Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Jan 13, 2006

Clapotis in Progress

I'm so glad I appreciated the sun the other day, for today is unremittingly gray, bonechilling, and wet, with rumors of snow later on.

Here is the ever-vigilant Clover, peering out into the grimness, undoubtedly checking for squirrels, who seem to delight in popping their heads up over the fence to drive her crazy.

It is a good day to settle down with some knitting and here is the project I never thought I'd be working on: Clapotis!
For some reason, I have been resistant to the charms of this pattern. I remember when it first appeared in the Fall '04 Knitty and I truly liked it, and then it seemed as though everyone was knitting it and I got this attitude about not jumping on the bandwagon. And I always wondered what the heck Clapotis meant. Because the pattern came from a knitter in Paris, and was pictured draped around the neck of a woman sitting in a cafe, I just kept thinking it was some kind of French pastry!

I finally bestirred myself to find out what "clapotis" actually means:

"A French term for a standing wave phenomenon associated with the reflection of an ocean wave train from a vertical surface, such as a breakwater or pier. A standing wave is a periodic vertical motion of the sea surface that does not propagate horizontally. It can be thought of as being created by the superposition of two identical waves propagating in opposite directions." from the Glossary of Meteorology

Well, that did it. I just had to knit Clapotis! It's a knitted meteorological poem!

That lovely wool is Mountain Colors Mountain Goat - 55% mohair, 45% wool. It is one of the solid colors, Brick, that isn't really solid at all, but an evershifting cascade of closely-related reds. This is a stash yarn that I kept getting out and fondling, hoping it would reveal what it wanted to be, but it wasn't until I wanted to knit Clapotis that this yarn spoke. The color variations are rather too subtle for the color pattern to "propagate in two directions " very apparently, but I'm completely enjoying knitting this pattern in this yarn. (I recently acquired 2 skeins of Mountain Goat in Deep Purple and look forward to working in this yarn again very soon.) It's also a great lot of fun deliberately dropping stitches!

I only had 2/3 the yardage called for, so I cast on 2/3 the stitches. We shall see if this works out well. Instead of being 21" wide, it looks to be about 12-15" which is fine for a scarf. I'm just hoping the length will remain about the same. Now, if I could only possess what the pattern designer Kate Gilbert referred to: a Frenchwoman's ability to ".....
just wrap the scarf around [her] neck in a "Je suis belle et ├ža ne demande aucun effort*" sort of way..." and off she goes. (The phrase means "I'm beautiful and I don't even try." )

There's another French phrase," Il faut souffrir pour etre belle" (It's necessary to suffer in order to be beautiful ). Perhaps all that suffering is how they discovered the painless beauty secret of a great scarf attitude.


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