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Archive for November, 2010

Yeah, so lately, I’ve been doing more knitting and less blogging about knitting. This means that once again, I’ve got two finished shawls to show off!

 

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The first shawl is the Evenstar Shawl. The pattern was written by Susan Pandorf, as a “mystery shawl” knit-a-long. For the uninitiated, a mystery project is one where parts of the pattern are emailed to the knitters over a span of time. When you start knitting the project, you don’t know what the finished project will look like – that’s the “mystery.” For this shawl, the pattern parts, or “clues” to the mystery, were emailed every two weeks.

Although this mystery shawl started in February, I fell behind on the knitting sometime in March and didn’t finish until October. I was OK with that; it’s not like the mystery shawl police were going to come and confiscate my needles if I didn’t keep up. DSCN0074

The final project was just lovely. I’m glad that I signed up for this knit-a-long.  The pattern is meant to evoke images from the Lord of the Rings trilogy (hence the name) but it is lovely in its own right.

The yarn that I used for this project was Yarn Place Heaven. As you can see in the photos, it blocked really well. I blocked it out over a month before taking these photos, and the patterning is still extremely crisp. Yarn Place describes this yarn as “cobweb weight” but I think that it’s closer to gossamer. I knit this project on US size 1 (2.5 mm) needles, and I really think that I could have gone down to 2.25 mm or even 2.00 (size 0) needles; close up, the lace patterns are quite open and loose as I knit them on size 1. The size of the skein was very generous, around 3,000 yards. I still have most of the skein and I think that I will be able to get another large shawl out of it, at least. Something nice about this yarn was that it was just a little bit sticky. When I occasionally dropped a stitch, it didn’t tend to unravel quickly, like silk does. Mistakes were easy to fix without ripping back – DSCN0062always nice!

Because I knit this project with such a fine yarn, my shawl came out quite a bit smaller than the other finished shawls from this knit-a-long. That’s OK. Not every shawl needs to be voluminous! The very fine gauge makes the shawl almost ethereal; it wants to float through the air. It was difficult to make it lay flat for the photos.

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The second shawl that I photographed today is also on the smaller size. In fact,  it’s my smallest shawl to date. This pattern is Swallowtail, by Evelyn Clark. I needed something simple to work on during a recent trip, so I pulled some Lacey Lamb out of a drawer and cast this on. What a neat little knit! The size combined with such soft, fluffy yarn makes the shawl nice to wear as a little neck scarf. (Please forgive the poorly lit photo.) This shawl has a nice, classic look to it. It’s not over-the-top in any way. Moderate size, simple, effective stitch patterns and layout, and good wearability. Out of all the shawl patterns I’ve knit up so far (about 25!) I think that this one will best stand the test of time. I will definitely be knitting this one again.

This yarn has a bit of an issue with blocking, however. It is super soft and springy. This makes it easy on the hands when I’m knitting with it, and the final project is wonderfully soft and cushy to DSCN0051 touch. However, all of this soft springiness means that it doesn’t like to hold a block. Here I have a photo of my gauge swatch, knit and blocked 6 weeks ago, next to the shawl, which I blocked last night. You can see that the swatch has seriously bounced back from the block. The stitches have all closed up quite a bit. I knew from previous experience that this yarn likes to behave this way, so I chose a larger needle than I would normally, in order to produce a more open gauge. After a few weeks, the shawl will look like the swatch. Even with the bounce back, the pattern still looks nice in the swatch, so I’m confident that the shawl will still look nice as well without needing to be re-blocked before each wearing.

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