Wednesday, June 07, 2006



My friend NancyK and I are both going to be knitting the Candle Flame Wrap from Knitpicks. I'm doing mine in the color pictured, and NancyK is knitting hers in a fuscia/pink/magenta colorway. It is my first serious lace knitting. I got started before NancyK -- apparently I bought the last pair of size 4 24" Addi Turbos at out LYS. Pity.

Anyway, this is a new skill for me, and one fraught with peril for someone as neurotic and high-strung as I. I made it 3" into the wrap, dropped a stitch, and had to rip the whole blasted thing out.

So I told NancyK that I recommended putting in lifelines at regular intervals.

NancyK responded thusly: "I don't use lifelines. Lifelines are for wimps."

While I love NancyK, and have the utmost respect for her as a knitter, I thing she's full of sheapdip on this one point. Lifelines are not for wimps. They are for the knitter keen on learning a new skill. They are for the person who does not mind making mistakes -- but doesn't want to pay the ultimate price for them. The are for the former Boy Scout who always needs to Be Prepared. (Please -- don't write to tell me the scouts discriminate against gays/lesbians/and Jews. I already know, and Norbert isn't a scout because of it.)

This evening I ran into trouble. I had dropped a stitch which had originated in a yarn over a few rows prior. Try as I might, I couldn't pick it up in a way that gave me a uniform lace hole. I thought of just doing my best and just knitting forward, imperfection be damned, but I knew that it would make me crazy and diminish the final product in my eye.

So I pulled the wrap off the needles and ripped back 8 rows to the lifeline. I slipped the stitches carefully back on the needles and I counted my stitches. 97! Just what I was supposed to have!

Ripping back lace is not a job for a wimp. It takes a lot of fortitude. But not as much as it would have if I hadn't run a lifeline!

(BTW, NancyK: Norbert once came home from school and called Myfanwe a wimp. Safe to say, after her "We Don't Call People Wimp in This Household -- First it's Wimp, Then it's Sissy, Then it's Faggot. The Next Thing You Know You'll Be Beating Up Kids Because They Take Dance Lessons and I Didn't Raise You So You'd Grow Up To be Like That" lecture, I can promise you he'll never use that word again. I'm not sure he knew what it meant when he said it, but he knows how strongly we disapprove. Norbert is a good kid, bless him.)


Rachel H said...

I've been looking at that pattern, so will be interested to know your thoughts as you get farther along.

And just so you know, one of the absolute best knitters and fibre artists I have seen in my life is using lifelines in her current project - a sweater with a lace panel in angora so fluffy you'd swear the bunny was still in there somewhere. Can you imagine trying to pick up those stitches? *shudder*

Aidan said...

Yes, I can imagine trying to pick them up -- and it is enough to keep me up at night! To be perfectly honest, it wasn't all that easy picking them up with a lifeline. The yarn is about as thick as dental floss!

I'll definitely post on my progress. I'm still learning a new skill, which translates into slow progress and some frustration. When I've really gotten the hang of it, I'll be better able to speak to the merits of the pattern.

Elisabeth said...

I got tired of my father (yes, my father) calling me a wimp, so I just started agreeing with him. Yes, fine, I'm a wimp. Once he realized I didn't care what he thought, he just stopped.

I have a different quote from NancyK that I think applies to lace very well.

"You rule the yarn, the yarn does not rule you."

Sarah said...

The candle flame is next on my list after the Icarus shawl.

LOVE lace...if you are able to conquer this project, you can do any other lace!!!

Good luck.

iowakitkat said...

Nice to see you back blogging!