look at the chart. I just had to glance to see how each section began, then I intuitively knew what to do for the rest of the section. The 8 rows that had taken me 3 days to finish flew by in a little more than an hour, and I was done with the entire 24-row chart in a couple days.
This shawl was a very fun knit. And I feel like that little epiphany helped up my lace game just a smudge. But here's the tragic part (for me): I just don't wear shawls. I enjoy occasionally making them, but I just never wear them. I have one in my closet that has been there for about 6 years now, and the only time it's made it off the hanger was to take photos for my Ravelry project page. And this shawl is just too pretty for that sort of fate.
So I've decided to put it up in my Etsy shop. It's made of Malabrigo 100% baby merino yarn. This lace-weight shawl has a wingspan of 53" and a depth of 26". In the event that it needs cleaning, care is hand washing ONLY in cold water, and it will need to dry flat using pins or blocking wires.
I hope it goes to someone who will get lots of use out of it. It would be a shame for something so pretty to sit on a hanger in a closet forever!