When knitting the last project Percy Shawl, I thought I could use up the remaining Malabrigo Lace Holly Hock, but a little over a half skein was leftover. Immediately I have the perfect project for it, a lovely design from my dear friend MarieAdeline: Vent d'est vent d'ouest.
She used exactly Malabrigo Lace, and since I wanted a not too wide nor too long cowl (I don't need to pull it over my head), after some homework doing and research on Ravelry, I was sure that the little over a half skein is definitely enough for VEVO, I cast on.
But, I had a bit of struggle at the beginning. I wasn't sure if the knit cast-on indicated in the pattern was going to be elastic enough. I had this struggle before when I was knitting Mystery Stole 4 Serendipity. But that was a stole and this is a cowl which my head has to be able to go through it. I sent MarieAdeline a message asking for advice but I knew she was very, very busy swamped with work, so I decided to go knit cast-on and not try out the stupid lace cast-ons I was thinking about to use. The cast-on was elastic enough, but I twisted the stitches several times. Very rare for me. I figured it was the COMBINATION of the yarn AND the circular needle...First time, I cast-on for lace weight, knitted one or two rounds and found out somehow I twisted it. Ripped and started second time, still casting on for lace weight, and twisted again! After 2 lace weight cast-ons I decided that it was a but wide so I went on and cast-on for the third time for fingering weight, knitted one or two rounds...twisted AGAIN! Started the forth cast-on, this time I cast-on more loosely, thus giving me a little more give to move the stitches around the 60cm circular. Actually I do have 40cm circulars from Clover but the sizing is different, since I was determined to use my new Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeables, I had to put up with whatever inconveniences that come my way. After the forth cast-on, it was all breeze from there. Whew!
So, my advice on lace knitting, regarding cast-on in this case: TRUST THE DESIGNER!
Chart A + Chart B 1 repeat
The Chinese Lace pattern
I had about 27g of yarn and I weighed after every Chart B repeat to determine how many more Chart B repeats I could do. I figured about 4.5g of yarn is used for every Chart B repeat, and after the initial Chart A + Chart B I had 17g left, meaning I could do a little less than 4 repeats, that is: I have to bind-off a row or two before completing the fourth repeat. And so it was. I bound off one row before the last and have about 1m of yarn left!
The cowl measured about 22 inches at the bottom 18 inches at the top, exactly 2 inches narrower that the original size intended for the lace weight version. I didn't block my cowl for after trying on the top automatically loosen up a bit and I like the drape as it is. I thought blocking would make it even looser. I might soak it, pat it over, lay flat and let dry.
As we were at 36 degrees C everyday when knitting VEVO, a modelled picture would be a torture. But somehow the morning after VEVO was finished, I washed my face and neck thoroughly with cold water (actually quite warm for the sun "cooked" the water in the tank on the roof top of our apartment), powdered my neck with baby powder that has cooling ingredients, and put the cowl on. I have to show MarieAdeline how it looks like on a real live neck! As you can see in the photo below I was wearing a spaghetti strap tank self-portraiting in the master bedroom's adjacent bathroom. I didn't realize how strange the combo was until I uploaded the photos to flickr. Should do another wearing cooler weather clothes, 5 months from now!
And now for some really silly photos! I was just trying to see if it can be pulled over my head and yes, it was just make. Anyway, I looked like Arny in South Park, the one that got killed in every episode. LOL
I love VEVO. I've been holding it at night while watching TV with A/C on. Malabrigo feels so good and the pattern so pretty! Thank you MarieAdeline for such a gorgeous design. Bisou!