Saturday, July 29, 2006

You can't miss a place you've never been

Have you ever had an image so securely fixed in your head that despite all the technicalities, you were damn well not going to change your mind about how to go about it? Because then it just wouldn't be right, and what's the point, and you people just don't understand me?!?!

It's been like that with Saffron. Sigh.

What is Saffron, you ask? Saffron's a character from Firefly, a con artist who marries Mal or does she blah blah blah anyway she wears a really pretty shawl. Very, very hole-y, most likely crocheted, a shade of (surprise!) saffron with fringe all over.

Ever since I first saw the ubiquitous shawl in the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds", I've wanted to make it. I thought and thought and requested all the stitch dictionaries in the entire world, and eventually decided on cell stitch. I've used it before, it's pretty easy, and creates the large holes and pictureless lace I wanted to mimic the crochet. (I have the entire series on DVD, so someday I should get around to getting a screen grab of the shawl itself.)

Now to get started. Ruh roh. Apparently, it is impossible to find the pattern for cell stitch anywhere. Now, I learned how to knit out of Debbie Bliss's book How to Knit, and the nice thing about that book is that it has mini-stitch libraries accompanying each chapter. That's where I get most of my patterns, especially if I don't feel like waiting for the library to get something in. And that's where I first got cell stitch the first time. I left How to Knit in Ottawa for the summer. Accordingly, I have ten knitting books out of the library. Four are specifically lace books. Four are by the venerable St. Barbara G. Walker, Our Lady of Perpetual Swatches. Plus my own books, and oh yeah the internets. And no one has yet revealed the mystery of cell stitch to me. I could of course request HtK from the library, but I'm going on vacation soon, and as Homer says, "I don't know how much longer I can keep on complaining!"

(Note: I am going to skip over all the construction details since that would take three times as much time to explain that than all of the above. Perhaps just read Eunny Jang's Majoring in Lace, look at all the methods of triangular shawl construction, try to think up five different variations, and then you'd be where I was.)

So this morning I was reading through Barbara Walker's Second Treasury, trying to find something that would work, and I saw something that made me forget everything.

This is Chinese Lace. I really hope that picture shows the lace properly, because it is gorgeous. I was just awestruck. It looks to me very very wintery, like the trails left in the snow by skiiers and the way snow sits on the branches of evergreens.

I have abandoned Saffron's shawl. I must make a Chinese Lace stole, with mitered lace border. This is going to be a work of art. I just hope the yarn I have for it works, a gorgeous handpainted blue-purple Fleece Artist aran kid-wool blend. Please please please work. I'll sacrifice a skein of virgin alpaca to the knitting gods. Whatever it takes.


At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

Thank heavens there are probably fairly few virgin alpaca in Boston Bar. Insert own joke here.


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