Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Devil Wears Koigu

Well, I’ve gotten a good start on the Koigu pattern for “Charlotte’s Web Shawl”. It was a little confusing at first, until I got someone to read the pattern to me as I knit it, then I had to get used to the lace pattern, which is not at all complicated.

Here’s my progress so far…

Because I am ornery and obstreperous, I am not using Koigu. I like Koigu yarn just fine, it’s pricey, but it gives good yardage, feels fantastic while knitting, and seems like one of the best quality yarns around. The dying is expert and appealing. The pattern calls for like six different colorways of Koigu, and it shows a couple of really lovely, multi-colored shawls. And, that’s the problem. I like to wear bright colors, and I already have plenty. I like to wear patterns in bright colors, and I already have plenty. If I fling a widely multi-colored shawl on top of that, I’ll either look like a bag lady with expensive tastes or a gypsy matriarch. While it really is one of my goals in life to routinely embarrass my children, that might be too much for even me, so I decided against the blaze of variegations.

I thought about my wardrobe and what I usually wear – which is pretty casual and wash and wear. It also tends towards purple/lilac for the time being. I don’t know why, I just find myself wearing the purple family more often than any other specific color family. I also knew I wanted a shawl I’d wear, so it needed to be soft, useful colors, and I wanted to keep some variations in the colorway because that’s a part of the pattern or overall shawl character. I opted for Artyarns Supermerino, which is also a superwash yarn. Their yarn is nice quality, although they sometimes make some interesting choices in colors for dying. I picked a variegated purples yarn and ordered it through DiscountYarnSale in bulk.

The Artyarns Supermerino is also a worsted weight, heavier than the Koigu line, so I went up two needle sizes as well. I think it looks pretty good so far, and the Artyarns is certainly smooth, soft, and easy to work with.

I’ve heard a lot of people doing the online equivalent of squealing and hooting with glee over this pattern, which did influence me a little. I also looked into it and realized it would be an easy beginner lace pattern, with a chart, and despite my years of experience, I have not had great experiences with charted patterns. I figured I could build my confidence so that I can do the Peacock Feathers shawl later this year with less trepidation.

This pattern is working out for all those purposes. I would not personally hoot or squeal over it; I think the stitching actually looks a little rough and scrambled, and I know I’m doing it right. It’ll no doubt even out more after blocking, but that’s not going to change certain PSSOs and the like, the orientations of which are the tiny points of disagreement I have with the design.

I will give the pattern two thumbs up, though, for HAVING NO MISTAKES in the printing. Anywhere. That’s rare and wonderful, and I want to give kudos where they are due and deserved. I would recommend this pattern to anyone who is thinking of beginning lace knitting, too, which is also praise I’m pretty stingy with.

So, I’m looking forward to getting deeper into the shawl – until I hit that phase that’s like the 8th month of pregnancy where you just wish it would be over, finally. I’ll post a picture of the finished shawl for sure.

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