One of my favorite parts of designing surprising lace is choosing yarns that would not normally be considered fine or feminine. Many designers shy away from variegated colorways, for example, but I find that sometimes the way the lace stitches and open holes dance across the fabric creates unique patterning when paired with certain variegated or hand-painted yarns. I also like to play with heathers, semi-solids, and even yarns with slubs of contrasting colors and textures in them with my lace knitting. Of course sometimes the results are less than stellar, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know! In my writing, the early research and drafting — what I call “pre-writing” — is one of my favorite parts of the process, and I liken this to swatching to try out new stitches and yarn when inventing a new knitting pattern. Rather than finding the experimentation to be arduous or a drudgery, I use it as a time to play and have fun!