Vine Lace Vest: A Tale of Queue-Jumping and Impulsivity

Ravelry does a funny thing to my sense of priority: it allows me the illusion of an organized, systematic approach to knitting via the queue. I pretend that I’ve planned out my projects, matched them with their yarns and sometimes even buttons or closures, and in the biggest delusion of all, I actually believe that I will follow through with this plan as imagined because I’ve put the projects in my queue that way.

Ha. Seriously, ha! I am the most fickle, mercurial person I know, prone to dramatic and swooping changes in opinion, career, romantic affiliation, and so forth, with little or no prior warning. Oh sure, I may have an inkling here or there with the major life events, but with art, or knitting? That is where my id runs rampant and I do whatever I want.

Parenthetically, how many lovely, sunny days have I had where I might have photographed a glimpse of this project? Might I have arranged it artfully on my sun-soaked windowsill and captured its most flattering attributes? No, no, I wait until the middle of the night in the depths of a rain-soaked week to decide now, now I must talk about this lace.

I think my project history has revealed no small love affair with vine lace. It suits my temperament so well, as it is the same repeat, offset by one stitch, alternating every other row. The lace itself feels nicely symmetrical, balancing the increases and decreases within a repeat that is just long enough to stay interesting but short enough that my hands can whip through it from memory. I am consistently delighted by the visual impact you can achieve from such elegant combinations of stitches, and I think it looks flowing, organic, and perfectly fabulous at any scale. I capital-L LOVE vine lace, and I doubt this fact will ever change, however much of it I knit.

I’d seen the Vine Lace Vest (PDF) before, as I subscribe to Classic Elite’s Web Letter (I recommend you do too – they have some great patterns). I’m not sure why it didn’t immediately grab me, seeing as it has almost all my favorite project components: vine lace, interesting but not overly tedious construction, large-gauge lace that moves fast without looking clunky, no buttons or zippers, and a versatile, very wearable garment in the end.

I am especially delighted to use stash yarn, this Simply Soft in a lovely, out of character dusty pinkish mauve color. I originally bought it for an ill-advised strapless top of some sort, which I knew, even as I queued it, I would probably not actually knit. I can’t explain why these very inexpensive skeins of acrylic wick at me the way they do, but I have a lot of them in my stash from my first years knitting, and I feel some sort of vendetta to turn them into garments I love. I have much nicer, vastly more expensive yarns hanging out in this glass-windowed antique secretary desk (I will, I promise, take a nice photograph of it sometime soon), but the shopping bags full of Simply Soft and Caron One Pound in the top of my closet weigh far more significantly on my mind.

When I started knitting, I dreamt about making shrugs and cutesy cropped cardigans, specifically to wear over sundresses and summery blouses. Impatient with my knitting progress and annoyed that I couldn’t wear the same hand knits day in and out (I suppose I could, but it would get dull), I’ve filled my closet with 3/4-sleeve cardigans and store-bought shrugs, but they never feel as special as the ones I’ve made.

Combining the prospects of a new short-sleeve open lace shrug-type garment that would be fast, fun, and easy to knit, with the ability to all but completely use two skeins of Simply Soft toward which I felt an odd and lingering guilt, the decision to cast on basically made itself. The Vine Lace Vest immediately jumped my entire queue of carefully thought-out and planned projects, the basket of in-progress knits that are all but complete, save for some buttons or seams, and every one of my intentions toward orderliness and self-control.

And I have not regretted it for an instant.

Leave your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.