A few weeks ago I questioned, "Is the "Perfect Pattern" a Myth?" as I searched for patterns to compliment my handspun yarn of baby alpaca, silk, and camel, a skein so special than not just any pattern would do. I laid out a plan for picking a pattern to finally use the handspun that I am in love with. Time for an update on my progress.
I opened up my search on Ravelry to include anything around the neck and I set my timer (because Ravelry pattern searching can result in abduction like symptoms of large chunks of unaccounted time). When I came across a pattern I thought was a contender I opened up a separate tab. Once I had three tabs open, any new patterns needed to replace an already open tab. It is easier to make a decision between three patterns than 20 patterns all at once.
I slept on my final three choices and felt like I had a front runner. I sent my three choices to my friend Susie for final approval/motivating squeals. If you don't have a friend that you can send knitting patterns to for opinions, I highly recommend that you get one. After looking at hundreds of Ravelry patterns, you need a fresh pair of eyes and someone to give you feedback on colors, yarn choices, and to bring up anything you may not have thought of. (Don't you hate knitting with worsted? This looks seamed, were you going to seam it or use a provisional cast on? Don't you already have 6 lace shawls in that color?) I don't bring a friend swimsuit shopping anymore, but if I did, Susie would be my gal.
I (we) chose Headwinds by Alicia Plummer for my soft and fluffy handspun. This shawl is cast on at the top so the length of your shawl is already set. No worries that I might run out of yarn before I made it wide enough to be useful. It is stockinette at the top with a simple geometric lace at the bottom. The stockinette wouldn't eat up as much yarn as a garter stitch to reach the same amount of depth so I felt like the pattern would put my precious yarn to good use.
The pattern recommends a DK yarn made of primarily alpaca and silk so I felt confident my yarn would shine in this pattern. Sharing a lot of the same fibers, it would have the same sort of drape and fluff as the original. The pattern calls for 440 yards while I only had about 370 or so, but a look through the project tab showed me some shawls using about 370 yards or so with an acceptable finished size. The pattern looked easily modifiable. I could knit the stockinette until I felt nervous about the yardage and then knit the lace until my yarn was gone.
I cast on and could not stop knitting. The soft yarn was lovely wound up in a ball, but knitting this yarn results in a fabric that would put clouds to shame. It was downright addictive. The only thing that kept me from stopping after ever row to pet it was the obsessive need to knit more to pet. I have shoved this in the hands of many a friend and stranger, only to be rewarded with appropriate "ooooh"s and "ahhhhh"s. Even the muggles get it.
The stockinette went quickly. I didn't make my shawl as deep as the original pattern. As I hit the approximate half way point of my yarn I decided that it was time to switch to the lace pattern. I'm still feeling that I will have enough yarn to end up with a finished object that will be useful.
So now you're all caught up, ready to knit the lace. Did this pattern immediately scream at me that this was my yarn's soulmate? No, but now that the yarn has been put to use, I can't deny that they are a great match. The yarn is worth so much more being used than sitting in my stash under the stairs. If you have that special skein in your stash, time to break it out and consider putting it to use.