I have been fairly productive with my knitting this summer, thanks to all that time spent on the sofa. My latest project: Branching Out, using my own handspun (made from a batt of Lincoln-crossbred from Barneswallow Farm).
I never really understood the appeal of lace, until I started this project. It just seemed too fiddly to be worth it. However, I had admired the Branching Out pattern when it first appeared in Knitty four years ago. As part of my stash-busting effort this summer, I took another look at my handspun, which tends to get turned into skeins that just sit in a basket, looking attractive. I decided they needed a higher purpose in life, and was pleased (OK, I was positively gleeful) when I figured out that I had just enough of this lovely raspberry single-ply yarn to produce the scarf. It went on vacation with me, and I started on it on the eight-hour drive back from NC.
The pattern was exactly as billed: a gentle, relatively easy intro to lace knitting. However, as I soon discovered, lace knitting -- even gentle, easy lace knitting -- requires a fair bit of concentration. Long car rides are perfect. Early mornings on the sofa are also good. Baseball games and TV knitting, not so much.
I managed to knit 10 repeats of the pattern during that first car ride; I ended up with 30 repeats for my scarf, which I finished while taking the boys up to camp this past weekend. When done, it was a fairly lumpy, uneven bit of knitting.
I had been worried that my handspun wasn't consistent enough to do justice to lace knitting, but I had faith in the blocking process. I had seen the transformation it could render. (Yeah, I know, I wasn't getting a wedding shawl out of it, but I had high hopes for the process!) I washed and blocked and pinned and spent an inordinate amount of time patting the scarf as it dried. Halfway through, I was encouraged:
All the way done, I was ecstatic.
I have been hemming and hawing over the fate of the scarf, once completed, as I give away the vast majority of my knitted items. (To give you an idea: as I was knitting it, my LSH asked who it was for.) However, Suzie posted just the post I needed during my indecision, and the fate of the scarf is sealed. I will be keeping it for myself.