Remember this one?
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred. *
That same dum-te-dum rhythm is pacing my charge into the Valley of Lace. The Arctic Diamonds Stole is proving to be a very restful knit, not at all what I expected. I'd read so many hair-raising tales of struggles with lace on sundry blogs and on Ravelry that I anticipated at least a few problems – difficulty interpreting the pattern, inaccurate stitch counts, impossible maneuvers. None of that has happened. Knitting quietly -- if rather slowly -- along, I've now got it half completed. Voila!
The absence of drama can be attributed, I think, to a pattern that is both easy to execute and completely error-free (a rarity among lace patterns, I am told). The rawest beginner could knit this stole. There are 5 repeats of a 25-stitch pattern along each row, with a bit of edging on each side. Since the diamonds are symmetrical, the left usually mirrors the right. A collection of SSK's on one side will have an equivalent collection of K2tog's on the other. With 64 rows in each vertical repeat, though, it's not the sort of pattern one can memorize. Not the sort that I can memorize, anyway. The chart is always with me.
I expect to be done sometime in September. And in the meantime I'm thinking about the next lace shawl. Because once you've done lace, you're hooked. We all know that. I'd like to try a triangle. There's a lot of good buzz about "Bee Fields." And the "Faroese Shawl" from "A Gathering of Lace" is lovely, although it has a diamond pattern and I'm doing diamonds now. And Cheryl Oberle's "Folk Shawls" has several nifty triangles. Oh, and it's almost obligatory to do at least one "Swallowtail Shawl." Decisions, decisions.
*"Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson