No, it's not a bad folk band, or a new Harry Potter book. It's my first Proper Lace shawl! I finished it! I've been wanting to have a go at something like this for ages, but hadn't quite worked up the nerve until now.
I got this gorgeous hand-dyed purple merino sock yarn from Wild Fire fibres at Woolfest. Which I just realised I completely failed to post about when I went in June. So if you'll bear with me a minute, I'll just backtrack a little bit to set the scene. Yes, Woolfest was as awesome as it sounds!!!1! A day out in the Lake District, with a busload of lovely people from Bolton Knitting Noras, fluffy rabbits, scenic mountains, delicious Jennings beer and SO MUCH beautiful yarn. The combination of the last two things caused me to get a little bit carried away. I bought this yarn, borrowed a swift to wind it immediately, then cast on in the Woolfest cafe tent. (Don't believe anyone who tries to tell you knitters are patient people. I needed to start NAAAOOO.)
Thinking I'd make a shawl, I initially went for Aestlight, because it's a nice easy garter stitch thing, with low ballsup potential for social knitting, and more importantly because the pattern printout was still at the bottom of my knitting bag from the first one I made. After a very pleasant day of sitting around and chatting, and a bus journey back, I'd got quite a lot done.
But it was not to be. I think after finishing Tempest, with its acres of stocking stitch, my fingers were itching for something a bit more intricate. Aestlight's also a pattern I'd done quite recently, and while I enjoyed the first one I'm not a big repeat knitter of patterns unless a fair amount of time has elapsed (apart from that one time I went a bit mad and knitted three pirate hats in a row). I just feel that variety is the spice of yarny life, and if you aren't feeling it with a particular pattern, and there are so many fun ones out there to choose from, why persevere?
It was in this frame of mind that I saw that Marina had just been published. It was perfect! Beautiful, but not too difficult looking, it could be my stepping stone into the world of Proper Lace. So after a bit of unravelling, I was off again. And this time the whole process was twenty times more fun. The yarn withstood the frogging and reknitting admirably, I think it maybe even enjoyed getting into some new shapes. I love the way you can extend the pattern easily to suit the amount of yarn you have. I did 7 pattern repeats out of one skein so it's more of a shawlette / pointy scarf really. It's going to be a birthday present for my sis. Who doesn't read this blog so I am safe. But she does like purple a lot.
At the risk of sounding obvious (I am a lace n00b) I love the way the beauty in the finished product comes from the bits missing. It's like the best parts of it are where you didn't do anything. HOLES IN STUFF FTW. *Dons string vest, eats swiss cheese*.
(PS. I enjoyed this shawl so much, the reason it took me so long to blog about it is because I knitted another more elaborate one immediately afterwards, barely pausing for breath... this really was a gateway drug for me! Lock up your laceweight!)