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Voila my leaf lace shawl this morning, blocking:
Things I learnt while on this easy, quick (hah!) lace project:
1) Frogging lace sucks, especially if you have to frog the same border rows thrice, the last time when you have only 20 stitches to cast off and you have run out of yarn.
2) I made a good decision after Class X to take Arts instead of Maths and Science, because I am still incapable of elementary arithmetic.
3) It doesn’t matter if you fudge a couple of rows to make it all fit.
4) Simple lace in variegated yarn rocks! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
5) And finally, when your leftover skein of laceweight/jumperweight wills itself to be something you aren’t sure of, do let it. The results can be quite breathtaking, viz. the photo on the left.
Am so happy with how this turned out! It’s folded into a pretty little triangle right now. After wrapping it around myself this evening, I had the twinge of a second thought, but I think I will send it, as I’d planned, to a sister-in-law of mine, to whom I owe a knitting gift for the longest time.
It is just right as a shoulder wrap to wear with a dressy outfit, and soft as hell.
Specs: Leaf Lace Shawl, designed by Evelyn Clark and available from Fibertrends
Size: 60" wide and 30" deep. I did 13 repeats of the main pattern, on a size 6 needle.
Yarn: handpainted laceweight/jumperweight from Laura. Have no idea how much. Genny gave great advice last time about how to figure out how much you have and how far you can go with a skein, but alas, she didn’t take into account that I was beyond the help of even a calculator.
In my defence, I did try. I counted the total number of stitches I had to left to do, measured the yarn I had left by wrapping it around an open drawer and then multiplying the length of the drawer by the number of wraps (into 2, duh, cause it goes around twice!), but I mysteriously ended up with only 34 yards and thousands of stitches, when visually it was plain that I had enough for atleast one more repeat. I went with my eyes instead of my brain, and ultimately, I only had to frog the border twice more, that too once because I messed up the pattern. Eventually I cast off on the 15th row instead of the 16th to finish properly, and I have 2 yards left. Sweet, huh?
This is where I’m at with the Leaf Lace shawl: 12 repeats done, and the shawl is about 4 ft wide unstretched. The blob at the bottom is what I have left. I was nearly done, with half the border completed.
But here’s the problem. I don’t know how much I have left, and as the shawl is growing, I can’t tell how much yarn it will take per repeat. I did 12 repeats, and then thought I’ll play safe and do the border, even if I have some yarn left over. 9 rows of the border in I realise I had enough left for at least one more pattern repeat, if not two.
Now that little voice in the head that was quietly whispering – "are you sure you don’t want to stop the border right here, frog, and do another repeat? Think of what you’ll do with the leftover yarn, which you’ll be able to use neither in a sock nor a hat. It will sit there in the drawer and mock you for your laziness. It would have been simpler to do another repeat or two, and then frog if you didn’t have enough. Now look: all this work, and 10 rows frogged for nothing." – is getting louder and more insistent. Somehow continuing to knit the border in order to ignore it isn’t helping.
So I flung the thing into a corner, made some alu parathas for dinner, and then brought it back out and figured that if not display the completed shawl, at least I could
complain blog about it.
So now qu’est-ce qu’on va faire? I just know it, there’s a sucker deep down somewhere inside me who’s going to force me to frog back to the last repeat, try out another repeat or two, and then do the border. I’m going to love the longer shawl in the end, because it’s already a little short and some more length will look good on it. Of course, if there isn’t enough yarn, I’ll still feel good about having tried.
Arrrrrrgh! When I came so close, too. How the heck does one figure out these yardage per row thingies for triangular shawls? I tried weighing this thing at the post office and it doesn’t mean a thing. It only got me weird looks from people. I wish I could tell how far this blob will go: one more repeat or two?
Ah well. Check back in a few days, hopefully I’ll have finished it, to let you know. I’ll also try to photograph it in the sun, to bring out the colours properly.
But in happier news, do check out Spudsayshi’s glorious Orenburg shawl, finally complete. It is one of the most beautiful lace projects ever. I have been following this project like a good groupie, and now I think I’ll have withdrawal symptoms like a cricket fan after the world cup is over.
Also, talking of gorgeous knitting links, surely all of you know about Brooklyn Tweed? It’s the latest blog I’ve discovered (although I’m sure folks have known about it for months), and some of his stuff, especially the Urban Aran cardigan.
Thanks so much for all your input! I tentatively decided to set aside the variegated for the Spirit of the Southwest, because the colours are just right and plus, I bought the yarn in Colorado during a trip of the Southwest…. somehow seems right. And I decided it’s not a problem if it’s warm, really. I also wound a skein of the pink Malabrigo and actually started the F&F shawl. But then, somehow, my hands reached out to the yarn I had left over from the Clapotis I made this spring. And before I knew it, I had cast on for the Leaf Lace shawl.
It’s weird. The yarn almost chose itself for the project. I was a little wary of doing something big with the leftover since I have no idea how much I have left, but I think I’ll get a medium size wrap out of this. Whatever the size, I think it’s going to look gorgeous. And it goes fast! I’ve already done six repeats in two days.
I think the key to lace and variegated yarns is to pick a relatively simple motif, and to knit at a slightly looser gauge than you would for a solid yarn. This allows the YOs to show up more clearly through the mist of shades. It’s definitely more difficult to see the SSks and the K2togs clearly, but
if it’s an identifiable motif like a leaf, then it works very well.
I love this colourway, just knitting with it and watching the shades come up on the needles is a joy.