Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I've been knitting....

...and knitting....and knitting....and it's DONE! DONE! DONE!
Already I'm suffering post-project letdown! But it's in a good way sort of. This project was so huge, it's so wonderful, I almost don't want to give it away. It'd be like giving away the baby, not the blanket the baby's wrapped in.

I started the planning in February. I looked at yarns; I wanted something exquisite, but fairly easy care and not too expensive. I settled on Jaggerspun Zephyr, white, fingering weight. I used 3.5mm needles and I had 10g left of the second ball. There's no yardage on the wrapper, so I'll look it up later. It was 36" pre-blocking, and 44" on the blocking wires (which I bought for this project). I had decided on doing the Kerry Blue Shawl pattern, as I wanted something square, middle outwards, that would allow me to cut it short if time or yarn ran out. But my on-line friend never sent the pattern, so I created my own. The center is "Charlotte Doily" (I'll get the link later). That goes to the edge of the filled in triangles...the first border of YO, K2tog. Then I used Feminine Diamonds, then lace diamonds, then Interlocking Diamonds (all from The Knitter's Bible). See a theme? I started the knitting in early July, and finished the cast off, 10 minutes from home on Dec. 24.
I had allowed the 4 hour drive home from Bancroft to do the cast off. I tried a few things on the way there, and wasn't happy with any of them. I wanted it bobbly, sort of picots. I knew my mom had a crochet hook, so I borrowed it for the trip home. I lost it within the hour, before we even left. So we stopped at V&S Stedmans' (LOVE those stores) and I picked up a new one, 4mm. I started off and liked the picots, but they were too close together, so I started off again. There are 4 sides, 4 hours. And it worked out pretty much exactly :)

Soaked it during dinner (but it didn't come as white as I was expecting), stretched it out after dinner. I wish I had gotten up and gotten a solid colour towel to block it on, because I realized that I could get a good picture from the basement stairs. (Why is it saying the picture has been added, but it's nowhere to be found? It's a .jpg file, only 53KB).

My other lace items have been mostly acrylics. WHAT a difference natural fibers make! I know about the magic of lace blocking from everyone else's websites, but I haven't done anything that took anything more than a trip through the washer and dryer. I don't know if I can knit with acrylic anymore! Seriously. If you've never used a 'good' natural yarn (The Zephyr is 50% wool, 50% silk), buy one ball and try it. Swatch the whole ball; do some lace, do some cables, do some texture knitting. Wet it, pin it out, and let it dry. Unpin, and marvel at how beautiful the stitches look. This will also prove to you that you really need to swatch and block before creating your own patterns with these yarns; if you want it to be a certain size. And of course, you will need to block it every time it's washed, but you probably won't need/want to go to the extent that you do if you're presenting a gift :)
(Again, it won't load the pictures)

And in other areas of my life...are you sick of hearing about my sick kids yet? Boxing Day, 6 hours at the ER with Lucy. Uh Huh. Finally they did a chest x-ray, which was clear, and took blood, which was fine. So now we're dealing with somethingviral. Or Christmas has not happened at all like we planned. And Lucy is standing here beside me freaking that her name is up here, LOL.
I'll try to update with more detail pictures later. I specifically saved the pictures as "Best for Web" but none of them, or other ones I saved, are showing up! Any ideas?


CatBookMom said...

Your shawl is absolutely gorgeous! I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be hoping you'll write up the pattern in a bit more detail. What an accomplishment!

smariek said...

Wow, your shawl is gorgeous! I'm amazed at how much you can do with kids around.

Grace Yaskovic said...

beautiful shawl, I am so inspired!! Blogger sometimes does this, I couldn't put any pictures on my blog for 2 days now!

Lucky Canuck said...

Wow! Seriously, do you ever make anything that is crappy? That is one amazing shawl. It is inspiring me to get off my duff and finish the darned shawl I'm making with the Zephyr using 2 balls of the Ruby shade.

Sandra said...

Don't you just love the Zephyr? I dare you to ever use acrylics again - you've come over to the wool side!
Stunning job.

grumperina said...

That is simply gorgeous! I opened up your entry, and immediately wanted to know - what pattern is that? So beautiful! Extra kudos to you for creating your own :)

Cindy G said...

Wow, Tracy, that is really beautiful. I'm in awe of both design and execution.