There’s a leap of faith that goes with starting a lace project. You have to assume certain things:
Thing No. 1: I will get the hang of the lace pattern.
Thing No. 2: I will keep knitting on this piece of knitting even though it looks sort of bunched up and lumpy.
Here’s the dream:
Here’s the reality at the moment:
Despite the lumpy, misshapen appearance of this thing, I am operating at a high level of optimism. Here’s how.
Thing No. 1: Getting the Hang of It
It was a good move for me to try out the Rib Lace pattern at a small scale before jumping into this shawl.
Our Field Guide provides a simple scarf pattern, Rib Lace Scarf, that let me practice. This stitch pattern appears in the Clerestory Shawl as well, so it’s a good appetizer. And Jen Arnall-Culliford’s superb video tutorials for Rib Lace and Tumbling Block Lace are right here.
I haven’t knit lace in a long time, so this felt like a whole new kind of knitting for me. The yarn is so fine! I took it slow and let myself be a poky knitter for a change. Each stitch an event, a triumph. Almost like learning to knit all over again.
I blocked my scarfy swatch, and it was great to see how the yarn behaves. It behaves well! It wants to be openwork!
Thing No. 2: Remaining Optimistic
I am constantly spreading out my work to see the amazing twists and turns that happen with only a few yarnovers, increases, and decreases. I feel like a genius when I see what is happening with this pattern.
One aspect of this Clerestory Shawl that gives me life is the yarn I’m using.
This is Gleem Lace, the first true laceweight I’ve worked with in ages. I think Jeni Hewlett’s color sense is so smart—she dyes these supersubtle colorways that knit up into beautiful finished fabrics. She’s thinking about how the yarn will be used. She’s keeping in mind the fact that a unified color can come from colors that are cousins of each other, that rhyme.
You can see what I’m talking about in the gallery up top.
Also: this blend of Bluefaced Leicester and silk has a low luster to it. The twist makes all these little pebbly moments in the fabric, adding life to the whole thing.
Having knit lace in the past, I know what will happen when I’m done with this project. It will be one of the most delightful moments in all knitting: that day when a lumpy, misshapen, giant piece of knitting spreads out.
It’s going to be a glorious day of celebration, let me tell you.
I hope you’ll give this design a try. Something about knitting a lustrous cobweb has such appeal right now. This shawl feels special and ornamental. It’s not functional; it’s beautiful, that’s all.