Sunday, June 14, 2009

and now, it seems i have a wee clap problem

soooo, i have been working the clapotis shawl finally. i do believe i was the last known knitter on the planet who hadn't worked this shawl. seriously. i'd been super excited last summer when i decided to do one post ravelympics. i spread my excitement to kimberli (ravelympics creator and team, then group leader) and a KAL was planned for last october. i was all kinds of into it and got the supremely delicious malabrigo silky merino on the cheap online, in a colorway i was sure i'd love.

and then...

and then life happened and somewhere between october and last month, i barely touched needles, nor yarn, nor even took a very deep breath.

but i've slowed things down a bit, am regaining my equilibrium and getting things back on track overall - including knitting.

so naturally, i got all excited about the clapotis once again, spread it again and am now in a small KAL. after a good deal of support, i finally wound up my silk mal. it was as soft as anticipated. dreamy soft. heavenly cloud soft and light as a happy thought. i cast it on and it was like knitting a tiny bit of heaven. it glided across my addis like skates on fresh ice. nirvana.

but then...

but then i realized that what appeared (on my monitor) to be a deep orangish-red was, in fact jack-o-lantern orange. and kinda bright. and - to me - kinda nauseating. i sought out my partners and they encouraged me properly - keep with it, i'm sure it'll grow on you,etc. several even commented they liked the colorway and would be willing to receive the shawl once completed. so, i kept at it. at one point, i noted there was alot of orange in my life - much of it by my choosing. so clearly i don't dislike orange per se. maybe it would all work out.

but also...

but also, the dreamy shiny yarn is a bit...sticky. the halo is part of why it's so super soft, but it sticks to itself. this is terrific if you're prone to dropping stitches, which i naturally am. stitches hold even if they're off the needles - in fact, they hold on as if for dear life. this is generally a good thing. but let's remember the pattern:

see those arrows? they are rows of dropped stitches that are dropped and then laddered all the way down. it is kind of what makes the clapotis a clapotis. it adds more drape and drama and is lovely. but with sticky yarn? pure, unadulterated unfun. with sticky yarn each individual stitch has to be unworked . there's no dropping fun when your yarn is holding on to each stitch for dear life. unh uh. nope.

so, what with the colorway that was causing me nausea and the painstaking unworking of each stitch in rows that were growing progressively longer... well, let's just say this shawl and i were fast becoming enemies locked in serious battle.

but let me reiterate: this pattern is hugely, widely popular. and that is because it is a great pattern. knitting on the bias is neat, i love the parralelogram shaping, the drape, the simple elegance of it - when others have done it. and this yarn? there are fan clubs dedicated to it for good reason. those good people at malabrigo are color geniuses generally and the yarn is soft, shiny, smooth and light. it is knitting beautifully colored air shot up with angel blessings and sweet baby smells.

and i was hating it.

so.... i decided to give it a little rest, lest i seriously harm it. but i couldn't shake the promise of the pattern.

and so....
and so i grabbed one of my acrylics. because hey, it's acrylic and thus not overly expensive. i've no fear of hurting it and if i do it serious harm, there's always a michaels or ac moore stocking plenty. and i love, love the color (autumn red). so i cast this baby on and determined i would work at least through one row dropping to see if it bugged me less when the stitches actually dropped. and it did. so i kept on. i also decided to twist the stitches on both the knit and purl sides to sharpen up the stitches around the dropped rows. i kind of loved it.


except it is heavy as heck and as it grows, my wrists are really taking a beating. and being heavier, this is not something i would be likely to use before fall. i would just be a sweat pool wearing this and i was so looking foward to a light, lovely summertime clapotis. finally, acrylic doesn't 'give' like wool - just not the same kind of springy-ness as my silky mal. i liked it well enough, but knew it wasn't going to be my dream clapotis. and the silky mal was stalking me. i wanted to love it. it was so soft. ever since i first saw the clapotis pattern, i knew i wanted to make it up with silky mal.

and so....

and so, yesterday was WWKIP day and boston pride. i headed into town with emma and janet and we had a fine, fine day! lovely people at the WWKIP. lots of good conversation and knitting and the sun came out to dance over the scrumptious yarns. and then walking along the pride parade. just enjoying the vibe and hooting along. and theeeeeeeeeennnnnnnn, a grand finale trip to windsor button! according to their website windsor button has the largest assortment of buttons and yarn in the boston area. i've wanted to go for ages and just never have. it was magical. and ummm, they carry silky mal. there's one colorway i've stalked on ravelry called indiecita. it looked gorgeous - on my monitor. but then, the viena i used on that first clap looked gorgeous on my monitor too and in person it was close to giving me dry heaves. so, it was with a little skepticism that i approached the indiecita. but guess what? beautiful sea colors - with greens and blues of various, perfectly harmonizing hues that shimmer and shine incandescently. it was... dreamy.

so yeah, thanks to emma and janet:
and now, it seems i have a wee clap problem. over the course of fifteen days, i've cast on not one... not two... but three clapoti.

but, this last one? oh yeah - this is the dream.


  1. 3 Clappies! That is a problem. Totally get your frustration about the colors. It took me a year and at least 5 attempted patterns cast on and ripped out before a bunch of Malabrigo Silky Meriino in Spring Green turned into a Shawlette for Sis. A year! I'm struggling with the Caribenos colorway in the Silky that I got for the Clappie KAL last Oct. I'm just not loving it. Hard to knit on something you're not into. Hope the Indecita Clappie goes full steam ahead...because that is a fantastic colorway and will make a great Clappie.

    Oh and also get the sticky dropped stitches issue. My 1st clappie was in Jojoland-a very sticky wool that did not want to be dropped. I got into a groove of picking at the stitches gently to get them to "let go" but it did take longer than I ever dreamed it would.

    Hang In There!


  2. Whee! I'm all for multiple cast-ons. Love all the colourways, but yes the last one is simply scrumptious. The red will be great for fall, but that one can wait in the wings while you work on your love :D

    Sounds like I may have to travel back to Boston and check out the shop you went to . . . sounds delightful :D


  3. thanks ladies! i totally blame the pub fumes for this. i don't know that i've ever had multiple COs for a pattern i am working for the first time. it's crazy. i feel a bit like i slipped off some deep end somewhere.

    workswithbeads2 - if you ever come to boston, do let me know. we'll hit all the shops!

    kim - i am bummed to hear (read) that the caribenos isn't working for you. are you very far along? maybe a gift for someone else? my viena will go to mamma-san most likely once i finally finish it.and the sticky stitches? at one point, i literally screamed 'let it go, dammnit'. At. My. Shawl.

  4. I feel your pain! I used mal silky merino for mine and unknitting all the stitches for the drops was not fun! I bought dill, thinking it would be sort of a sagey color and it looks more lime to me--not my favorite!

  5. hey leslie! did you find some method that was any less painful? though i love, love, love the latest colorway, i am about to hit the laddering down segments and am a little worried what it might do to my relationship to yet another clappie. and by the by, your clappie looks gorgeous in the photo on your project page. indeed, it is one of the projects that inspired me to keep trying with the silky mal.

  6. hahaha!! Now I see what you meant about the clappie drama you referred to.

    I suppose I had it easy as I knit my first one in Elann Pegasus which is a heavy but silky cotton that was just a delight to work with.

    But I was having so much fun with it that I had to force myself to not keep casting on more claps! And then when I was done, I managed to distract myself for a while til I'd forgotten the clap's pattern.

    But I'd bought several other yarns with the intent of making more so really glad that you pushed for another round of the KAL... look forward to working on mine a bit more after June!

    Do you think you'll continue on your first one? I still really like it!

  7. Oh dear, you have a serious case of the clap! So far, I have only made one, but I see at least one more in my future. Had to help the yarn unravel too, it got stuck halfway down and wouldn't move without tugging.
    Also, watch out for split stitches and such, as they'll make the clap not want to unravel. Found that one out the hard way too.

  8. the funny thing is this latest silky mal is laddering down with far more ease. it is unsettling how smoothly it is happening given how much i struggled with clappie #1. maybe i've just learned the yarn?

    i will complete the 1st one for sure. mamma-san has already laid claim to it.