MS3; or, you had me at "it's black"

Since I clearly don’t have enough to do, what with working full-time, getting ready to go back to school, and planning a major cultural event involving over 10,000 people, I have signed on to the madness that is the Mystery Stole.

As you know, I have been a-hankerin’ to knit something lacey of late.  I finished that last project (and haven’t posted pictures yet because I haven’t blocked it out and made it all purdy) and got seriously itchy fingers for some real laceweight and an honest-to-goodness lace pattern.

Because I am secretly a middle-class Victorian lass at heart. 

(Digression of self-disclosure: No, really.  I used to read the entire Little Women series like 50 million times each year when I was in my early teens, when I wasn’t swallowing harlequin romances in greedy gulps, and I would create elaborate fantasies about living in the 1880’s.  I was particularly proud of my sense of realism when I started inserting bits about how I would have had to go to the bathroom in a chamber pot, or even an outhouse.  Then I got my period and was suitably HORRIFIED by imagining what THAT would have been like to deal with in the 1880’s.

So anyway, yeah.  Always fascinated by lace.  Not lacey things.  Don’t wear them, myself.  The making of lace.  Also gloves.

I also taught myself how to cook using my great-grandmother’s 1887 edition of The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.  The one that instructs you to “put another log on the fire.”

Would you believe I’m actually very butch?

Yes, I suppose you would.)

And then, I was reading the blogs and I came across the Yarn Harlot‘s post about reading blogs and getting pressed into the Mystery Stole gang.  You can read it for yourself here.

But if you are lazy, and just want to keep reading here (aw!) I will explain.  It is apparently the third iteration of a Yahoo Groups Knit-Along in which the designer sends out “clues” every Friday (with a handy two-week break built in for the release of the final Harry Potter book, which I think is a very nice, and considerate touch). 

Each clue consists of the next consecutive chunk of the pattern to a lace stole, the final and complete look of which remains A MYSTERY.  A MYSTERY STOLE.

So yeah, I’m totally in.

We have been told, mysteriously, that this particular pattern would work best in either black or white yarn.  We have been given the option to add beads to the design.  I would have liked to have added beads to the design, but they are totally optional, and I am a little bit late to the game, as she just released Clue #2 on Friday, July 6, and I only started Clue #1 that day.  No time to buy beads!  Gotta catch up!  Gotta knit like the wind!

So of course I went to my local yarn shop and apparently I missed a fellow MS3er by like 5 minutes.  The ladies who sit there and knit all day (do they get paid to sit there and knit?  I think they do!) saw me come in and make a beeline for the laceweight and smiled knowingly at each other.

It’s nice to feel I am part of a fad.  Gives me a real sense of belonging.

I chatted with the proprietor of the shop for a few minutes about the phenomenon, and how I was one of the 3,000+ people who came into the group as a direct result of reading the Yarn Harlot’s post (note to non-knitters: The Yarn Harlot is a knitting author, designer, and blogger who has done much to demystify knitting and bring it to the common folk — definitely one of the major figures in this whole resurgence of knitting as a young hipster thing to do).

The shop-owner has always looked disapprovingly on my comments about how much dreamy hand-spun and hand-dyed wool I can find AND BUY online, and I have tried without success to get her to stock more independent yarn-makers’ yarn, especially in sock-weight.  

I think she was amazed to realize that in this case the big bad internet had actually MADE A SALE for her.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my local yarn shop, and I adore the ladies therein, but I am so SICK of people who don’t use computers/the internet and feel free in brushing it off and seeing it as nothing but a scary place where everyone is out to steal your credit card number, seduce your 14-year-old daughter, and teach you how to make a bomb.

Sure, it’s all that.  But for Christ’s sake, do a little investigation into a thing before you denounce it with a dismissive wave of your hand.

OK.  That was actually a rant about a different, and far more personal issue, coming out in an unforeseen way. 

Let’s look at (sort of) pretty pictures instead.


In a nice bit of serendipity, I had JUST ordered these fantastic stitch markers on etsy, mainly because I knew I would just FETCH UP and knit me some lace one of these days and LOOKIE HERE that day has come.

Also, it is a crappy cell phone picture because my camera was away on loan with my husband the wedding DJ at a wedding. We’ll pretend I am being deliberately MYSTERIOUS by posting a bad, out-of-focus image of THE MYSTERY STOLE. 

And besides, I had to rip all that out last night when I realized I wasn’t doing the edges in garter stitch.  So I started over and got this far last night:


I went to bed at 1:30, which is very late for me now (only five years ago I owned a nightclub and caroused till dawn — I did tell you I was an all or nothing kind of dame, didn’t I?) and woke up this morning wide awake and ready to get knitting again.

Boy, that first shot really does look like a drunken nightmare, compared with the sober, well-lit one that follows, doesn’t it?  Sometimes knitting has red eyes and hickies and smells like tequila.

And then you start over again and try to do better.

3 Thoughts.

  1. With all of your talk of chamberpots, can there be any question of why I love you so?

    Omg! OMG! Mysterious lace knit black thing! What can it be?! I know! It’s gotta be a historically accurate recreation of the Victorian thong! Look at it! I just screams “let me peak out from under your petticoat!”


  2. personally, I think it looks very much like undergarments. I was stroking it lovingly last night and thinking about how effectively it could be made into a black lace bra.

    Answer: very.

    And with those moist-looking pearls nestled in that trangle of dark, delicate lace like… well, let’s just say I’m enjoying this project very much.

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