Friday, February 03, 2012

Starting blocks, building blocks

It is a truth universally acknowledged -- by knitters, at least -- that a lace scarf must be in want of a block.

I've been working on this Loreli's Gift scarf for my dearest friend. We had wandered our way into a lovely yarn shop in Seattle last fall while on one of our celebrated and traditional rambling walk-and-talks. She happened to drop the hint that she was loving gold and eggplant these days. (But not together: too UW Huskies.) I, being the dutiful knitting friend I am, filed that away (and left the store with a beautiful skein of Hazel Knits sock yarn in Hoppy Blonde). Hoppy Blonde was intended for a scarf (and might still be one day) but then, later that month, I popped into my own favorite local yarn store (which had just started carrying Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock) and the eggplantiest of eggplants made its way home. Suddenly I had two choices. Texts followed:

Me: Answer w/o thinking: gold or eggplant?
Her: Eggplant!

Then, a day later after I'd pored over my Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book:

Me: Now: traveling vine, loreli, or candle glow?
Her: Gilmore girls! Loreli. this is mysterious and delightful.

Isn't it funny, and wonderful, the thought and love that goes into a knitted item for a dear one?

One consideration the color. I always want it to be something that is both familiar and surprising--a color I know they love, presented in a unique way. Both potentials fit the bill -- gorgeously hand-dyed and tonal.

Another conundrum: the pattern. What will the person wear? What suits their job, their style, their height, their shape? My friend has a professional job in a city...she's just over five feet tall...she is outdoorsy and tough, yet feminine and funny. I wanted the scarf pattern to reflect all of this. (And I was glad she picked Loreli's Gift, which I was leaning toward anyway!)

The final test: will I enjoy knitting this pattern? Sometimes, the tedium of a simple pattern can be overcome by sheer love for the recipient. (See: plain brown socks for men.) The rest of the time, one has to find a happy medium between what one loves to knit and what the recipient will enjoy.

I'm pleased to report that Loreli is almost ready to make her way to her home. I had already blocked her first half before I started part two, as you can see in the photo above...I wanted to make sure that she'd block to the full 50" measure. The second half went even faster than the first and I kitchenered her halves together this afternoon whilst snuggling with a sick little girl home from school.

It's been said many times on the knitterwebs, but it begs mentioning whenever possible: blocking is magical. The bumpy lumpy lace suddenly sleeks up and becomes slender, glamorous, smooth. The Soak softens the fibers and tames them into silken submission.

Here's to having people you love to knit for. Here's to blocking. And here's to checking item one off of my "projects to do" list.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Aw, my college friend and I are having a "walk and talk" in Seattle in a few weeks. Those are the BEST! Beautiful scarf!