The lace smoke ring is a delight. Once I memorized the pattern, it was a meditative pattern to knit. It's a beautiful and unusual piece to wear, whether worn as a dramatic collar or folded in half and tucked under a jean jacket. And it was even pleasing to photograph, which I did today in the gorgeous, warm glow of the waning sun.
Pattern: Flared Lace Smoke Ring by Heartstrings Fiber Arts
Yarn: Merino lace from handpaintedyarn.com, color "Pagoda," less than half a skein
Needles: size 6 Inox express 16" circulars
I departed from the pattern in three ways. First, the original pattern places a column of knit stitches in the middle of the sections that make the 'flare' at the bottom, which is to say in the middle of the breaks between the ribbed lace columns. I thought this looked messy and detracted from the lace, so instead I did straight purling for those breaks. You can see this best in the last picture.
Second, I thought the double YO's were too open, so I did single YO's after the first repeat. This meant that I did a purl into the front and a knit into the back of that single YO, rather than using a separate YO for each. This did make the knitting a little more fiddly, but I was pleased with the tighter result.
Finally, since there was zero probability of this being worn like a hood, I shortened the final length to about 13.5".
There was a point when I wished I'd chosen another yarn for this project, something with softer and more luxurious fibers like alpaca or silk. But the yarn softened and bloomed a bit after a soak in Eucalyn. And when I put it on, I realized that I liked the look of the crisp, sturdy fabric, rather than something slouchy and draped.
Tomorrow I'll lovingly pack this up and send it to my sister, who has been waiting for more than a year for me to knit this. But I'm so happy with it that I'm almost tempted to frame this last picture, which is dusky and purple-toned from the very last gasps of the sunset.