Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Persistence pays off

As I mentioned in my last post, I was really struggling with the border of my Myrtle Leaf shawl. If you don't know this pattern, or the book it comes from, here is an image from the book, Victorian Lace Today.

It's a long shawl. By the time I finished the forty leaf pattern repeats, it was, unstretched, taller than me (I'm short, but that's still a hell of a lot of black lace by anyone's standards!). But the body of the pattern was not the end of it. Oh no, not by a long shot.

What follows the main body of the knitting is what some have called the arduous task of knitting on the Willow border. I didn't read the instructions for it until I was ready to do it and with the benefit of hindsight, 6:30am on a Sunday morning when I was not in the most happy or confident of moods was probably an unwise time to try and come to terms with something that seemed a bit daunting.

But with fresh eyes and more than a few helpful comments, plus email discussion with a couple of helpful people, I made it. Last night, I sat at the dining room table, under good light, with the lap top beside me, the book open in front of me and I gave it a go. Here's what it looks like now.

Myrtle Leaf Shawl - border

The verticle line of large holes is where the border connects to the body. The border is only eight stitches wide, and the wrong side rows are just purl rows, so once you get going it flies along nicely. I'd like for this not to drag on for an eternity, so I'm going to plug away as consistently as time and alertness allow.

I'm not sure I know what was so hard now. It's true there are a few lines in the instructions that seem kind of odd and unhelpful. I wish Jane Sowerby didn't write that this was unorthodox border because it's not, in essence, that different to the border I learned to do through Elizabeth Zimmermann. I expected it, after that statement, to be radically different and it wasn't. Not really.

Now that I can do it, I wonder what I made all the fuss over, but I suppose that's what learning is all about. What was difficult soon becomes commonplace and easy. Or easier.

All I need to do now is knit the thing.