Just after the holidays, I sat down and thought about all the projects that I’d like to make this year. Not a “to do” list, but rather a “things to think about” list. One of these things is a stole. Well, two of them are stoles, actually. One for an aunt, and one for a friend. I have the yarn and pattern for the friend. She’s a beekeeper, and therefore it clearly must be Anne’s honeybee stole. It took a while to find the perfect yarn, but I did. I’ve been really looking forward to starting the pattern, but I wanted to get Branden’s sweater underway before getting waylaid by lace.

Branden’s sweater is now progressing quite nicely (post soon, I promise). Which means that it’s time to get waylaid. But it’s April already. What, you ask, does this have to do with anything? Well, I am supposed to be going to a conference in June in TN, and the aunt destined to receive a stole lives in TN quite close to the conference location. This means that I should probably knit her stole first so that I can have the satisfaction of presenting it in person rather than mailing it. (I won’t be seeing Biz until next Christmas, so I have lots of time to finish hers.)

The problem? I’ve been looking since January, and I just haven’t found the perfect thing yet. I will know it when I see it, but it has not yet appeared. I have looked at many, many stole patterns. I have made several trips to yarn shops, and websites. Nothing spoke to me.

About a month ago, Kris updated her shop. Included in the update were some really beautiful colors of Dream in Color Baby. I’ve never used the yarn before, but I’ve heard good things. I really liked a couple of the colors, but I wasn’t sure if they were the right colors. Choosing a color is always tricky when knitting for someone else; it should be their color, and not yours that you choose. For some people, this is easy. For others, not so much. My aunt is apparently one of the not so much variety.

The DIC baby stuck in my mind. In particular, the gothic rose color. I absolutely love it. I think it is my aunt’s color. So, last week I ordered some.

It arrived yesterday. It’s just as gorgeous in person as it was online. Maybe better. It came with a little hand-written note, some tea, and a yarn sample, all tied up in curling ribbon. I would have put the ribbon in the picture, except that it instantly became the cat’s new favorite toy and is now in less than perfect shape. A+ for repurposing, anyway.

I’m sorry the photos are dark. It appears to be the best that I can do on a drizzly weekday evening, and I didn’t want to wait until the weekend.

You can tell how much I like the color based on how well it matches the brand new carpet we bought when we moved. Actually, that’s the part it matches the least. The other colors of the carpet were too similar to make a good background.

So, now I have the yarn. I even have a project in mind, and a recipient. And I have no idea what pattern to use. I have searched the web. I have browsed Ravelry. I have poked around in knitting blogs. I have flipped through the Walker books. And still no perfect pattern.

One thing that all this searching has done is highlight for me just how unique Anne’s patterns are. Most stoles seem to be designed along the lines of “start with a pretty lace, go until you think it’s long enough, and then add a border.” Sometimes, they go so far as to be “samplers” of patterns, separated by a row of plain stitching like blocks in a quilt. After Irtfa’a, I am afraid that I can’t be content with that. Lace needs to have a theme, a selection of patterns that grow into one another and support one another. It needs to be a work of art, not simply a piece of lace. And yet none of Anne’s patterns are telling me that this is their project. I also love Susan’s designs, and really want to knit her Arabian Nights stole. I most likely will, if I ever manage to make progress on my current list of Things to Knit First. But it’s not perfect for this project. For me, yes. For my aunt, no.

And so here I am, yarn in basket, waiting for inspiration to strike. I know there’s a perfect pattern out there. I’ve thought about designing one, but I really don’t know what it is that I want, and I’m a little short on time for a full design development, I think. (I know, the real designers out there could finish in much less time, but this is only my second major piece of lace, and even I have to acknowledge limits sometimes…)

Sometimes you know exactly what you want and have to hunt for the resources to make it become real. Sometimes all of the resources are in your hands begging to be made whole, and you can’t quite catch the wind that will make them soar. And so I sit, waiting for the knitting muse to alight, wondering what it is that this yarn truly wants to become.