Tale of Two Kiris
July 26, 2005
I wasn’t going to blog about this because it’s kind of weird, but maybe that’s why I should blog about it. Here goes:
I appear to have knit two Kiris. Well, almost two.
Kiri The First
I made it to the 10th repeat (of 12) (they get longer with each repeat, did I mention that?). I was almost home. But bad knitting karma was just sucking the joy out of it for me. I kept making Mistakes of Inattention and Mistakes of Having No Idea What I’m Doing and Mistakes of Stitches Sticking Together and Mistakes of Children Pestering Me Without Pity. These mistakes seemed, maddeningly, to become more frequent as I became more familiar with the pattern. I kept having to un-knit multiple rows, because Lord knows you can’t rip this stuff out. The unknitting of the Kidsilk Haze, it is the Torture of the Damned! It is the polar opposite of the Superfantastic Knitting! (I refuse to call it ‘tinking’, because tinking sounds like something that might possibly be pleasant.)
But I soldiered on, glum as all hell. Then I discovered, WaaaaaaAAAAY down below, some sort of weird dropped-stitchy thing. Like, many REPEATS below. I was sure I hadn’t made a mistake that far back and not noticed it, but there it was. I’m still thinking it might be a snagged stitch that got pulled out of shape, and that with a little jooging it might work itself back to rights, but by the time I noticed it, I was not in the mood to jooge. I was not in the mood to mess with this thing for one more second. I was in the mood to throw it in the corner and never speak of it again.
And yet (cue silent-movie player piano), there was my Innocent Exchange Recipient to think of. She has done nothing wrong. Bless her heart, she deserves her Kiri.
And here’s the thing: I had enough Kidsilk Haze (have you noticed it’s not called ‘yarn’?–because it’s HAZE) for a second Kiri. Starting over seemed like the only way to go.
I know that’s irrational. If I screwed up Kiri The First, what was to stop me from screwing up Kiri Deux in the late innings? But I felt that if I could just get another chance, on a clean slate, I could do it. I could do it correctly and without all the achy-breaky back-knitting.
The great thing about irrational beliefs is that sometimes they are absolutely correct. I started again. I have sailed through to the 12th repeat. I have not had to un-knit a single row. As far as I know, there is not a mistake in it. Now that I have abandoned the illusion that the Kidsilk Haze will obey the laws of physics, I sort of enjoy it. It’s like miming the act of knitting. You feel no weight on the needles. You can barely see the haze floating hither and thither between the points. So you put on white makeup, you make the motions of knitting, and it turns into little leaves of fern lace.
What’s the epiphany here? When I was knitting Kiri Deux, I stopped thinking about rows or repeats. I thought of each leaf individually. I know each row of each leaf. As I knit each leaf, I could tell whether the stitches, decreases and yarnovers were arranging themselves as they should, with that lovely leafy symmetry. Then I knit that row of the next leaf, and the next. It’s hard to explain why this slight mental shift made any difference, but it made all the difference.
That’s knitting; it’s not for the stupid. It requires a constant, graceful kind of intelligence. At least when you are knitting little fern leaves.
So now, get this: I’m ready for the edging! Woo-hoo! A new lace repeat to memorize, and new clarity and grace to be acquired by the skin of my teeth. A world-class bedsheet blocking experience awaits me, just around the corner!
(What happened to Kiri the First?) Well, it looked so cute on Carrie when she modeled it, that I suggested making it into a small-scale shawl for her to wear to the High Holiday services this autumn. Since the Jewish holidays are the only occasions on which she will submit to girly dress, and since she seems to think that a mohair lace shawl is the most sophisticated, grownup garment possible, she jumped at it. So now I’ll get to try out that tip about putting Kidsilk Haze in the freezer in order to rip it back. If that fails, I’ll take the scissors to it. (Does that make me a Bad Ass Knitter, Wendy? I hope so.) If anyone has any ideas on modifying Kiri for a child, I’m all ears. I was thinking of maybe doing an eyelet edging so that I can thread a satin ribbon through it so that it won’t fall off her shoulders…..? Can I get an ‘amen’ on that?)
In other breaking Lace News, the July/August issue of always-wonderful Piecework magazine is devoted to all manner of lace: knitted, bobbin, needle, crochet. (There is one mind-blowing picture of bobbin lace-in-progress, with at least 50 wooden bobbins hanging from it.) Really delightful historical material, including a piece on a 19th Century ‘penny dreadful’ novel called ‘Tina’, about a poor, beautiful lace-maker and the specific lace patterns she made while defending her virtue. PLUS a Nancy Bush pattern for an Estonian lace shawl that is to die for. (Polly, remember that midnight blue Kidsilk Haze? I think it’s going to be Estonian when it grows up…..) And once I’m in the Baltics, can Latvian mittens be so far? (Yes! They can be very far!)
Please don’t think I’m weird about the 2-Kiri thing,
P.S. When I dragged Kiri the First out of its hole to take a picture, I couldn’t find the mistake that made me scrap it.