Antares & Road Trippin'
I've finished my first real project using our merino and silk lace yarn - Silken Lace. I chose to do Antares by Laura Patterson in the smallest size, and I was worried that it would be one of those projects you really have to pay attention to row by row. The initial garter section is super easy, of course, and once you break out into the first of three charts it becomes clear this pattern is pretty much going to knit itself.
The construction is very traditional, and while gauge is important you're probably safe to go with the pattern's suggested needle size. In terms of difficulty, the only point at which I had a real challenge was in increasing seven stitches into three. However, the stitch used to increase in this way results in a lovely little loop that emphasizes the botanical nature of the overall lace pattern.
There is an optional bead course in the last chart, but you don't have to worry about stringing them along as they are added with a crochet hook. For my bind off, I chose a nice and stretchy technique I learned elsewhere - knit two stitches, *insert the left needle through the front of both stitches on the right and knit them together, knit 1.
My chosen color - Charcoal - was a nice neutral gray, so I paired it with transparent rainbow lavender 6/0 Japanese beads. I found one of my One of a Kind Buttons shawl pins was a perfect match as well!
Debbi Stone was in our booth this year at Black Sheep Gathering with her newest pattern published in partnership with her good friend Marcy Vandale. Road Trippin' is a fantastic cowl knit with two colors of Prime using a lovely and easily memorized eight row stitch pattern. Since Debbi's sample had to go home at the end of the show, I decided I needed one of my own.
I used 1 skein each of Fjord and Natural, and instead of a being a good little monkey and swatching, I just cast right on using suggested needles. I should have swatched. The stitch pattern is very good and growing and is very three dimensional. About the time I reached the 10th of 16 repeats, my cowl (on the needles) looked almost as big as the sample I still had in my possession. My gauge obviously wasn't the same, so I knit through the 12th repeat and blocked. As the stitch pattern flattened out a bit in blocking, my cowl became very long and skinnier than the original. Lesson learned - had I finished all 16 repeats I would have had about the same size as the designers and would have used up nearly all of my yarn.
I've given some thought to other yarn choices, and here are my suggestions if we call the colors in my photos above Natural - Contrast Skein, Fjord - Main Color:
If you were to knit this pattern with a gradient, you could either divide 15 pattern repeats over the 5 shades, or 16 reps over 4 shades.
Now, off to finish seaming my sweater that has been languishing off and on since last January!