Anyone who follows my work or my blog - even from time to time - knows that I like freeform! I am a fan of Myra Wood in particular, and though I've tried my hand at crochet freeform a number of times in the past, I'm relatively new to freeform lace. Her book, Crazy Lace, was the influence for my attempt at making this particular shawl.
Color is another passion of mine, but this time, I wanted to create a lovely colorless confection suitable for summer brides, mothers of the bride, or for any fashion-conscious woman in need of a light-weight cover to ward off summer drafts, particularly from air conditioning
So.....I set out with the following goals:
- Gather all my light-weight yarns in whites, creams, and off-whites
- Arm myself with appropriate needles - only I didn't know at first what size that might be!
- Shape the shawl so that it would be fairly shallow in the back, with some degree of "waviness"
- Create something different - without a pattern!
Anyone who does freeform knows that there are really no rules! For some, this is freeing, and for others this is mind-bindingly painful! For me, it's FUN! BUT.......you never quite know what you're going to get. Lots of labor, hours of work. thousands of yarns of yarn.....and you could end up with some kind of monster with a life of its own.
So my project began sanely enough, but took considerably more time than I had anticipated. That's OK because the results seemed to be exactly what I had had in mind. When I finally bound it off, I had the profound sense of satisfaction that it was lovely, that it was sale-able, that it was PERFECT for the purpose I had in mind! It JUST needed a freeform crochet edge to stabilize the edges and give it that extra designer touch.
So....instead of binding off, cutting the yarn, and reattaching yarn to begin the freeform edging in crochet at some other point on the piece, I just blithely continued on with the same yarn, using my trusty crochet hook now. Anyone who crochets knows how easy it is to experiment with crochet because it is SO easy to simply pull out if you don't like the effect and start over. Well, that it exactly what I attempted to do, only instead of blithely pulling on the yarn, I BLINDLY pulled and pulled, thinking I was only pulling out the crochet. Suddenly it seemed that I was pulling on more than just what I had experimentally crocheted. To my HORROR, I was pulling on NOT JUST THE CROCHET; I had pulled out some of the bound off knitting! OH MY GOD!!!!!
It's hard enough to pick up knitting while in progress, but this wasn't just knitting, it was the bound-off edge of FREEFORM knitting! BECAUSE it was freeform, there were dropped yarn-overs, there were added stitches within the row, there were random decreases - it was a mess! I felt sick; I developed a cold sweat; I didn't quite know what to do with it, but I knew I HAD to try to salvage it somehow. I sat perfectly still with it in my lap, almost ready to throw it in the trash (or throw up!) but ever-so-reluctant to do so. I don't know anyone personally who does freeform. My knitting friends are excellent traditional knitters, so I couldn't call on someone to help. Finally.....BECAUSE it was freeform, I realized that I could probably improvise, pick up stitches where I could, and possibly make something out of it - maybe something unusual and obviously OOAK!
It took me several DAYS more to finally finish this piece! I needed to be sure that stray dropped stitches would not run right back down to the beginning, that the stray knots didn't detract from the overall design, and that they were secure. Of course after all the time I put into this, I looked at it and thought it was horribly unattractive and MORE (I had many words for myself and this wrap!), but I photographed it, added it to flickr, facebook, and Ravelry, and the comments have been extremely positive. TOMORROW it goes to my friend, Jan Wutkowski of aMuse Artisanal Finery, for display (and hopefully sale) at her new location in downtown Wilmington. She hasn't seen it in person, but has seen the photos. SHE LOVES IT!!!! We'll see!
For me, well, I need a little break from freeform knit, so I'm working on more Bloomin' Neck Gardens -but with a twist! They are the Bloomin' Neck Spirals!