I was standing in a local yarn store about two months ago, looking at the Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk. I love that yarn. I love the kindness of the women behind that brand–I’ve mentioned here before that I once had trouble matching a dye lot and got a phone call from New York City at dark o’clock one winter morning as a LYSO there called me back the next day, having no clue that the person who’d inquired was on California time. My husband startled awake, grabbed the phone so I could sleep, and then woke me, grumbling, “It’s your New York City boiler-room yarn pushers. They want you to know they don’t have your dye lot.”
When I told Blue Sky, they promptly checked, found they could match it themselves, and mailed me two skeins and insisted it was on them for my troubles.
So here I was thinking how I have such positive associations with that yarn, and I felt, buy the white. You’ll be glad you have it. Buy the white. I had nobody in mind, just a strong feeling.
I was going through my stash (again!) looking for just the right yarn for Jessie’s wedding present, and that Alpaca Silk leaped out at me and I thought, I am SO glad I have that! And then it hit me that that matched the thought I’d had in the store.
So did I immediately cast on? Was I satisfied? I confess no. I argued. I had cones’ worth of plain baby alpaca, less impressive looking, perhaps less soft, but already balled up and ready to go. I had this, I had that, and the Alpaca Silk would require prep time and I was tired. I went and watered my baby plum tree, it being about 8 pm, no UV to speak of, and then the apple trees. I splashed at the bluejay that scolded me that this was its territory (and it actually, for the first time in weeks, shut up. It’s been keeping my daughter awake at night, and it actually stood there on the branch above me, looking at me, opening its beak a few times and then not chattering anything. I do believe it finally gained some respect.) I avoided the yarn some more. I wrote a note to a friend.
It’s the writing that did it–when in doubt, write it out. It hit me that thinking that that was just the right yarn and then not using it because I didn’t want to roll it up into balls and I didn’t want to have to splice them were just such dumb reasons not to use a yarn that I knew felt right. Get real. And I only had to ball up the first for the night, the rest could wait.
I can’t tell you what a relief it felt to get going with what was then sitting in my hands, going, See? See? I told you so! at me.
I didn’t want to make a Wanda shawl from my “Wrapped in Comfort” book in white and have Jessie’s exactly match my sister Anne’s. I wanted her to have something more unique. I spent some time hashing out lace pattern ideas and swatches, noted the wedding date–uh, ain’t a whole lot of time there, folks–and decided I’d have to leave room for ripping and redoing and redesigning for later on on that one. The result is this:
I cast on and started following the directions for the Constance shawl, but in size 6mm (10) needles. (As always, remember that I am a very loose knitter.) Then row 6, I knit plain. Row 8, I omitted. For the yoke, I did the seaweed pattern of the Monterey shawl, and will continue with the Monterey from there; the original had 361 stitches across the body, this will have 292 (three more than the Constance because the jellyfish pattern is a 12+4 whereas the Constance is a 12+1.)
Got all that? Good. Basically, this gets you a less-full Monterey shawl on larger needles, fewer stitches, and less time taken, but in a wonderful yarn. It will have 13 stitches more across than the Wanda shawl in the Wanda yarn, and the Monterey is a mesh-type stitch with a great deal of give to it. It is emphatically NOT a beginner’s lace; it’s complicated and requires lots of attention, it aggravates occasionally especially when you’re not used to it, and it comes out absolutely exquisite in the end, especially knitted up in a yarn like this.
Which is why it feels like the perfect one to knit for newlyweds. Not to mention, it looks like they’ll be taking a job here. I can’t wait to show them the Aquarium in Monterey.
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