I actually had to look at my photo albums to see if there was anything I made recently that I hadn't posted about! I got caught up last week because I had no vehicle to go anywhere in the afternoons, LOL. I did make a giant sized cloth diaper and a ring sling last week, but I'm sure you don't need to see them. I made two dresses early in the summer and you really don't need to see them. I did some baby booties over the last week or so, but they're not quite finished and I want to re-write the pattern so I can post it too. That leaves the one ginormous project that I did finally finish.
Falling Leaves Fichu (...leaves...LOL).
According to Ravelry, I started this July 10th. I had been inspired a couple summers ago by 3 fichu patterns in an issue of Knitters. They had been based on fichu's from "Victorian Knitting Today". I didn't really care for any of the lace patterns they showed, but felt pretty confident that I could figure something out on my own. I studied lace shawls that I liked, and realized that I didn't like it when stitches in each partial pattern repeat at the start and ends of rows were knit in stockinette stitch. I liked designs which seemed to emerge right from the increase lines, such as Flower Basket Shawl or Heartland Lace Shawl (look at that...they're both by Evelyn Clark!). So I knew I needed a pattern that had a diagonal element. There was this one in a stitch pattern book that I had always liked, "Falling Leaves". It was bold, graphic, and not too fussy. It took some careful consideration to figure out where to start the shawl in the pattern, and I did have some complications along the sides at times, where there were double decreases. It didn't remain symmetrical along the increase lines, but as I'm not about to publish this, I just wanted to get it knitted up. The yarn is, I think, Handmaiden Fine Yarns, "Angel Hair"; 70% mohair (not curly), 30% nylon, 875yds for 100grams. I can't find the label right now, but I do remember how long it took me to wind it up! I bought it at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair, Sept. 2005. I was very pregnant with Meg, Handmaiden and Fleece Artist were all the rage and selling out, and I really wanted something to make a nursing shawl for the new fall baby. This skein literally fell on me in a booth...it had fallen off the table and someone from the booth on the other side of the curtain just dropped it over the curtain, landing in front of me. I took that as a sign, esp. when the lady next to me said it would look great on me. I quickly got started on a nursing shawl. A rectangular stole in a fairly easy lace pattern....yards and yards of an easy pattern....Meg soon came along and I was not half-way done. I quickly realized that a mohair shawl would not play well with a nursing pillow that had velcro on it. I had never used a shawl to nurse before, why now. It sat for a long time....I got it out to take a picture at the last "new" house, just as I decided to give up on it. What I thought would be a mindless knit ended up driving me crazy for it's mindlessness!
The patterns in Victorian Knitting took a variety of yardages, and I was uncertain about how big this would turn out, as I didn't seem to have a huge amount. I thought about doing the last shawl (Sweet Lily) with it, but that one called for 900yd+ (I think) and I thought the mohair would obscure the pattern in the lace section. For the fichu I used uhh...5 or 5.5mm needles and it was fairly open before blocking. As it got huge, I started a second needle. I'd knit from one needle, onto the second one, instead of using both to hold 1/2 of each row. At some point, I stopped the increases as I figured it was full enough. I could have stopped a lot sooner! This thing is huge. It's definitely a "wrap up in it" sort of thing. I had once considered using it to make a sweater but didn't think I'd have enough. Oh, I would have for sure!
I had wanted some sort of edging, but it's hard to know when to start that, and I wanted to finish up the last pattern repeat I had started. Ideally, I should have ripped that out, and done the edging from then. Hindsight...
As it was, I was unsure if I would have enough to cast off. On the last row, I took my remaining yarn and tied a little knot in the middle. I did get to the end of the row before the knot...but barely. I knew I needed to cast off loosely and really had no clue if that would take more or less than knitting a row of lace. I went down to my stash, and found a ball of elann.com yarn, Highland Aran, I think. It was 3 ply, and a single ply was just about perfect. I'd cast off loosely, untwisting the plies, until it got unmanageable. Then I'd cut it, and start with one of the two plies left. Repeat again with the 3rd ply when I got to the point where the other two had been cut. Repeat the whole process again. Once I had it all cast off, I wove the mohair yarn over the cast off edge, loosely, going from one edge to the other, and then I pressed my luck and came back again. I BARELY made it to the first edge. Then, I thought, what I should have done was cut off the last of the mohair, find the middle of the piece and start weaving it from the middle of the shawl outwards to each edge. That way if I ran out, each side would still match. Anyway, doing this did make the cast off edge blend in better, and provided a nice finish with a bit of oomph. I should have beaded that bit of mohair....LOL.
It was impossible to block. I initially wanted to block it into points, but I didn't have enough room. And the sides...it is a BIG shawl. I washed it gently, stretched it out as best I could, then folded the sides over to keep everything lined up nicely, and pulled it as best as I could into a good shape. The next day I picked it up. It felt almost dry, so I shook it to It's warm and fuzzy and almost like wearing a mini-afghan. I think I got a perfect combination of colour, pattern, and design!