Sunday, September 28, 2008

How Come No One Told Me...

... that blocking lace is such a pain in the butt?

I can see that if I'm going to do much lace knitting, I'm going to need blocking wires.

No one also told me not to try to block a lace shawl late in the evening, after a marathon 8 hour lace-knitting session. I won't be doing that again.

But.... ta da!!! Swallowtail is done! And she is beautiful, though my heart stopped when I got it all pinned out on the living room rug and saw The Hole (see the *before* pic on the red leather chair- I don't think I need to Paint in an arrow). However, rather than run screaming into the night (which would usually be my first response), I calmly pinned the spot to keep the sts from unraveling further, and decided to think about it in the morning.

I thought about it this morning, and after examining The Hole, I realized that it wasn't as dire as I suspected. Yes, there was an unravel, but it was YO unravel, which only cost me 3 sts. And if there is such a thing as a lucky mistake, this one was lucky because it could not continue down (or up) the shawl, or do further damage. I threaded yarn in a darning needle, and chain-stitch embroidered the stitches back into place (see the *after* pic on the green chair). It's not an invisible fix (and there are other mistakes, all visible, but I'm not fooling with them), and Swallowtail is absolutely not competition worthy, but it looks fine. And if I don't point The Repaired Hole out to people, I daresay, no one will see it (except Astute Blog Readers, but I'm pointing it out to you anyway).

For a very first real lace project, I am quite pleased. The shawl itself is really too small to be anything but a neck decoration, but the next time I need a snazzy neck decoration, I'll be set. I had a hard time getting the subtle color changes (periwinkle, blue, green) to show up in the pictures. The unblocked, and outdoor shot are the best.

Stats: Pattern: Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Shawl

Yarn: Handspun laceweight domestic wool, 2 ply, Hydrangea colorway, Roving from A Knitted Duck

Amount used: 315 yards (I would have used more if I had done the Nupps, rather than beads)

Weight of Finished Shawl: 2.8 ozs (.4 ozs are beads)
Measurements: 45" wide, 24" long at the center

Needles: Size 4 us (3.5 mm)
And yeah, I'm going to knit more lace. But first, I should (need to) finish Genevieve's Graduation Sweater. Wonder if I'll actually work on it today...


Karen said... pretty! And yeah, mine is full of mistakes too, but that's cool with me because the pattern (plus the colour variegation) kind of hides them. Good thinking re. fixing that hole -- I suspect I would have freaked and run away screaming.
Anyway, wear it in good health!

Stacy said...

Looks great!!

Missy said...

That is beautiful. I can't believe that you are done already. Your needles must fly threw the air. Do you knit while you are sleeping? Cause that's cheating my dear!

RuthieJ said...

Your shawl turned out beautifully Kathleen--I really like the beads you added.
I knitted the Swallowtail Shawl a couple winters ago in black Alpaca. It turned out really nice but it was a "daytime only-knitting in a sunny window" project.

pat said...

Gorgeous shawl - I actually just pulled mine out and put it over my shoulders last night!
Nice job on the fix up!!

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Swallowtail sure is gorgeous in your handspun! Just plain beautiful! I liked reading the 7 facts about you! I find people to be infinitely fascinating. You should keep writing fiction! I loved reading your mysteries!

Deborah said...

I enjoyed reading your 7 things (I'm a lefty too) and I love the shawl. I love the shawl because it's your first time knitting lace and it has mistakes...I'm afraid of lace. I have some in my stash and it keeps me up nights (joke) Your post showed me that even with mistakes it looks beautiful!

Kathleen Taylor said...

Thanks everyone! And Deborah- there are mistakes in everything I do (I never had to make them on purpose, in The Amish Way of Keeping Things Not Perfect). This shawl was a total learning process for me- the most importat was *seeing* the pattern as I knit, and then being able to correct, or at least gloss over, mistakes as I found them. The shawl would never pass muster in a competition, but I have no compunction about showing it off, or giving it away (if I can bear to). Damn the mistakes, full speed ahead!

Алиса said...

Gray is - too nice!