Monday, May 15, 2006


In every knitter's life, there must come a letter like this:

Dear Madli:

I can't do this anymore. It hasn't been easy for me to come to this decision, but I think it's for the best.

I know it's been a whirlwind affair...really, it's lasted only less than two weeks, but what a crazy two weeks it's been. You have to understand, I really was infatuated with you in the beginning. You were so beautiful, in the Interweave Knits photograph, that I pretty much fell in love at first sight. And then your yarn requirements...ah. Perfect. I had just enough Helen's Lace to knit you. It felt like destiny.

But then I tried to cast on. The problems began quietly, almost insignificantly. It took a few tries to estimate the amount of yarn to double, in order to cast on, but I hung in there, figuring you were worth it. Then I started to knit. The first time, I ended up with extra stitches at the end. The second time...yeah, you got it. Extra stitches.

I thought it was me. I figured that I couldn't count, that I couldn't follow a had to be my fault. I found out that other bloggers had successful relationships with you in the past. What was wrong with me? Wasn't I a good lace knitter?

The more I struggled, the more my self-esteem plummeted...but then I remembered all the other lace things I'd made. A baby blanket. The Viennese Shrug for my sister. The Flower Basket Shawl. Orangina. You know what, Madli? I AM a lace knitter. I'm pretty good at it too.

And you know what else? This isn't the only lace game in town. Madli, I'm sorry, but there are LOTS of other lace projects that I could be knitting right now. They're just as pretty, and won't give me the grief and heartache that you have.

So, that's it. I'm saying goodbye. And you know what else? I never liked your nupps* anyway.



* I believe "nupps" is the Estonian word for bobbles, which I'm sure would have made me cry if I'd ever gotten far enough to try and knit them.

Whew. It's never easy to be in an abusive relationship and get to that point where you decide that enough is enough, but I'd had enough last Thursday. After successfuly knitting the first row, I continued to have problems in the third and fifth, and tried to fudge it by knitting the extra stitches at the end, which just looked weird (especially since you're supposed to slip the end stitches for a nice edge). I dropped Madli in the middle of purling back a row, and called it a night.

It was true, there were a lot of other lace projects that were strong contenders for my prized Helen's Lace (40% off at Purl, so I'd never have this yarn otherwise...whatever I make from it has GOT to be good). I narrowed it down to the Icarus Shawl from the new IK, Eunny's Print O' The Wave Stole, and the Trellis Scarf from the Spring IK, lengthened and widened to make a stole. I nixed the Icarus Shawl, because I just think I'll get more use out of a stole. And then I nixed the Print O'The Wave, at least just temporarily, because that seam at the back just makes me nuts, the way I'm sure having the waves not flow identically down the front probably made Eunny nuts. If I do knit this (and I have Knitpicks lace yarn, thanks Ashley!), it will be in one direction. That shouldn't be a problem, right?

So I started test knitting the Trellis, casting on 115 stitches. Relief washed over me as I knit one, then three, then five rows. All without incident! Hurrah!

Truth be told, I don't *really* know what the problem was for me with Madli. I googled and came across another blogger who was doing her yarnovers wrong at first, and once she figured this out, her problem was solved. My yarnovers, though, as well as I can figure, were OK. I counted the stitches in the chart and it just seemed that in each successive knit row, the repeats at either end either required more stitches than the previous row yielded, or less.

Oh, well. I'm not la Grumpy, so I'm not going to take it as my personal mission to solve this mystery. Basta. Life is too short.

And now, for something completely different!

I think I'm going to knit that bikini, y'all. Yes, the one in the spring Vogue Knitting. I know, I know you all think it's crazy, that knitted swimwear should never see the light of day, that perfectly innocent little cotton bolls shouldn't have to die for the sake of a misbegotten, frivolous piece of knitting.

In theory, I agree. But I'm itching to try something a little different, something other than a tank top, with the Classic Elite Star that I have, and I only have 4 skeins of it. Not enough for a sweater, but more than enough for the bikini. Think of it as an experiment. Testing the pattern, if you will. Deciding once and for all, whether it is possible for a knitted bikini to succeed in the real world (without special lighting and airbrushing, etc.).

Think of it as free entertainment for you all.

I also found this beautiful skirt at a yard sale over the weekend.

See the embroidered panel with the bird? I think that was hand-stitched. The label on the inside of the waistband, which looks like it was made in the 1960s, says it was made "Para Barbara," and that it was "hecho en Mexico," listing both Brownsville and Matamoros on there. It really demonstrates visually, for me, how the border is such an artificial construct, especially in a place like Brownsville and Matamoros, where the same culture belongs to both places.

The skirt is way too long for me, but I can see endless possibilities for it. (I felt like I was channelling Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink as I examined the seams, and held it up to myself in front of the mirror.) I could cut out the panels and make a tote bag. I could shorten it and wear it as a skirt. I could make a pillow (or pillows) out of it (which is my least favorite option, because no one would get to see them that way!).

What do you guys think? Any and all suggestions are welcome!


At 4:15 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Could you both shorten it *and* make a (smaller) bag? I agree, it's lovely!

I thought about Print O' the Wave but was also put off by the seam. Not so much that the look of it bothered me, as the idea of grafting lace makes my head hurt.

At 6:50 AM, Blogger lo said...

you could hang it on the wall, like some people do with kimonos.

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Oh dear. Madli was on my shortlist. Now I'm afraid. Very afraid. But Trellis (also lengthened and widened) is too, so I feel encouraged about your success there.

You better not show that skirt to Dear Leader. He'll send troops to toss it right back over the "border."

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Freddy the Prayer Warrior said...

You look different!
Did you change your hair?

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

I love the hanging on the wall idea - given it's age and origin I'd vote to keep it intact. And I hope you and Madli don't end up on Jerry Springer...

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Yes, it's best to put aside a project that is driving you crazy. Knitting is supposed to be enjoyable!

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Lace is the spawn of the devil. I'm convinced it's true.

Anyhoo, the skirt is so lovely, and thanks for the Pretty in Pink flashback. It would make a great bag embellishment and a shorter skirt.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous heather said...

I have a copy of that madli pattern, stashed away. I've always wanted to make it, but those nupps always scared the shit outta me. Good luck with whatever lace you end up with!

I love your cute skirt! I can't wait to see what you end up doing with it. Ya know, my man is from Brownsville. Neato, eh?

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Acornbud said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but it appears you've given it your all and and it's time to move on. Lace can be like that...gossamer dreams and heartbreak.


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