Sunday, July 09, 2006

Venus: Vedi, Vidi, Vici

Venus is now complete! Well, not completely complete. It is officially off the needles, just in time to start the Mystery Stole (more about that below) since I had promised myself "Just Say No" to new projects until at least one was finished.

Here is Venus in her unblocked form, complete with dangling ends and lifelines:

The photo is a bit distorted because of the angle necessary to get the whole vest in the photo, but you get the idea. The yarn is Fiddlesticks hand-dyed Country Silk, and it is scrumptious.

This was my first real lace project, after doing several scarves. The instructions were extremely well written. There were charts, which I had never used before and found somewhat intimidating at first, but they were very easy to follow. The liberal use of stitch markers and lifelines kept me on track and I rarely had to do more fixing than pick up a dropped stitch between markers. It is knit from side to side, with a 16-row repeat, so I threaded in a lifeline at the end of every repeat. Even though I never had to frog it down to a lifeline, they came in handy for keeping track of where I was. Here are closeups of the lace patterns:

Blocking will have to wait, since I will be away part of this coming week and part of next week. But then it is too warm to wear it before fall anyway.

On to the Mystery Stole! I had already made four swatches in ivory alpaca to get it up to gauge. As you can see in my last post, the Penguin is looking at them dubiously, so I ended up buying a cone of the lace weight Zephyr (50% silk, 50% merino wool) that the designer was using. It was touch and go whether the yarn would come in time... I was itching to start, and if it didn't come in yesterday's mail I was going to have to wait until Thursday. But, miracle of miracles, it arrived late yesterday afternoon, just as I was about to dunk Venus in the sink! So Venus got a reprieve, and I started winding manageable-sized balls from the cone.

There were several false starts, not even counting the previous swatches. I decided not to do another swatch, since everyone else using Zephyr was using #3 or #4 needles, and I didn't have any #3's and would rather have it a little bigger anyway. I started on an inexpensive bamboo circular and after carefully marking up the charts, doing the provisional cast on, and putting in stitch markers, I did the first few rows. There were lots of booboos along the way... counting to 10 or 12 would seem to be a simple matter, but on the way back the number of stitches between markers would change. Aaaargh! And then the yarn kept catching on the join of the needle. Clearly it was meant to be frogged and restarted on the Addis I had once bought and never used. I was afraid that the Addis would be too slippery and stitches would slide off the needle too easily, but the snagging and catching with the bamboos was ridiculous. So back to the beginning!

By the time my eyes were announcing the end of the evening I had completed the first 20 rows of the chart:


This looks like it is going to be a beautiful design... but with 2 inches to show for an entire evening's work (with absolutely no distractions) it could be a very long process indeed.

And yes, I plan to thread in a lifeline before I do one more row!


Anonymous said...

It's beautiful, nice work! I'm on the KAL too, just waiting impatiently for my yarn to get here to start. It's nice to see what I have to look forward to.

Gill said...

Gorgeous yarn. I quite fancied joining in on this but I have far too many things on my 'to knit' list :)Love your blogtitle