Things have taken a turn for the better—after taking a turn for the worse—with the Forest Path Shawl. My initial attempt using the Handpainted lace yarn didn’t go very well. It’s not that the yarn isn’t nice. It is nice with its fuzzy little halo; the downside, though, is that for a project like this, the halo gets fuzzier with handling and the end result is that things start sticking together. What happened was really my fault. I picked up too many stitches for the first block of Tier 2 and didn’t realize it until after I’d knit about five rows; when I tried to unravel those five rows, things stuck together because of all that fuzz. Ultimately, the yarn broke and I was left with a big tangle. Attempt Number 1 was sent to Aubrey Kenworthy as packing material in a package containing a bottle of ink. Waste not, want not, I guess. She, clever creature that she is, adopted it as a piece of art for her craft room wall; that, oddly, makes me feel better about the FPS Debacle.
I decided, then, after my first failed attempt, that perhaps I might do better with some yarn that wasn’t just a single. Operating under the theory that plied yarn is stronger and has a little more character and self-control, I ordered some Gloss yarn from KnitPicks. It arrived today, along with a number of surprises from the admirable Mrs. Kenworthy (whose atelier can be found here) and a yarny murder mystery from a friend in North Carolina. In the interval between frogging my first attempt and the arrival of the Gloss—which is a lovely dark purple like a cross between J. Herbin’s Poussier de Lune ink and a purple crocus—I cast on for a second attempt with some yarn I found buried in my stash. I’ve since found out that Araucania has discontinued its Atacama line, so if I don’t finish with the yarn I’ve got, that’s the end of that. Atacama is DK weight, so size 6 needles seemed like a good idea. I’m not entirely pleased with the results thus far, but that’s mostly because handpainted yarn can sometimes obscure the intricacies of lace with its variegated, shifting colors. I am, however, very much enjoying the fact that, no matter how much I handle it, it doesn’t stick together and it doesn’t seem to want to get all fuzzy. In fact, when it came time to start a new ball, I had a terrible time getting the ends to splice… wow. Alpaca, by the way, just does not taste very good.
So now I have to decide whether I want to actually finish the remaining eighteen tiers of Atacama or just go ahead and cast on Attempt Number 3.