Category Archives: finished object: shawl

Now to find a place to wear it

As it turns out, I finished my Tibetan Dreams stole at the end of December, one of the last finished objects of 2009. And then I realized that a lace stole is probably the least optimal knitted object to finish in the middle of winter, because then you realize you need to photograph it and any outdoor shots of you frolicking with the finished shawl draped elegantly around your shoulders are really really not going to happen in -10C temperatures. So I’ve been waiting for the opportune moment.

Happily, Lisa invited me out to the big city yesterday afternoon, for high tea at the Knit Cafe. (They do this once a month, and it is well worth it. Book in advance.) And after our tea there was a bit of a lull, and their front window was temporarily empty, and I got Lisa to snap a few pictures. (Thankfully, the Knit Cafe people did not seem to mind me draping a shawl all over their empty shop window.) I am extremely grateful. Check it out, man:

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Pattern: Tibetan Dreams stole, by Sivia Harding in ‘The Knitter’s Book of Wool.’
Yarn:
Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight, in Deep Sea
Cast on: November 29, 2009
Cast off: December 27, 2009
Needles: 4.0 mm (one size up from the specs – in retrospect I could have probably done fine with the indicated 3.75mm, as the final stole turned out slightly longer than I might have liked. This is when being tall pays off.)
Notes: Can you knit a beaded stole in a month? Answer: yes, but only if you don’t knit much else, and are clinging to the project as a lifeline in the midst of grading hell. I made no modifications whatsoever to the pattern. There are, however, a few minor errata that slipped through the chart publication cracks, so do look those up before you begin this project.

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This is certainly a challenging project, well beyond beginner-basic lace, but is also a skills-building project. The lace pattern on the edges is a 20-row repeat, which will definitely ask you to step up your concentration. The central panel (worked first), also asks you to pay attention to your chart-reading skills, but I found it enjoyable to tick off the rounds one at a time as the mandala pattern blooms outwards.

Working with beads is still relatively new for me, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it – in this case the beads are applied with the use of a (0.60mm) crochet hook, on specific stitches. They are spaced out just far enough to keep a bit of interest while knitting, but not to overwhelm the shawl with a huge amount of weight. The final effect is drapey and elegant, and I’m happy with my selection of beads that are coloured similarly to the yarn.

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Allow me to assure you as well, dear blog readers, that just in case you think beauty is the same as perfection, then keep on walkin’. There are a couple of places in the edges in particular where I goofed up big time and just fudged it to make it work, and changed my stitch marker placement so that it didn’t happen again on the next repeat. (I got better). Now, I would probably have to look very very hard to find that same section with the error. I am pretty okay with this. (A good reminder in general, I feel.)

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Sivia Harding, if I didn’t know for a fact what an awesomely nice person you are, I would think you were an evil genius. Thanks for the great pattern.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and knit yourself some badass beaded lace. Best time ever.

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Filed under beads, fearless knitting, finished object: shawl, lace

Moving Right Along

In my last post I mentioned that on Saturday I was, at least for a very brief moment in time, on a blank slate. I was free to cast on new things for myself having finished others, and one of the projects I finished was a second Swallowtail shawl.

I made my first one back in June out of Sea Silk, and it is lovely and drapey and beautiful, but I wanted one that would be bigger and cover more of my shoulders and arms. So, I took the pattern and up-sized it, knitting 19 repeats of the buds instead of the instructed 14. For a while i was expecting I would knit 3 repeats of the lily of the valley instead of the 2 in the pattern, but when I finished the 2 in the pattern I realized that a) it didn’t really need a 3rd repeat, and b) if I only did 2 then I would be done sooner.

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I’m quite happy with the result. Betty here is modelling it for me (she is so named after Mad Men‘s Betty Draper…since I’m going to be draping my knitting all over her, yuk yuk yuk I kill me), and doing a fine job. For this second, up-sized Swallowtail I used 1.5 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight in ‘Plum’, which on 4.5mm needles left me with a wingspan of just over 5 feet across. Very pleasant. And check out that lovely lacey point…

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It’s true that the nupps get easier the more you do them. I find myself much looser on the nupps this time around than on the first go, and I really do like the way they look. I could even start to enjoy the nupps, dare I say.

I have more shawls that i’d like to cast on…once I get through the 2 pairs of socks, 1 sweater, and 1 pair of gloves that have come on the needles since Saturday morning. Nothing like a little bit of knitting to take the edge off of term starting, no? I thought so.

Happy Wednesday – keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under finished object: shawl, lace

Thumbs up for shawls

Yes, I think I will have to make more of these. Don’t tell my socks.

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Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn Clark (issued in Interweave Knits 2006, and available for free here)
Needles: 3.5mm circular
Yarn: Sea Silk, from Handmaiden Fine Yarns. 1 skein did admirably for the lace-weight size, and I was left with about 11g of a 100g skein.
Cast on: June 18, 2009
Cast off: June 26, 2009
Size: After blocking, approximately 49″ wide and 22″ down the centre, slightly smaller than predicted dimensions for the lace-weight size.
Modifications: None.

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It is bee-you-tea-ful. The yarn is, of course, all manner of gorgeous (since it is mostly silk), and until I started this project it was one of my very few skeins of ‘precious yarns’, you know, those yarns that you neglect out of worry you won’t do right by them when you finally knit them up. I bought this skein at Lettuce Knit during the TTC Knitalong – and not the TTC Knitalong from earlier this month, no no, the last TTC Knitalong in 2007. So that’s two years’ worth of waiting to use this up, and I even had it wound up and bagged with the Swallowtail pattern since a year ago. No more. It is no longer yarn. It is a lovely shawl (or scarf, more like), and shiny and pretty and MINE.

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I would like to do a bigger version of this, in a proper drapey shawl that covers my arms. As many others have figured out by now, up-sizing this shawl requires a bit of thought and effort since the stitch count of the pattern repeats differs between the budding lace that you start with, and the lily-of-the-valley (featuring our dear friends the nupps) that finishes. If you increase the budding lace pattern by repeats of 5, it should work. I’d like to try this with a fingering weight version, perhaps adding 1 or 2 more repeats of the lily-of-the-valley as well.

You know, knitting is pretty great. It’s a good thing I do it a lot.

Knit some precious yarn today – you’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under finished object: shawl, lace

I’m so glad I’m a knitter

Because if I wasn’t a knitter, I’d never have discovered or been able to keep re-discovering how awesome it is to turn a messy pile of string into a beautifully blocked lace shawl. (Oyster Bay is finished, the Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight is absolutely delicious, and the whole works is waiting to dry and almost ready for its final shoot.)

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If I wasn’t a knitter I wouldn’t have the good fortune of making hard choices such as whether to do another shawl, or finish the socks first, or finally cast on for that fair isle sweater I’ve been telling myself for the past year I was going to start ‘next’.

If I wasn’t a knitter I wouldn’t be making things that look like this. Enough said, right?

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I’m so glad you’re all knitters, too.

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Filed under finished object: shawl, lace

Shawl time

I was already enjoying the Forest Canopy shawl as I was knitting it. For real, I was only halfway through it and already thinking of what shawls I was going to make next, what other lace projects I’d filed away for “someday” in my knitting brain. Then, I blocked it. Yes my friends, blocking lace really is the most fun you can have with yarn and T-pins. I present to you my first lace shawl:

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A few of my knitting friends have been working on this pattern lately, and when i realized it could be done with sock yarn, and that I could use the 2nd pair of skeins of Socks That Rock that I purchased at Rhinebeck (in the lovely semi-solid Jasper colourway, no less), I was sold. I cranked this out in about 2 weeks, and then inexplicably let it sit there for another week before blocking it.

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The astute and experienced among you may notice that I didn’t quite get to a full border – I only managed 4 of the final border rows instead of 8, as I ran out of yarn. And indeed, I ran out of yarn after getting 80% of the way through the bind-off. Clearly, this is an indication that I over-shot and should have stopped 1 repeat short and done only 17 instead of 18 repeats of the main pattern. But you know? It totally works. Nobody who has examined this shawl has caught the 12 inches of substituted yarn I pinch-hitted the final bind-off with, and dudes, I call that a win. I have Kate’s yarn to thank for being the right shade.

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I like that this pattern is easy to ‘embiggen’. Although it’s possible to complete the pattern with only a single 350-400 yd skein of fingering weight yarn, it’s pretty easy to just keep going and do more repeats until you feel like you’ve gone far enough. The finished size is about 78″ across, which is pretty much perfect for me (I’m 5’9″. Big comfy shawl, please). Great for wrapping around my shoulders in the heavily air-conditioned theatre on Friday night.

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The STR Mediumweight makes this a less ‘holey’ knit than it is perhaps intended to be, and I probably could have gone up a needle size (I used 5.0mm) without trouble. Still, I call this a win and freely admit that there will be more shawls this summer. Shawls Ahoy. Summer of Shawls. I’ve got the patterns stacking up in my mental queue and have but to choose.

Lace knitting. Why didst I forsake thou for so long? Good thing I finally found you.

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Filed under finished object: shawl, lace, shawls