Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finished my third shawl

For the last two years I’ve been waiting for the shawl bug to bite me. I went through the mandatory felting period, where I knit and shrank almost everything I created. Next came the sock crazy. I’ve been submersed in socks for years, as you know. Loving them so much, in fact the last two years I’ve taken the 52 Pair Plunge, yes that’s a pair of socks a week. Some weeks are better than others. I’ve knit a few sweaters, averaging 2 a year I think. With all the girls going gaga for lace in 2009 I caved around Christmas time and tackled the springtime bandit. A rainbow colored Socks That Rock yarn. Not the greatest color or weight choice. Too heavy and so bright all of the detail of the lace is lost. Understandable I wouldn’t be hooked after that. A few months later I tried to get hooked again, this time with a more two color red-orange Schaefer Nicole yarn. Yes the feel of the yarn is wonderful but again too heavy and not enough yardage to make the size shawl I’d like. Again, not hooked. Should I be worried that I’m trying so hard to become addicted to something? To fit in with the crowd? I went back to my socks. Love my socks, they come out just the way I want and after knitting fifty or so pairs I don’t have yarn weight issues. I know what works and I use it.

And then Thanksgiving was coming. The many days of knitting while visiting with family usually means I can tackle a big project and make some serious headway. A few years back I started my Ivy League Vest over Thanksgiving and was pleased with the results come Monday morning. This year I opted to do a little Christmas knitting and tackle another shawl. I had bought yarn for this purpose at Rhinebeck and with the help of my friends, landed on the Seaside Shawlett by Wendy Johnson. Pattern in hand I went to stay at the Oceanside cottage for Thanksgiving. It seemed fitting. I knit fifty percent of this shawl over the holiday. It is a lovely cashmere blend fingering weight yarn. Not too heavy. Dark chocolate color to really show the stitch details. And the pattern was just the right challenge to entertain my brain.

Finally last week I finished my third shawl. After the three part bind off, it took forever! I stepped back and looked at my creation. Is that it? Is it really this small? That wouldn’t fit a child let alone my intended recipient. I fussed and fretted. I consulted the pattern and my left over yarn ball. Both indicated mine was somehow smaller than the one pictured. I reviewed my notes. Yes I had completed all the chart repeats, I had notes day by day. No way I got confused there. And then I looked at my needles. Pattern says size 6 needles. “if these are size 6s I’ll eat Isitt!” and I checked. Not size 6. Not size 5. Not size 4. But size 3!!!! How could I be such a dolt?!?!?! I was so anxious to cast on over Thanksgiving that I hadn’t checked the needles, just grabbed what I thought was a 6 after a few glasses of wine. I was heart broken. This lace thing would never work out. I won’t be able to give this beautiful Christmas gift I’d been planning. I walked away in disgust for a few days.

Late Sunday night I soaked the shawlett. I pinned it out with the help of Isitt and Linus. Both were relieved that I hadn’t actually meant to eat Isitt. I walked away for a few more days and resolved that I would still give the gift with my best of intentions and promise to knit another. During blocking I could see that the pattern didn’t look nearly as beautiful as it could’ve had the stitches been the right side. But you know, I am a loose knitter so it is probably more like a size 4. I could also see that the shawl spanned the width of the bed. None of my previous shawls did that. I had taken care to pull out the points along the edge but maintain the triangle shape as in the past I’d ended up with a more curved triangle that leaned toward my left arm instead of hanging nicely down to a point.

This morning The Boyfriend’s alarm went off at 5am. Try as we might, Isitt and I just couldn’t go back to sleep. So I unpinned the shawl from the guest bed. Moment of truth. It fit me just like the picture!!! No this can’t be right. I ran to the bathroom to check in the mirror. Yes, the point hits my waist. Or if I wrap it around my neck the ends hang down well to the sides. Plenty long. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! My faith in shawls is restored. Overall I’d say the shawl is pretty. You can clearly see the lace details. It is symmetrically blocked so the point hangs down nice and straight. It is very light and airy having the perfect weight yarn. The cashmere blend is soft and pleasant to the touch and neck. I will be proud to give this gift. I will not however knit another shawl anytime soon. While I’m pleased to say that I can knit lace, I’m not overwhelmed by the return on investment. Give me sweaters and socks!

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