Saturday, September 15, 2007


Every Southern Lady knows the value of being fashionably late to parties and similar social events. Not terribly late, just a few minutes...say maybe 10 or 15 minutes after the stated time on the invitation. It allows you to make your grand entrance, to stand out from the crowd, or at the extreme, to blatantly draw attention to yourself. I'm certainly not trying to blatantly draw attention to myself, but I am a bit of a latecomer to this party. "What party?" you ask. Why, the Let's Knit the Icarus Shawl Party!

Yes, I have succumbed to what became an online knitting phenom. When Miriam Felton's Icarus Shawl was published in the Summer 2006 issue of Interweave Knits knitters everywhere went Icarus-crazy. Many lace knitters rushed to knit this design and folks who have never even thought about knitting lace suddenly decided to take the plunge. Soon a blog-based KAL was formed and the craze was on. Last summer knitting Icarus was the hip thing to do. I dunno, maybe that's why I didn't knit it? Or maybe it was because most of the design was rather plain, with the interesting stuff coming in only at the end of the shawl. My brain said boring. So I let everyone else Icarus-along and I knit other lacy stuff--like the MS2, which was spectacular. (Funny thing, this year the KAL phenom was MS3, which wasn't even remotely as awesome a design IMHO).

OK, so why knit Icarus now? This lowly shawl that has now risen to grace the cover on Interweave's new anniversary book and spawned them to form blog-based KALs for all their knitting books released this year. Why now, Kristina? Well, it was the yarn. I made an impulse purchase of some hand-dyed alpaca lace yarn from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe (an awesome place to buy skinny yarn). The yarn is the new Lace-a-licious from JKnits in a colorway called Wyoming. Basically, the yarn is shades of putty, terracotta and rose--all muted and very soft. The colorway reminded me of the rock cliffs in southern Utah at sunrise and brought back fond memories of my time living out west. The yarn is an extrafine baby alpaca and it's on the skinny side of laceweight--almost cobweb if you ask me. I cast-on and started knitting a rectangular shawl but the lace pattern didn't show off the beauty of the yarn and the rectangular shape result in zebra-like striped pooling. So I needed a triangle shawl that would do well with the handpainted yarn, something rather plain. That's when the lightbulb moment happened...Icarus!

I still had my doubts about the boring factor, but then I reminded myself that simple could mean "fast-knit" rather than "boring." When I pulled the pattern off the bookshelf and checked out the yarn specs, I knew it was meant to be--alpaca yarn on size 3 needles. Yup, perfect. So I cast-on late Friday night and knit a few rows. I'm almost through with the 2nd repeat of Chart 1 and I'm liking what I see. The design does require a bit more attention than I expected, and I did have one ugly tinking session of a couple of rows when I missed a decrease and everything got shifted and off-count. But, now that Icarus had my attention and my respect I expect things should go well. I have a couple of other shawls I'm working on so I can switch off when if I get too bored.

I know my friends Diana and Regenia are knitting away on Icarus, so I'm not alone at the party. Please pass the chocolate and let the music play on (I'm thinking American Classic stuff like Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett maybe...good party music). A toast to Icarus! Knit on!!!

1 comment:

Kat said...

How funny, I'm also late to the party. I haven' started Icarus yet, but I'm going to try to use some of my handspun on it.