I succumbed to the Mystery Stole KAL! I was getting the itch to start some lace and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to jump in. I am a bit behind, but I have no problem with that. I just finished the first chart (Chart A) from the first clue:
I am going with the bead option... you may not seem them all that well, but believe me, they are there.
One chart to go then I can start with the second clue :)
I have knit a few shawls, but all of them had been previously gifted. Not this one - the first shawl that I knit just for me:
Pattern: A Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging, in Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.
Yarn: Tess' Silk & Ivory. I used about 120 grams of the 150 gram hank, leaving about 150 yards left over.
Needles: Addi Turbos Circs US7s and Clover DPNs US8s. I diverted from the needle size called for in the pattern since I increased the weight of yarn used. The US7s were used for the main body, the US8s for the border.
Alterations: Because I changed the yarn and needle size I decided to shoot for a finished shawl that was approximately the same dimensions as that in the pattern. Lucky for me it meant knitting less repeats of the first chart and having less repeats to complete for the border chart.
Impressions: Initially I was extremely frustrated by my original choice in the yarn and needles I decided to use for this pattern. After deciding to make the change in yarn this pattern was a pleasure to knit. One of my favorite details is the picot bind off, and see many applications for it.
The pattern's finished shawl dimensions are 21" deep by 62" wide. My shawl finished at 22" deep by 65" wide. I couldn't be happier. The best part is I get to keep it!
Here's one last shot of it lounging out on the grass:
In an attempt to not run out of yarn on the border portion of the Victorian Lace Today Curved Shawl(I've done that before, haven't I), I decided to stop working on the body of the shawl at the halfway point of yarn left. Luckily I think this will put me at what I estimate to be the specified measurements for the pattern (after blocking of course). With about 77 grams left I started binding off:
How fantastic is that bind-off?!
It's a picot bind off and I really like how it is turning out. I can see many applications for this handy little trick.... top-down garment embellishment would be a must!
The only downfall to the bind off is that is taking about twice the time as a normal bind off would, and multiply that be some 180 stitches. So, needless to say, it's taking awhile. I hope to finish the bind off tonight and start the applied border chart. I'm a little worried about how that the knitted border gets attached to the body but hopefully I'll figure it out.
You may remember my initial shawl frustration. If not, go ahead, take a read, I'll wait...
So, I did get the Knitpick's lace needles. And immediately re-started the VLT Curved Shawl.
I decided to put the yarn on time-out. I really think there is a conflict between me, the pattern, the yarn and the needle size.
So, I decided to use a different yarn!
Next up, some Tess' Silk & Ivory that I picked up at Stitches West in 2006. It is a lovely purple-blue color, and with an increase in needle size we finally have some success:
I am extremely happy! There is harmony between me, the new yarn choice, the pattern and the needles!
If my math is right, I have twelve more 4-row repeats before I start the border chart. Due to the drastic change in yarn weight and needle size, I'm more going for the completed size per the pattern. More than likely I will not use all the yarn (fingers crossed, hopefully I will not run out!), but with the past drama I've had with this project I am completely okay with that :)
In shawl news (as it is one of my goals to start a shawl this month), I have become extremely frustrated by needles...
While Gatsby Girl was drying, I decided to start "A Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging" from VLT (one was completed on the KAL). Since I'm using some Alpaca Cloud yarn I have in the stash from KnitPicks, and the pattern requires a lot of "K3tog", I thought it would be a good idea to invest in some sharp lace needles. I had heard good things about Inox circular needles, and purchased US3s from an Ebay store. After casting on, starting and re-starting five times - I pitched it across the room! Argh!!
For some reason I kept dropping stitches and the K3tog's were driving me insane. The yarn is sooo thin and I just don't think the Inox's are sharp enough for me. I compared the tip to some US3 Addi's I have, and indeed the Inox's are sharper... maybe I'm just lame.
In any case, I've ordered some KnitPick's lace needles... we'll see how it goes once they get here. I'm hoping that they have a much pointer tip. In the meantime, I have plenty to keep me busy... like Pandora and seaming :)
Alterations: None. I knit it as specified, completing a total of twelve lace repeats.
Impressions: I loved knitting this one... as if it was not obvious because I just could not put it down after meeting the 50% goal I set for myself this month. I neglected to take pre-block measurements, but after blocking it came to 63.5" wide and 32.5" long. I am extremely happy with it :)
The baby cashmere yarn is a dream to work with. I purchased some in a tan color to make socks with in the near future. I would definitely recommend this yarn for use in a fingering weight shawl!
Yarn: Brooks Farms Harmony, purchased from Stitches West 2006. Thanks to my scale, I was able to use almost the entire skein (500 yards) leaving just 4 grams left over.
Needles: Addi Turbos, US9s.
Alterations: A yarn substitution and change in needle size. I also re-wrote the stitch pattern so that I could knit the shawl using Combination Continental.
Impressions: This pattern was simple to follow and produced a beautiful shawl. I would think that just about any yarn could be used with an appropriate needle size. Previous to blocking it measured 44" long by 20" wide. When dry it came out to be 60" long by 22" wide, a perfect shawl length. The Brooks Farm's yarn is lovely as always and I really love how the colorway showed up in the pattern. No hideous color pooling whatsoever.
As far as the Leaf Lace Shawl goes, I am currently halfway through the eighth repeat. According to the calculator(thanks Theresa!) I am 86.8% complete (with twelve repeats, 84% with thirteen repeats), way beyond the fifty percent mark I set for myself this month. I have not decided if I'm going to keep working on it this month or not.... I have a lot of other goals I need to reach, but it has been such a joy to work on. I think I might just work on it here and there but not make it a huge priority :)