Thursday, June 9, 2011

Been knitting

I purchased the yarn* for this project in January, at a store on the Westside, when my friend was out visiting from WDC and wanted to get (back, properly) into knitting.  I hardly have anything pink in my wardrobe, so I thought: whynot?

The cast-on happened during the February trip to Japan, and it was slow going since then.  It came along on my daily train commute, but I was distracted for weeks with very interesting books.  Once I picked it up again, though, the pattern came out effortlessly (so easy to remember!).  Sure, it doesn't hurt that this is something like my fourth Swallowtail Shawl [pdf]; what can I say?  It's a great pattern.  So great that I want one for myself.  (I've knitted about at least a half dozen shawls and have nothing to show for it; they were all gifts!) Not everyone likes them, but I think the "nupps" give the lily-of-the-valley pattern a lot of texture and pop -- and it's kinda fun to say, "Nupps."

So if you've ever knit a shawl, you know that although the pattern looks complicated, the symmetry lets you know immediately if you've made a mistake, meaning you can correct it immediately (instead of five rows later).  I decided to take advantage of the symmetry during the blocking process.  Not only would I ensure that both halves would be the same size, I'd end up using only half as many pins.  What's not to love about that?!  It was actually fun to see both halves line up so perfectly on top of one another:

I finished this right around the Memorial Day weekend, and have worn it a few times.  It's light, floaty, and very warm -- which is especially handy during these days of fluctuating weather and against the blast of A/C on the train.  The pink adds a girly touch to my wardrobe of mostly greys and blacks and jeans.

Now that I'm done, my hands are itchy to be at needle and yarn again.  What shall I knit next? 


*Classic Elite Yarns, Silky Alpaca Lace (70% alpaca, 30% silk) in the sale bin

** I wanted a slightly larger shawl than the original (in Misti Alpaca lace and US4 needles), so I added one stitch on each end to make a three-stitch garter border, and used US5 needles.  Ended up using about 95% of the yarn -- booyah!


  1. That shawl looks fabulous! I can't believe how many shawls you've made. Lace terrifies me—so much potential (in my case, reality!) for error. Any suggestions for knitting a lace project without going insane?

  2. You CAN knit lace! I suggest finding a pattern you like (there are a lot of free ones these days) and knitting it in a fingering weight or even up to worsted, just so the yarn itself is easier to manage. Most patterns are charted, which helps, too. Using circular needles helps if these are on-the-go projects. Other helps include prolific positioning of stitch markers and threading "life lines" across a row. I've never done either, though; I actually think the geek in you will take a liking to the symmetries inherent to lace patterns. And they are faster going than they appear! Good luck; I can't wait to see what you make, as well as what you think of the making process!

  3. Okay, I have started a shawl. It's the Bird's Nest Shawl from Knitted Shawls ( I am definitely NOT knitting it in the recommended yarn—my budget can't handle cashmere. Instead I'm using two strands of KnitPicks Gloss (wool/silk). It's knit longways, and I've still on the garter-stitch edging. But I do have markers placed to demarcate each repeat (35 in all!), so I'm optimistic that the pattern part will go all right. I shall keep you posted!

  4. Great news and great shawl! It's very brave of you to knit it longways, I'm not sure I could do that. Can't wait to see the progress shots!

    I get to knit a shawl up in cashmere soon -- I'm reincarnating a friend's now too-large sweater. I've had some success at thrifting sweaters, which allows me to knit with high-qual materials without breaking the bank.

  5. Cashmere . . . nice! I hope you'll share progress reports with us!