Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Amazing Lace Challenge 1: Part One -- The Quest for Peacock

As I sat and read the rules for The Amazing Lace for the tenth time, I knew my path was inescapable. There was only one choice open to me, only one right thing to do -- but would Peacock still be fit enough to compete? Would she still be willing to team up with me?

It had been years since I had seen her last, but I can still remember her when she was fresh and new -- her crisp, unmarked pattern, her soft lavender lace-weight merino curling softly in the unwound skein. The future of our project seemed so bright and promising then.

Our working relationship wasn’t smooth, but we were both much younger at the time, and we thought we could work through our different styles. At first, I thought her instructions were simple, and we cruised through many repeats. But about halfway through, she became a demanding project, and often did not allow me to watch TV or visit with friends when we were working together. Then without warning, she would shift directions and insist on being repetitive and boring for endless stretches of time. I would get impatient and abandon her for long periods to entertain short, flashy projects. Eventually, I even found lace shawl patterns that I preferred to hers. Those other completed projects just seemed to make Peacock even harder to get along with. Her attitude became more and more surly, and our dissatisfaction with one another grew.

Our last parting hadn’t been pretty – mistakes had been made, harsh words spoken. She had departed the scene wadded up in disgrace and neglect. Who knows where she had gotten herself off to since then? Who knows what dark corners she inhabited?

In resignation and resolve, I steeled myself for the task ahead and waded into the deepest darkest bowels of The Stash. I struggled through endless unmarked containers, loose labels, and the strands of long-forgotten skeins from another era. Old bargains and odd balls lurked furtively in dark boxes. Once-popular pattern sheets skittered menacingly in the shadows.

Then I saw her. There she was -- barely recognizable, crouched in her dusty tote bag at the back of a shelf.

Time had not been kind to her. Her instructions were scattered and disorderly. Her once-gleaming array of stitch markers were tangled in her YOs. Her lifelines were listless and uneven. Her needles poked through her stitches at odd angles, and yarn trailed carelessly off her cone. But something told me her potential was still intact.

“Come on out of there,” I said gently. “Team Top Frog needs you. Pull yourself together and straighten yourself out. It’s a new day and we have work to do.”


cindi said...

I'm going to call you Beth of Arc. It's so wonderful that you rescued that poor project! But are you sure she's a she? It's Peacock, after all, not Peahen. Maybe it was gender identity issues that made her so hard to get along with.

Beth C said...

Well, I think most projects start out gender-neutral, regardless of their pattern names, and you get to assign gender as you please. However, with these big projects like Peacock, I put so much time and effort into them, they just naturally seem to take on some characteristics of my own personality. Kinda weird, I guess. :)