Sunday, 25 July 2010

Good news, bad news, good news, bad news...

After the success of Maia I thought I'd try another shawl shape - a crescent.  The Annis pattern from Knitty had caught my eye so I picked out some gorgeous yellow-y gold-y Posh Yarn Eva lace weight from the stash and cast on.

The good news - the shawl knits up very quickly.  You cast on 360ish stitches, knit 15 long rows and then decrease around 100 stitches over 3 rows.  You then  finish up the shawl with a bit of zen short row knitting to give the crescent shape and heh presto you are done.

The bad news - well, even as I cast on (using a larger needle as recommended by the pattern) I was concerned that it wasn't going to be stretchy enough to give my nice points along the edge.  And it definitely wasn't. It was difficult to get the points to be pointy during blocking. If I were to make another one I'd replace the cast on with the cast on used on Ene's Shawl or any of the shawls in Estonian Lace Knitting. (Basically, holding the yarn double you cast on with a knitted cast on.)

More good news - the crescent shape is great.  Very wearable.  Sits nicely on the shoulders, and can be worn a number of ways.

Final bad news - although the colour of the yarn is gorgeous and I like the shape- I'm not in love with the finished shawl.  (I do like the pointy bits to be pointy and these just aren't.) 

I may frog it and try another crescent shaped shawl with the same yarn (or maybe this pattern with a different cast on) .

Friday, 9 July 2010

Maia for Mairi

Within almost minutes of the Wedding Ring Shawl being blocked I stumbled across a pattern that I just had to cast on.  Maia  - a shoulder shawl designed by the very talented Romi.  Romi also makes gorgeous shawl pins -- a few of which you might have seen on this very blog.

The shoulderette (as Romi calls it) is a perfect size for wearing over sun dresses on cool summer evenings, covering the shoulders but not taking over the outfit.

Within seconds of discovering Maia (which I've since found out had only been released 2 days before) I found the perfect yarn - a beautiful moss green Handmaiden Sea Silk I bought a couple of years ago. 

And as soon as I found the yarn, I knew that the shoulderette was destined for my friend Mairi.  It's her style and definitely her colour. 

The project worked up quite quickly, with only two niggles. 
1. There was a teeny weeny voice in the back of my head saying "heh - you do know you have to finish Gen's sweater by next Wednesday right?" and "You aren't even finished the back yet."
2.  I wasn't convinced I had enough yarn.

The teeny weeny voice never really went away, but I'm pretty good at ignoring it.

The yarn situation -- well when I cast off the last stitch I had 3 inches of yarn left. Just enough to weave in.  Here's a pre-blocking picture and you can see the last little bit of yarn in the bottom right hand corner.

If that doesn't prove that this project, with this yarn was meant to be - I don't know what does.

I really like the finished piece.  It drapes beautifully, thanks in part to the gorgeous Sea Silk but also due to the clever design and shape.  It sits on the shoulders nicely and the length is perfect. 

I knit this on 3.75mm needles, with EXACTLY 100gm of Handmaiden Sea Silk.  I gave it to Mairi today and her reaction made it clear she agreed it was the perfect project, with the perfect yarn for her.

Now.....this weekend I better get back to Gen's birthday present or that teeny weeny voice is going to take over!

Sunday, 4 July 2010


If you take one knitter with a set of 2mm needles and giver her just under 3 km of gossamer Cash Silk laceweight , add a few audio books (Brideshead Revisited, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities and Little Dorrit) and mix in a few World Cup football matches (apologies again to all England fans) you could get one of these.

The Wedding Ring Shawl (designed by Sharon Miller).

In it's pre-blocked state it was a sizeable 4 feet by 4 feet.  Blocking took it to just under 6 feet square. 

As I discovered when I blocked the Blob last year I'm too old to be faffing about blocking things on the floor.  So a couple of months ago when I saw these square foam pieces on sale I picked some up - and they've transformed the process! 

These squares are each 2ft by 2ft and about 3/4 inch thick.  I put the foam pieces together on my dining table was able to block the shawl easily in record time.

As always the moment when I freed the shawl from the pins was a little magical.  The shawl is light and delicate and I wish that I had the skill to capture that in a photograph.

Of course this is the Wedding Ring Shawl so 'the test' was necessary. 

I ran into a hurdle here - I don't own a wedding ring and although my neigbbhours are lovely, I'm not convinced that my asking to borrow a wedding ring for an hour wouldn't step over the 'neighbourly' line.

Not being a great jewellery wearer myself I didn't have many alternatives to choose from - but eventually found a suitable substitute (well, it's a ring) and tentatively began to pull the end through the ring.

I pulled it through carefully and slowly.  And hurrah!  It worked!

The shawl lives up to its name.   (Well, I guess more accurately it lives up to the name 'Cheap Fashion Ring Shawl' - but that's almost the same.  A rose by any other name and all that....)

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Look - it's becoming more photogenic with each edging repeat!

No time to say more - I've got 90 minutes free before Thursday pizza and gossip with the goddaughter -- need to get knitting!