Today the first clue for Mystery Stole 3 was released. I was ready... yarn purchased, swatches knit, beads ordered, tools lined up.
New tools for this project include new Addi Lace Needles, a crochet hook with such a tiny hook that it is practically invisible, and highlighter tape.
The Addi lace needles have lovely sharp points, but they are not so slippery that the silk yarn slides off promiscuously. So far, they seem perfect for this project.
The #14 crochet hook looks like something you might find on the dentist's tray. The hook is so tiny that it is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. It has to be that small to fit the holes in the beads. Fortunately, it is possible to do this by feel rather than by sight!
The other new item, which I had read about but could never find locally, is Highlighter Tape. It is wonderful for lace charts – just put a strip of tape above the line you are knitting, and move it up as you knit. It is far superior to my previous solutions: Post-It notes, strips of paper held with a paper clip, and even magnetic strips on an old metal document holder. The tape comes in several colors, and it is easy to move when you want to move it, but it sticks well when you don't want it to move. I had looked for it locally but never found it, and I finally ordered it online. Highly recommended!!
The beads are beautiful, but they are tiny (size 8/0), silver-lined clear glass. I haven't figured out how to handle them without dumping them all over the floor... it happened once, though fortunately I had put a few of them in a little plastic medicine cup, so I didn't lose too many. Maybe some kind of little mat would work better than grabbing them from the cup with the hook – this is my first experience with beads, and some experimentation may be in order.
I did swatch for this project, but I knit the swatches before the beads arrived. I chose these beads to create a subtle effect against the silver-gray silk, but I am now wondering if the effect is too subtle. (They don't show up well in the photo, but they don't show up well in real life either!) I also have some larger (6/0) beads that I ordered by mistake, and I am considering using those in the center section of the stole. More experimentation in order...
This stole, like Mystery Stole 2, promises to be a challenging project but extremely engaging. It is compelling to knit "just one more row" to see how the design is evolving, even when there are other things to be done.
The first few rows did not get off to a good start. I was having a lot of trouble maneuvering the two ends of the needle, the yarn, the crochet hook, and the bead without dropping any of them. O to be an octopus! It is getting easier, but another hand or two would still be helpful.
Thanks, Melanie, for the opportunity to be part of this community of over 3000 knitters from all over the world working on a project that will be interesting to knit and will result in learning new techniques... and will, undoubtedly, be beautiful when finished.