Yes, dear friends, I am still here. It’s just that I am so very far behind at everything that I can see my own backside! That includes correspondence, mailing prizes (for wont of packaging), laundry, organizations I purportedly lead, gardening and anything but the care of one Darling Bebe. On the other hand, there is some packing, straightening and staging accomplished, so the ledger isn’t completely unbalanced. It’s just that priorities are restacked and jumbled at the moment. And somehow my employers have failed to notice that it is summer, when things are supposed to slow down. Not so.
I can’t claim any significant knitting is happening. Nope. By the time I pick up needles, I pretty much doze off sitting up straight in mid-stitch. But some long-completed FOs are finally getting the attention they deserve since there is an invitingly pristine guest bed available for blocking.
This is my first attempt at a KAL, or knitalong, as part of the Susanna IC group on Ravelry. Today, you know the pattern as Polaris. But at the time, participants were rationed portions of the pattern every couple of weeks, and dutifully kept each other company knitting in our respective places around the world.
I liked the concept a lot. The problem with the “mystery” KAL for someone who lives and dies by the success of project marriage is the great difficulty in choosing the right yarn – and more difficult – beads – for the pattern when you don’t know what the finished project looks like. In this instance, the yarn was easy – Spirit Trail Fiberworks Nona. I used it to make an enormous and dramatic Phoenix Rising for STF, but had nothing of my own made with Sunna’s skinnier laceweight sister. Time to use the skein from the 2011 Holiday Club in a colorway very similar to STF’s Aquitaine. (Most accurate in top photo)
I know that Nona is marked “heavy laceweight” but as someone who’s knit several football fields’ worth of it, I would quibble with that. Nona takes an 8/0 bead via crochet hook just fine. Because of her fiber composition (50% merino, 25% silk, 25% cashmere), she has a bit of “grab” that laceweight yarns without cashmere don’t have. Once soaked, Nona blocks out hard and gets thinner. I would not hesitate to use Nona for just about anything calling for “laceweight” unless the project specifically called for 100% silk. And if you are new to knitting with laceweight yarns, I would recommend Nona specifically because of that bit of grabbiness you might like.
Choosing the beads was another story altogether. I had some 8/0 dark amethyst AB seed beads, but in swatching, they seemed kind of lost on the dark yarn. So following some advice from Bead Queen Sivia Harding, I went with a lighter, clear bead I found at a local shop. They do pop a bit in plain natural light. Admittedly, they are rather subtle. I’m not one for too much bling. But next time, I will try to go with a triangle or hexagonal bead ~ one with facets that flash a bit more when picking up the light.
As for the pattern, it was the usual clear Susanna IC crescent. I thought it was fun to knit with other folks and to get the pattern in installments. Until the lights went out. And stayed out in the aftermath of the October Snowpocalypse. (Which tells you how long ago all this started.) It’s one thing to knit lace by candlelight. Beading by candlelight? Nope. Unh-unh. No way. Sorry.
Eventually, the poor little shawl was finished and relegated to the blocking pile. It has waited and waited and waited. But now you get to see her.
Yarn: Approx. 410 yards Spirit Trail Fiberworks Nona
Pattern: Polaris – “Susanna IC Mystery Crescent KAL”
Modifications: Because of the tendency for the top edge of these crescents to roll in stockinette, I chose to use a two-stitch I-cord bind-off using a US 7 needle. If I had it to do again, I would have bumped that up to an 8. It gave a very nice edge to the top that I think it needs for stability.
Needles: US 8 (C/O) and US 5 Addi Turbo circulars
Project marriage: Yarn – 9.5 / Beads – 6
Somehow, I’m afraid that if I resurrect the KAL thread on Ravelry, I’ll be in for a lot of hazing. I guess that’s what happens when you are the de facto caboose.