and i’m here to recruit you.

(ten points to whoever recognizes that reference)

so by now, many of you have seen the “poll” on stephanie’s blog.

i have to say i am blown away by the shear volume of replies.
i never thought my late night appeal for help would cause all this,
nor did i realize how testy some knitters can get.
but i suppose if you poke the wasp nest,
you’re gonna get stung some.

so just to add another dimension to things,
here’s the prologue to the story:

i am a worker bee at natural stitches,
and it’s got to be the best job in the world.

this means that for our summer of socks and lace,
i compete against the rest of the staff, as opposed to the customers,
we get to knit at work,
which gives us an unfair advantage over people who can’t.

i personally entered the “double threat” category
meaning i’ll have to knit both socks and lace.

so obviously, i was keeping my eye out for patterns to knit in addition to the february lady, shetland tea shawl, stora dimun, and plain sock i’ve already started. (we knit as many items as we can)

when i came upon the whisper cables pull over

totally scammed the photo from veronik's flickr. all rights are hers.


i immediately said to myself, “that’ll do!”
and took the pattern into work to select yarn etc.

when i showed my coworker the pattern,
she looked at me like i was an idiot and said,
“you can’t do that. it’s not lace.”
(identities are being concealed to prevent possible teary phone calls)

the problem lies merely in the fact that we have two different viewpoints on how to judge what constitutes lace. i took in the whole image and said, “that’s lace.” she looked at the pattern and determined the necessary techniques that currently define lace in the knitting world are absent from the pattern.

i think that’s kinda dumb and exclusionary.
but i suppose definitions are meant to be.

she comes from the old school, steeped in tradition and love for st. elizabeth zimmerman. i’m from the new generation of knitters who’ve learned the craft online or in the new lys’s instead of from their grandmothers or mothers. hell, i learned to knit on aluminum boye needles and fun fur in the wee hours of the morning at meijer from a crazy knitter lady.

you can’t get much further from tradition than that.

the debate then spread to the rest of the staff:
what counts?
what doesn’t?
what about scribble lace?
what about things with yo’s but no corresponding decreases?
(like the simple yet effective)
if one technically follows the ez rules,
wouldn’t one have to count yo k2tog button holes?
what about hairpin lace?
which brought us to crochet and . . .

don’t even get me started on the crochet contestants.
i’m just gonna take their word on it;
if they tell me their project is lace,
i’ll believe them.
(honor system hookers!)

basically,
even though i see the deliberate instruction in the pattern to knit on a larger needle in comparison to the yarn in order to create regular patterned openwork, openwork stretched and held in place by the regular patterning of the cables, as a way of creating lace . . .

no one else did.

what did i do when everyone was against me?
(please note the comical melodrama, not sincere despair)

i appealed to a higher power.
the highest power to which one as lowly as i could appeal:
the knitting celebrity.

in this case, stephanie pearl-mcphee.

i filled her in on the basics and she suggested we put it to a vote.
i said what the hell!
what have i to lose?

and now you’re all caught up, selecting your a, b, c, or d
casting your vote to let the world know what you think about lace.

if i’m honest,
and i tend to be,
i knew going in that i wasn’t going to “win” the argument.
my only hope was that a few voters would see things the way i did,
so i wouldn’t feel like some crazy face knitter.

so last night,
i decided to start reading through the comments
me and my little friend pouilly-fuissé:

(please note my great grandmother’s crocheted lace doily. irony?)

the harlot said i needed a beer for this,
i was out.

let’s look at some of my favorites from that initial peekaboo:

anna wrote:
A. He can’t be serious… Since when is cable knitting with fine gauge yarn and big needles lace?

i am serious and maybe since now?

gretchen wrote:
Put me in the A camp. When Steven finishes a real lace shawl, let’s see what he thinks of his theory then!! Sorry, buddy. A

i have actually. and i gave it away. it now lives in london. my theory still feels pretty good.

sally wrote:
Steven, I’m going with whatever answer gets me that skein of cashmere. (Otherwise I’d have to go with C leaning towards A) But I really, really want that yarn, so if you like I will write a Treatise on Lace Options if needed and send it to your Store Ruler. Yup, I’m on your side.

that’s an awesome answer, a true harlot at heart.
(and a good way to win some cashmere)

willowcaroline wrote:
Well, I see it differently. When I looked at the pic of the sweater, I saw “lace” between the cables.. no matter how it got there. So B or D, which seems to be the minority opinion. I am not saying this is Shetland lace.. but that openwork look sure looks lacey to me.

yay! i am not alone.

rodger wrote:
I vote B.
And not just because Steven is cute.

um . . . what’s your number rodger?

there were some not so nice ones,
throwing around things like
“be a man”
“get over yourself”
“put on your big boy pants”
“man up”

how did my manhood get caught up in this?
when did cabling become easier than lace?
when did people start taking knitting so seriously?

ultimately, i’m going to bed with a smile on my face.
because little ol’ me,
born in detroit, and raised in the sticks of michigan
caused an international debate.

the great lace debate of 2010.

and queer as my perspective might be
(no wise cracks megan)
i found out some people saw things my way,
and that the definition of lace is debatable.

besides,
whether or not this sweater is eligible for the contest,
i’m still gonna kick their butts.

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