A sad day for knitting.

I decided to knit the Icarus shawl after searching through a bunch of old Interweave Knits issues.  Since I cast off on the Swallowtail shawl, I really wanted to knit another shawl.  I had tried to start Ene’s Scarf from Scarf Style while I was traveling last week, but casting on 375 stitches? Not something I enjoy doing.  I really like the pattern where you start off with a handful of stitches, and slowly increase, creating the shape of the triangle.

Icarus seemed perfect.  The mostly stockinette portion is really pretty in the subtle hand-dyed solid of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock.  The yarn over column will block out really well in the wool, and it’s a fun knit – pretty easy to memorize with a nice result.

I had plans to relax and make some progress on it this weekend.  That is, until I woke up on Saturday morning.  Dan told me he had something to tell me.

I had left the shawl on the floor, near the coffee table.  This got covered by the blanket that was on the couch.  Which Dan stepped on when crossing the room on Saturday morning.

Oops.

So now Dan’s buying me a new needle, but I don’t have any long, sharp, wooden US7s that aren’t currently in use.  So I had to put it aside.   And cast on a new project.

This is the Kiri shawl (free PDF here) knit in Reflections at Roclan worsted wool on US10.5s.  The fabric is dense and airy, the yarn has a ton of spring to it and, though you can’t see it in the pictures, has a lovely hand-dyed variation from light to dark teal.  I have two skeins, which I think will be more than enough for a wrap.  I really like the feel of heavy lace, of these delicate patterns worked in a larger yarn and on a larger needle.  And they knit up fast!

And thank you for all of your comments on the Swallowtail shawl.  I can’t tell you how happy I am with it.  And it seems to have sparked this new lace passion as well!  I have plans to knit another one, because I just love that lily of the valley border (nupps and all).

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FO: Swallowtail Shawl.

It’s official: I’m addicted to lace.  It’s so much fun to knit – always interesting, the pattern slowly evolving and changing as you go.  The thin yarn on larger needles makes the knitting fly, and it grows swiftly.  But the best part?  Once you’ve cast off, and soaked it in a nice wool-wash bath, you pin it and stretch it out to within an inch of its yarny life and wait a few hours.  And when you unpin it?  Soft, crisp, perfect peaks.  Open yarn overs and delicate lace patterns.  And I made that?  Unbelievable.

Swallowtail Shawl

 I think this is the most beautiful thing I have ever knit.

I didn’t change much from the pattern.  The pattern calls for lace-weight yarn and US5 needles.  I used Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Perwinkle (fingering weight superwash merino) and US7s (KnitPick’s Harmony needles have a nice sharp tip for wooden needles, perfect for those “nupps” and their infamous p5tog).

Swallowtail Shawl

 I wanted to make sure my shawl was more, well, shawl sized, and less scarfy, so I added 5 extra repeats of the budding lace pattern (a tip I picked up on the Ravelry boards – if you’re going to increase the size, do it in repeats of 5 – so instead of 14, as called for in the pattern, do 19, 24, or 29.  This way the numbers will match up for the border).  Since I used a heavier yarn and larger needles, I knew it would be a little bigger than the one in the pattern, even if I didn’t add any extra repeats.

Swallowtail Shawl

 Of course, there are a few mistakes in there.  I had some trouble transitioning between the charts, mostly because I had to follow the chart blindly when I started it off, and wasn’t able to easily read my knitting.  I tried to fix them the best that I could, and I don’t think they take away from the overall look.  In fact, I was happy that I had some mistakes that I conquered.  That was all part of my grand plan for the shawl.

As I mentioned, I made this shawl as a symbol of my choice to become a Celebrant.  I picked this color in particular because periwinkle has always felt like a magical color to me, that beautiful ethereal color of the sky that I always felt wasn’t quite real.  As a Celebrant, I will get to know a couple, then create and perform an original ceremony for them.  This will involve taking elements from many different places – the couple’s own words and cultures, known traditions, and my own creative knowledge.

The same can be said for this shawl.  I followed a general pattern, one that many have followed and done before (just as the wedding ceremony).  I made my own choices – I made it larger, changed the yarn, chose the color.   I even made some mistakes along the way, but I incorporated them into, and made it a part of the piece.  Though I followed the “rules” of the pattern, I created a completely unique shawl.  Just like when I write wedding ceremonies – I’ll follow the “rules,” but I’ll end with something completely personalized and unique for the couple.

Even if someone liked my shawl so much that they decided to do it exactly the same way, adding extra repeats and the same yarn and same needle size, they would still be different.  That’s the beauty of any kind of art, any kind of creativity.  By simply writing, simply knitting, you are making something that is completely yours, something that will be memorable, beautiful, and unlike anyone else’s in the world.

Swallowtail Shawl

 I love it.  Absolutely love it.  I can’t believe I made this!

One week…

I cast off Sunday night.

And blocked it till Monday morning.

I unpinned it at 7am, admired the nupps, tried it on in the bathroom and gazed at myself in the mirror, and then went to work, and got on a plane to LA.
And just got back last night.

So more pictures will be coming soon.

For now, I’ll just tell you that I am in love with this shawl. It was so much fun to knit that I am contemplating knitting another one. I think it would be beautiful as a wrap in a heavier weight yarn.

I also have a ton of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock left over, as I had ordered six skeins and only used 2.5 for this shawl. Since I’ve now got lace on the brain, I’m thinking of using some of that yarn to make the beautiful Adamas Shawl. I’m so excited.

Bye, Jeanie.

As you may remember, I decided to turn some lovely Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock into Jeanie.

After about two weeks of knitting, and a few mistakes, I got frustrated and didn’t love how it was coming out, so I pulled out my old issues of Interweave Knits and poured over them, looking for inspiration.

And I found it in the Swallowtail Shawl. I check out Ravelry, and found even more inspiration. There have been some beautiful interpretations of this pattern.

I almost immediately cast on. It’s been two days, and I’m almost one skein in.

The pattern is written for lace weight yarn, on Us4s. I’m using fingering on US7s. The pattern calls for 15 repeats of the main pattern. I’m doing 19. So it’ll be a larger shawl, which is nice, because it is why my Flower Basket shawl met its demise.

And it’s fun to knit! It’s much easier than the Flower Basket shawl so far. I haven’t reached the infamous “nups,” the little bobbles that are on the border lily-of-the-valley pattern. But I’m preparing.

That last one is kind of electric looking ’cause of the flash.

I think I made the right decision. I really love it. It’s making me rethink my lace moratorium.

Too much.

Last week, I went up to Massachusetts to visit Lindsey, and we had a yarn-filled weekend.

We drove two hours in the pouring rain to WEBS.  It was amazing and overwhelming.  We ran into Adrian of HelloYarn and Ravelry’s Jess (along with a group of their friends), walking out as we walked in.

We wandered the aisles, touching everything.

I bought enough yarn for a sweater, probably that DROPS Cardi that everyone’s making.  I also bought two skeins of Louet Gems in fingering weight, which will probably be some kind of colorwork mitts or mittens.  And two skeins of Malabrigo in Bobby Blue because I just couldn’t leave without some Malabrigo.

Yarn from WEBS.

Here's the full haul from WEBS.

Afterwards, we braved the rain and had Tibetan food in Northampton for lunch.  They had amazing dumplings. Mmmm.

We drove home, and tried to stop at another yarn shop, in Lexington, but they were closed.  You can see how much rain there was at this point.

We made our way back to Salem, where we watched Woody Allen movies and knit.

The next day, I took some pictures of Lindsey modeling a scarf she knit, and we had coffee.  It was really, really windy, but not raining!

Yes, there’s a ship (the Friendship!) on the walk from Lindsey’s apartment to the coffee shop.  And this beautiful view.

Oh, and of course, there was some Queen Elizabeth playin’.

 It was a fabulous, Lindsey & yarn filled weekend.