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Posts Tagged ‘shawl’

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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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I did a little bit of re-organization last week on this blog. While I was going through some old posts, it struck me that I’ve been getting lazy about taking good photos. So, of course, we then had dark, cloudy skies for several days in a row, with a little rain here and there. This morning, however, I spotted a ray of sunshine! So I broke out the tripod, dusted off the lightbox, and headed out to the backyard to take some photos.DSCN1167

You would know, the sun went back behind a cloud.

However, it wasn’t quite so gray and dismal, and too much bright sunlight is just as bad as not enough, so I persevered and had fun experimenting with different flash settings.

Lightweight Mountain Peaks is done! It does look quite nice. More photos in the next post, and then it goes in the mail.

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I’ve cast on my next shawl, Shetland Garden Faroese shawl, designed by Silvia Harding. I noticed right away that the pattern uses only K2tog decreases; in other words, no directional decreases. I am using a yarn made by Habu, a bamboo “silk” in cobweb weight. When I swatched for this shawl, I experimented with different types of directional and non-directional decreases. I’m glad that I did, as I suspect that the bamboo is less forgiving than a wool yarn DSCN1148 would be. The lace patterns look radically different depending on the decreases used. So, I broke out the stitch dictionary and lightly edited the lace charts on the shawl pattern, adding SSK, P2tog and P2togtbl decreases where appropriate.

My current sock is nothing noteworthy: after ripping back three different lace patterns, I decided that the yarn really didn’t look good with any kind of pattern, so I’m now making a nice plain ribbed sock.

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What is noteworthy about the sock is that I’ve finally started using the DPN tubes that a friend gave me as a Christmas gift. This is a great little contraption! You slide the smaller tube around the top of the work and the DPNs…

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…and then slide the larger tube around the smaller one. No more reaching into my purse to grab the sock and coming out with one needle too few!

I had looked around locally a few months ago to try and find a set of tubes without success. I think that my friend got these from Knitpicks.

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Icarus II

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Somewhere, in my house, rests a zip-top bag with 250 blocking pins. Can I find it? Of course not. Good thing the blocking wires were out in the open!

You’ll recall (or maybe not) that I knit the Icarus Shawl last May, using Claudia’s Handpainted silk laceweight. It came out beautiful, of course. Then, in September, I started another Icarus, this time using Baruffa Cashwool. The yarn caught my eye one day while I was at the local yarn shop, and I purchased it thinking that it would look fabulous on my mother.

Last Friday, the shawl looked like this. The stockinette portions were finished, with all of the lacework still to go.

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At that point, the realization that I would be seeing Mom soon hit, along with the intense desire to cast on another complex project. So, Saturday, I sat down to knit, and Sunday night, 18 knitting hours later, the thing was finished.

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I loved the Baruffa. It was a bit of a pain to wind, but the stitch definition is great, it blocked well, has a lovely drape and feels wonderful. I don’t typically think of laceweight yarn as being soft and cuddly, but this really is. The blocked shawl just floats through the air.

I’ve actually been on something of a finishing streak, having completed 4 projects within the past week. I tend to work in cycles like this. Of course, the camera, the computer, and WordPress can’t seem to cooperate to upload all of the pictures today, so I might have more photos after Thanksgiving. Sufficient to say, there’s some fun stuff going on around here!

A sneak peak at my next shawl:

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I’ve also cast on for the Venezia pullover, also for Mom. Why do I do so much stuff for Mom? Because I know that she will appreciate the work for itself (not just because it came from her daughter), she will take care of it, and because I can predict her tastes!

Just for fun, here’s one last photo, of my husband cooking breakfast for me. We had a great time camping last weekend and attending Kid ‘N Ewe. Note that when you tell a non-crafty person that you attended a “fiber festival,” it’s good to make sure that they know that you are talking about sheep and not whole grains. My doctor and I had a very funny misunderstanding yesterday!

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