Knit, purl, plié, tendu: an allegro allegory

One of mine and bestest’s priorities when we went to Berlin before Christmas was “where do we look at yarn”. I like to think this is a good sort of priority, luckily so does she. So we went in hunt of yarn (on a Strassenbahn, no less) and both ended up buying the same yarn but in different colourways. This yarn is beautiful AND, quite excitingly, it came on a cone. I have never had yarn on a cone before so my life is now more complete than it was before I went to Berlin. Anyway, having bought the same yarn, we decided it would be appropriate to knit the same thing in it. This yarn was speaking to us in a scarfly fashion so I magnanimously (okay, I’m lazy) stood back and let bestest pick the pattern and, after a couple of false starts, this happened:

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The pattern itself can be found over here on Knitty and it seemed ideal. In fact, now I’ve finished, I can safely say it is the idea solution for our yarn. As I was casting it on for the sixth time I was saying other things, but mostly that was about my inability to count.

The problem with lace knitting is that it is awfully like allegro, petit allegro in particular: both have a similar degree of fiendishness to them. Whilst I relish the challenge of a good lace pattern and theoretically relish the challenge of a good allegro, theory does not always translate into practice. Like I said, I love the theory of allegro: all those tricksy little steps combined together to give an impression of something effortless, weightless and far, far simpler than it really is. In practice I am not very good at allegro (shin splints, a dodgy patella tendon, generally quite unhappy feet mean I’ve lost my bounce for a start) because I often muddle combinations up when working at speed. And my inability to count to four manifests on a regular basis. I have the same problem with lace knitting. One little miscount and it throws out the regularity of a pattern. A little akin to winding up on the wrong foot.

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With both allegro and lace there’s so much potential to go wrong. On the plus side, mess up your lace you can go back and unpick then reknit it (although I do so detest unpicking an ssk). Messing up allegro is different, you can’t miss a beat, or wind up on the wrong foot, or miscount… You have to be a fraction ahead of yourself the whole time otherwise you wind up with my old favourite tactic of “OMG MAD PANIC CATCH UP” and landing every jump on your own foot. And that hurts.

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There are other comparisons I can draw between the two: a need for good core stability in allegro is like not letting your yarn overs get too wide and unwieldy. Making sure you get your ssk or k2tog right is akin to knowing when it’s a soubre-saut and when it’s a changement. Keeping your yarn overs tidy is like managing to get your feet right in assemblés. And there’s a soothing pattern to it all after a while. For every increase there’s a decrease, for every jump there’s a logic and purpose to get you to the next step.

And there are those beautiful moments when it all comes together and you wonder what you worried about in the first instance…

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2 Comments

Filed under I dance (not by Toyota), knitting on pointe

2 responses to “Knit, purl, plié, tendu: an allegro allegory

  1. I’ve made one of these – yours is prettier by far. More lacey and lovely yarn.

  2. Pingback: It’s A Kino Magic | Make and Bake with Bert

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