My first foray into lace knitting was, as all things, an exercise in biting off more than I could comfortably chew. I found a beautiful shawl pattern (in this book, Lily of the Valley Shawl), and decided that my mother needed one. Two yarn purchases (because the first batch I bought I didn’t buy enough of, and then they were out of the colorway, so I bought a different colorway instead [153, if you are interested]), and much time and frustration later, I had made something beautiful, even if the edging was 4 rows shorter than it should have been, and it never was blocked. You see, it was 11pm on the eve of Christmas eve, and the edging looked fine, and no one should give their mother a damp, half-blocked shawl for Christmas, so I opted for a soft, dry, wrinkly shawl instead.
However, despite set-backs, and a lot of looking techniques up (how do I do a yarn over in front of a purl again???), I discovered that I loved everything about knitting lace. The teeny tiny yarn and big open on purpose holes in the knitting were just addicting.

So I moved on to lace hats and scarves:

Lace scarf of awesome.

The hat was looking out over the dunes in NC.

Anyway, so along comes this past March, and I see that one of my favorite yarn and bead stores is offering a mystery lace knit-a-long (with beads!!), with the Unique Sheep people. I think, “Awesome! I should see if my mom or anyone wants to do it with me!” And so I ask, and we all (me, my mom, my sister, and my aunt) pick out yarn, and wait for our yarn and first clue to arrive. And here’s a picture of my mom’s first ever lace knitting! (cat added for interest):

Oh yes, the cat loves lace knitting! So does the blocking board.

I think she did really well considering that it was her first lace, her first use of tiny needles and yarn, her first YO!!! and there was a little bit of pattern errata making things hard (the Unique Sheep people fixed it almost right away, so don’t go hating on them!). I was really proud of her.
Clue 1 arrived last Friday, and I have been just loving the pattern so far. My mom, not so much, though, because we used a lace cast-on, which Eunny says is a weird and unpopular cast-on (even though my grandmother taught all of us to cast on that way!), but good for lace. The problem with the cast-on is that if you cast on a stitch purl-wise, it can unravel itself sometimes. Which, unfortunately, we needed to do for the last cast-on stitch, so we could slip the first stitch on the first row. Clear as mud, eh?

So clue 2 arrived from the magical pattern faeries last night in my inbox. Which is exciting, except for the fact that this is what clue 1 looks like right now:

It's totally almost finished....

See those 4 lonely little beads on the yarn at the bottom? That is how many more pattern repeats I have to do, as each bead is placed on the edge halfway through the repeat. Maybe I’ll be done by Christmas.