Monday, January 26, 2009


If you were paying close attention (or even if you happened by for half a second) about three weeks ago, I had just begun working on a simple rectangular lace stole in a very (and I do mean very) easy four-row lace pattern, using a seriously wonderful mohair/wool/nylon concoction from Fleece Artist.

The yarn is one of FA's "extras" -- Leba, it's called -- and I snagged two balls of it last time I was out at Wool'N'Things in Orleans. Thanks to Gisele, the shop's owner, for pointing me to an almost-unpacked box of Fleece Artist that had just come in; for truly, this yarn was a joy to knit. I won't go on and on about the colours (having already done that in a previous post, and there are really only so many adjectives in the English language), and I believe I've already discussed this yarn's peculiarities, which include:
  1. Extreme gorgeousness
  2. Warmth -- you don't mix wool and mohair and not wind up with a seriously warm blend
  3. More gorgeousness
  4. An absolutely severe case of amnesia, combined with no sense of direction -- this yarn couldn't remember where you put it if you issued it with a compass and a map, which made it, uh, challenging to repair any errors involving stitches falling off the needles
  5. An apparent unwillingness to play nicely with others, in the sense of all the stitches lying down and co-operating together -- but I hoped that this trait would improve with some serious blocking
  6. Different ancestry, in the sense that one skein seemed to have had more mauve DNA mixed with the burgundy, while the other had more russets and browns. I solved this, if you will recall, by creating a buffer zone between the two halves -- for about eight inches, I alternated skeins, two rows at a time, until I finally ran out of Skein A, and then I merrily continued with Skein B until the very end of the stole.
Which happened yesterday morning. Strangely, no whistles were blown, no party favours were thrown in the air, no cheers erupted from the crowd. It was just a quiet, "I have finished" moment, followed by a rush to the kitchen sink to get that blocking started. Because damn, I really wanted to see the finished product.

Leba -- before blocking

Readers, I was not disappointed. As I stretched the damp fabric over my usual high-tech blocking apparatus (I use those squishy foam tiles found in daycares and toddlers' play-rooms across the land, and then just pin my stuff down as tightly as possible), the stitches blossomed open, and the true beauty of the lace, and the colours, revealed themselves fully. I kept calling my family members to come and witness this extraordinary event, but oddly, after the initial, "Yeah, Mum/Karen, that looks great," they wandered off and could not be coaxed anew.

Leba -- after blocking, but it was about -474C outside this morning, and frankly, standing on my front porch in my Birkenstocks and PJs, snapping shots of a piece of knitted lace hung over the railing, just did not work for me. I don't care how great early morning pre-sunrise light is alleged to be. It's too damn cold.

Hence the blurry image and total lack of artistic merit in this shot.

However, you can at least see how the stitched opened up.

Now, let's get reasonable and go back indoors, shall we?

Thank you.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Talking about my family, the Philistines.

Never mind, O Beautiful Stole of Mine, I adore you wholeheartedly. You are probably the single most elegant thing I've ever knitted, and I will wear you with pride.

You stretched out from a mere 14" x 70" to about 22" x 108", just the right length to toss on over my shoulders and secure with a shawl pin, which is exactly what I am doing today.

In fact, I'd probably wear you every single day for the rest of my life, except that eventually I would become known as "that crazy woman who wears the lace blanket and growls when you try to pry it off her." Plus, while it's winter right now, and your warmth is very much appreciated, I suspect you might be a little de trop, come summertime.

But never fear. You and I will become even better friends, and you'll get worn a lot, and don't let any of my other knitted garments try to tell you otherwise. They're all just jealous, because you are the most magnificent of them all.

And that's the truth. Phhhffffftttttb.


Basic stole stats are as follows:
Yarn -- Leba by Fleece Artist -- a mohair, wool, and nylon blend. I bought two skeins, which had an unbelievably generous yardage. The yarn bills itself as a "light DK," but I'd call it a sportweight at most. Two plies, not especially tightly spun or plied.
Needles -- 4.5mm, but could have gone up if I'd wanted to, or had those needles available that day.
Pattern -- Cambria Wrap, a freebie I found on Ravelry and have had in my queue for ages now, awaiting the correct combination of yarn and motivation
Started -- January 7, 2009
Finished -- January 25, 2009


Northmoon said...

Makes me feel warmer just looking at that beautiful stole.

Love it, love the pattern, just enough lacyness, the size looks perfect. I'd be wearing it to bed in this weather if I were you!

You might have inspired me to knit a stole for myself next.

Stacy said...

Much too cold to stay outside long photographing knitting... it looks so pretty though. I love the color.

Geek Knitter said...

My husband is never as impressed with my knitting as I think he should be. It's something which has made me question our relationship at times. But then summer comes and he fires up the motorcycle and vrooms me off my feet.

Your stole is a thing of beauty!

Mary Wilson said...

It is lovely... but how does the Boyfriend Sweater feel about this?

dawn draper said...

It's so beautiful! Did I miss which pattern you used, or is it a Karen Original? What perfect weather we're having for snuggling under a pile of handknits.

Karen said...

Aw, thanks, guys!
Mary W., please refrain from mentioning this project in the presence of "My Boyfriend's Back" -- so far I have kept the stole a secret from my other FOs, and I'd like to keep it that way.
And thank you all for being nice about the (still) cruddy photography. I know it looks like the stole started out one colour and miraculously changed, but honestly, it really does look different depending on whether I see it in daylight or office light. It's only partly due to my crappy camera and photo-taking skillz.

Dave said...

It looks lovely, and I bet it feels even lovelier! :-0

Don't blame you at all for running back inside; I think you were very brave for even trying an outdoor photo shoot.

gilraen said...

What a gorgeous stole!!!! The colours are so vibrant and beautiful!!