Monday, January 02, 2006

Branching Out Journey

After knitting a foot each 19 different lace patterns, trying out at least a dozen different yarns, I've finally begun the actual pattern with the chosen yarn. Branching Out is the pattern, and I'm making two scarves at the same time to see which one I think my scarf pal will like best: one with Baby Brush Alpaca that I dyed in a deep russet color, and one with a bright red Douceur et Soie. Okay, to be totally honest, also on another set of needles and next to my bed is a third one, made from a sportweight merino, silk and cashmere. Doing three at a time helps keep my interest--there's always a different yarn to work with. Color me ADD and on Ritalin.

I try to do a couple of pattern repeats before I leave any given room where whichever scarf OTN resides. I'm in heaven, and it was worth all time spend on experimentation, learning how to read charts, finding ways to make them work for me with lifelines and color coding. Endless hours of frogging before I got to the point where I could read the stitches even if I got lost and made a mistake in the pattern.

It truly is about the journey--I have learned so much from this experience, and pushed myself into new challenges I was certain I was just not ready for. I am grateful that my secret pal wanted lace, something I'd never done, and that this was my motivation for learning something I was just too chicken to try beforehand.

It's sure been a grueling 6 weeks, though---and many times I just stopped in tears and started to believe I'd never be able to finish a pattern without making mega-mistakes. Now, with about 12 repeats on each set of needles, I feel much more confident and not so tense about making a mistake when my husband or dogs interrupt me and I lose my place!

I was really so happy with my chosen scarf pal, as our tastes are so similar, and making this scarf for her means I can use yarns and colors and patterns I would also make for myself. It's a double-delight, and I'll also have a scarf for myself and one for my sister--who didn't get hers for Christmas because I was still struggling with fixing mistakes and losing my place. Now that I have a good system going, I'm actually enjoying each row and no longer in stress mode.

I'm trying not to judge my chosen scarf pattern against those I see here that listmembers are doing--ones that are so intricate, so complex and take enormous concentration. They inspire me, make me want to continue learning and trying new things, but I can accept that the really complex lace patterns are still a bit above my ability right now. But next year? Who knows! The elegant simple pattern I ultimately chose will set me on the road to success without frustrating me to the point of quitting. No way am I ready for the scarf pattern Celia chose--the to die for "Ene" scarf, which I drool over daily, but know I'm not ready to commit to trying yet.

What an amazing journey this has been, and how delighted I am to be part of this group, and to to anticipate my scarf pal's joy at receiving this scarf, even if it isn't an "Ene!" Hey, for me, "Branching Out" has been a great challenge, and I know I'll be proud of my effort.

I'm working diligently, carefully, and enjoying every single stitch.

Big Smiles from Debi in Las Vegas


Blogger Dorene said...

As a newbie to lace myself... I just love this pattern. I just completed it and I am so pleased how it came out. You are quite enthusiastic to do 3 at the same time. I am SURE that your pal will love it!

1:18 PM  
Blogger CynCyn said...

celia managed to talk me into knitting the beautiful ene scarf as well, and I have to say it's much less daunting than it seems! I bet if you tried it, you would be surprised (and pleased) with yourself.

But branching out is a beautiful lace pattern all its own! can't wait to see pics.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Debi D said...

Dorene, Dorene---How did I just KNOW you were going to make this pattern before me? We started knitting about the same time, and you've remained light years ahead of me. I'm still drooling over that cable sweater you made and posted pictures of.
So...can you share what yarn you used in the Branching Out pattern? What color? Did you make it for a gift or for yourself? Did you find it challenging to keep count?
Will you be posting a picture of it somewhere so we can see???

8:22 PM  
Blogger Debi D said...

Cyncyn, oh, my--you did the Ene scarf??? I'm so impressed! I love that pattern, but it sure does look like it would take me a year to complete. Have you ever done the Fiber Trends Faina's scarf? It uses #4 needles and it's not hard, but it's slow going. I look at my progress on the Faina--which I LOVE, and is heavenly to work in Misty Alpaca--and it's like turtle speed. It's also about 1/4 the size of the Ene. How long did it take you to do the Ene? What kind of yarn did you use and what color? What size needles? I'm soooo impressed! I appreciate your encouragement. Maybe one day I will get the courage up to try it.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Donni said...

I love Branching Out - it's a lovely pattern for the beginner lace queen - you go girl!

9:38 PM  
Blogger Dorene said...


Oh girl... you have me blushing! I just loved this pattern. I found it quite easier to follow, being that there were only 5 rows to each repeat. I think it has given me the confidence to try even more challenging patterns.

I "just" finished the Branching Out scarf in time to present it to my daughter for Christmas. Actually, I completed it Christmas Eve and pinned it to the rug under the tree as it was blocking. She was leaving the following morning and I thank goodness that it was dry in time for her to take home with her. Alas... I didn't have time to take any pictures.

I used K1C2 Creme Bruele (a DK weight superwash merino) in this camel tan color. But... I did have some yarn left over and decided to make another, which I completed this very afternoon.

This MIGHT be a present for my secret pal... Hmmm.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Debi D said...

Donni, you are great for positive reinforcement! These scarves are a bit slow going for me, being the attention deficit queen rather than the novice lace queen--but what the heck, I learn a lot from frogging. And turtling. I absolutely love this pattern, and can't wait to see what a finished scarf will look like. I'm so hot to block one!
Thanks for taking the time to cheer me on. It means a lot to me!

11:43 PM  
Blogger Debi D said...

Dorene, the speed you work at leaves me totally breathless. You finished the BO scarf (ewww, that sounds awful! Hah!) for your daughter on Christmas eve, and since then, you have another FINISHED? I'm no longer feeling like a turtle. I'm feeling like a turtle in hibernation!

The yarn you chose is one I've wanted to try, as I've never worked with a plied superwash merino yet. The only superwash I've used has been the Art Yarns Ultramerino 8, which is cabled. Knowing you enjoyed knitting with the K1C2 Creme Brulee has convinced me to order some with my next yarn order online. They don't carry it at my LYS, but then, in Las Vegas, the yarn stores are ripe with novelty yarns, as you'd expect.

I'll bet your daughter went batty over the scarf, didn't she? Is she also a knitter? That color you chose is so nice and neutral it will go with everything. Oh, lucky girl, that daughter of yours.

And how neat that you have enough yarn left over to make another whole scarf! Be sure to take a picture for your portfolio (and fans!) before you decide to send it off. Take a picture for us even if you decide to keep it!

You are truly amazing.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Dorene said...


Still blushing here...

The reaction from my daughter? "oh... it's nice". NOT what I was looking for. I was hoping for cartwheels, but, alas no.

Fast? I work 12+ hrs a day, on the days that I do work. So, when I am off... I knit and knit and knit and then I knit some more. I find it my meditation and very soothing. It took me about 20 hours of knitting to complete the scarf. I am just lucky enough to have the luxury of time, to sit down uninterupted and knit away!

I can't wait to see pictures of yours!

1:03 PM  

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