This one's mine

A while back I was gifted a lovely skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label by my friend Jen. Seeing as how it's one of my favourite colours (Garnet, a blend of deep reds with hints of purple), and that the Red Label is a smooshy single of merino, cashmere and silk, I knew that this yarn had to be destined for something really special.

The glorious Tanis Red Label cashsilk single. Photo: Tanis Fiber Arts

The glorious Tanis Red Label cashsilk single. Photo: Tanis Fiber Arts

Not long afterwards in a happy coincidence, Tanis herself blogged about the Cloud Illusions shawl by Boo Knits and how wonderful the yarn was with the garter stitch body. Voilà, I thought to myself, that is what this yarn wants to be. Isn't it nice when the yarn speaks to you like that?

I eagerly cast on last summer and was humming away on the pattern until I got to the lace bit, which we know is not my forte. After getting a little bit of help and using copious amounts of stitch markers, off I went again to tackle the lace border, complete with beads - a new knitting experience for me. Alas, the lace and beads combo and vacation proved to be too much and this sad little shawl went into timeout.

For readers of this blog I'd like to make quite clear that my issues with lace, and beads, are all user error. Mine. This really is a lovely pattern!

Until this summer's holiday when, I was pulling out projects I thought would be quick finishes while away, and realised I only had a few rows to go. Surely, I thought, I can get past whatever the issue was? I vaguely recalled that I'd sorted myself out back to a point where there were no mistakes and was ready to continue on...

Cloud Illusions - photographed in the Moat Garden at Windsor Castle

Cloud Illusions - photographed in the Moat Garden at Windsor Castle

After a couple of false starts thinking I had the markers in the wrong spot, I re-read the pattern. Then in a rare display of cleverness, I remembered to look up people's project notes on the pattern on Ravelry. Lo! The stitch markers move on some of the rows of the lace border! And armed with this important bit of info, I was able to finish the shawl in no time. And even my nemesis of a picot border couldn't slow me down!

The garter stitch body of Cloud Illusions is perfect for the round smooshy single of the Tanis Red Label yarn.

The garter stitch body of Cloud Illusions is perfect for the round smooshy single of the Tanis Red Label yarn.

Moving the stitch markers might seem like an easy thing to an experienced lace knitter, and I hope to get there one day in the end. I guess if you know what you're looking for, making the lace pattern stack up on top of the previous stitches, it's intuitive, but I just haven't got there yet.

I love how the iridescent pale purple beads shimmer and pick up the reds and purples in the yarn.

I love how the iridescent pale purple beads shimmer and pick up the reds and purples in the yarn.

I will one day though! In the meantime, I'm so pleased with how this shawl has turned out. And I'm incredibly delighted that it's for me! So many of the things I knit end up being given as gifts and go off to live with other people - and don't get me wrong, I love knitting for my family - but this shawl is particularly special because it's one of my first successful lace projects, and definitely my first project with beads. Might have to find another one to do now!