It's a disease, lemee tellya. I mean, I've knitted lace before. Easy lace, I'll grant you, nothing complex or mind-bending. And I've enjoyed it but lace knitting (or is it knitted lace- there is a difference, but I can't remember which is which right now) never really tripped in me the need to go and knit more.
Until Karen (from Knit Geekery- link on the right side of the page) started her Swallowtail Shawl (Evelyn Clark- free pattern- http://www.evelynclarkdesigns.com/portfolio.html). Who knows why, but Swallowtail caught me in a big way. I downloaded the pattern, wound some handspun yarn, dug out some beads (having decided in advance to skip the Nupps, a decision I have not regretted) and got to work.
It was sloooooow going at first- I referred to the written instructions on every repeat of every right side row, not *seeing* the pattern or *reading* my knitting until I was well into the Budding Lace section. Then it clicked- I sped up (and switched to straight needles, with which I am more comfortable knitting back and forth) and began to understand the design, to see where/when/if I made any mistakes, and I started to be able to talk and knit at the same time (mostly "yes dear", "just a second, let me get to the end of this row", but it was communication of a sort).
When I got to the Lily of the Valley border, I decided to try the chart, and lo and behold, I understood it! And I sped up even more, completing the first half of the border yesterday afternoon, even with the beads (which are not quick knitting- though I did figure out a way to use fine wire to get the bead on the stitch that works way better than a crochet hook). I should be able to finish the Lily of the Valley section today, and maybe even get into the last border before the bind off.
It's been a satisfying knit- every time the stitch count works out right, I do a quiet little Wahoo! and a fist pump, and I can't wait to see what this sucker looks like blocked.
I have even chosen my next shawl- Evelyn Clark's Heartland Lace Shawl (pattern available through Ravelry), though not the yarn I want to use.
When I'm not working on lace (read: when anything actually interesting is on TV, or if I have to speak coherently to my companions), I'm plowing ahead on Christmas hats (this one was knit from charcoal Romney lamb yarn- Romney is not usually a soft yarn, but this is yummy. And I think the shot picks up the incredible sheen). And just for fun (they'll probably end up in the Christmas pile too) I finished a glove using the handspun from the roving I got at NCFF and this week's Freebie Friday pattern. This yarn isn't spun as evenly or consistently or finely as I'd like, but it's working just fine for these gloves, and that neon green is even neonier in person.
And, for the 4th day in a row, I have no socks on the needles. I'll get on that right away.