Monday, September 01, 2008

Circle Mutable

Cap Shawl
From Victoria Lace Today
by Jane Sowerby
The Ravelry entry for this shawl is here.

Cast On: January 3, 2008
Bound Off: August 30, 2008
Finished Size: 99"
Weight and Yardage: 178 grams, 1958 yards ETA: A Raveller has calculated there are 89,214 stitches in the Cap Shawl. That's a lot......a lot of stitches.
Tension: ?
Needle: 4.5mm bamboo circular
Yarn: 3.2 balls Fiddlesticks Zephyr 50% silk, 50% merino, colour Ruby, 630 yds/2 oz (~56 g)
Yarn Source: Village Yarns, Cumberland, BC
Yarn Cost: $64
The pattern does not use directional decreases: that is, all the decreases are k2tog, even when the lace is sloping left. I used the left-leaning SSK decrease when called for as I felt it created a less choppy, more elegant line in the left branches of the crest o' the wave section.

A word on blocking circular lace. What you want to do is this: take a huge sheet, folded 4 times and centre marked, and pin it flat to a carpet. Pin a measuring tape at the centre, or you could use string, and hold a fabric marker at approximately the radius measurement of your desired finished size. Mark a perfect circle. Block to the circle, or to a consistent distance away from it. Circle perfection, and no irritating measuring and repinning.

Also, use blocking wires.

At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this shawl. I wish it were a bit more complicated, both because I was bored while knitting it, and because I like intricate lace. However, the sheer size of this mammoth shawl makes it impressive.

As to wearing it, as Annalea asked yesterday, I think it will do well with the top third folded down. It will still overlap a lot in front, but I think it'll be okay. The real problem will be storing it. I don't necessarily want it folded up somewhere between layers of tissue, but because it's a circle there's no good way to display it, unless I want to run a bunch of pins into my wall. Anyway my walls are not big enough to accommodate it - I only have an 8 foot ceiling. I guess I could buy a 100" curtain rod and hang it, in half, from that...we'll see.

Practical considerations notwithstanding, I am in love, sweet sweet love, with this shawl. You can tell by the fact that when I went to put all the photos from the memory card onto the laptop, Photoshop told me I had taken 83 pictures of my shawl. News to me.

Here are some of them, with grateful thanks to the beautiful, angelic Jen for being a good sport and modelling for me. Do click on the pictures, as they look much better when bigger.

It was quite a windy day here, and the beach seemed perfect, but it did prove a little tricky to get photos that were even moderately well focussed.

I like the motion shots though.

After a half-hour at the beach, I went home and played around in the shrubbery, lying on the grass and crouching awkwardly trying not to get the neighbour's house in the shots. I was hoping someone would notice me and come over and exclaim over the shawl, but no one did.

Yes, for you I hung my brand-new lace on two apple trees and a rhododendron...

...and let it drag on grass.

Herb garden fence, ornamented.

Thanks for all your wonderful comments yesterday. I just meant that post to be a blocking update, so I hope you can summon up the will to comment again today, on the very same piece of knitting...I like comments.


tara said...

Absolutely gorgeous, Shan! Beautiful execution, and some lovely photos as well.

YTT said...

What a gorgeous, gorgeous thing.
If it were mine I would find excuses to carry it around constantly, wrapped in various ways around my body.

Or how about a white bedspread over which you could drape it across your bed?

Or you could send it to someone six feet tall who would be able to show off more of its length... Hey, I'm six feet tall. What a coincidence. Mailing address on request. :-)

dropstitchknitter said...

Gorgeous - I can see why you love it - and the photo's are wonderful - I love how creative you were with taking the shots.

Jo said...

Shan, I can't get over how beautiful it is - thr ruby colour is so lovely. My favourite shot is the one directly below the driftwood shot.

Gwen said...

Absolutely beautiful! Great work. Your friend is a total hottie, too.

Ames said...

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

kate said...

I think what I love most is the juxtaposition between the enormity of the whole shawl and the delicateness of the yarn and pattern.

Simple elegance.

Brenda said...

Wow, such an elegant creation, Victorian yet modern at the same time! Love all the pictures too.

Annalea said...

When I saw that first photo, I thought it was from the book. (I've only seen the cover. ;o)

Lovely photos (I especially like the garden fence shot with the beautiful lacy shadow), and lovely lacework!

I'm curious . . . in the photo with a bit of windblown shawl on the left and a pebbly beach beneath, which land is that in the distance?

Okay . . . time to go be useful. (Even though I really want to go block my silly little shawl. ;o)

Lovely, lovely knitting! (Hmmmm . . . I seem to like "lovely" today. lol)

Susie Hewer said...

Now those are my kind of photos. It looks fab in the garden and I can just imagine it suspended from trees like a giant spider's web.

The colour is gorgeous too and you have knitted it so well. I have the book too and am toying with starting a shawl for my neighbour's birthday.

I'd love to see how you wear it. It would look very glamourous for evening wear, especially if you turned part over like a collar and secured it with a pretty brooch at the front.

Lovely work.

Anonymous said...

It looks absolutely enchanting - good work with the photography. I'm not surprised at your picture count, especially if wind made it hard to get it in focus. So delicate - does this mean you'll need to be careful that a brooch doesn't weight it down?
- Beth

maryanne in pgh said...

I follow and love your Uncle Dave's blog and from there linked to your blog - and oh what a gift. I'm firmly middle-aged and a beginning knitter and _totally_ enjoy your knitting and reading exploits.
You're right about clicking on the larger versions of the photos - my fave is the herb garden one with the exquisite shadow.

Anonymous said...

What an exquisite, charming, elegant,fantastic, superb shawl. Well done
Yes, I looked up the thesaurus...

Helen in New Zealand

Shan said...

Thank you so much, guys!

YTT: An interesting offer...but I am 5'9" and I can wear 3" heels. :P

Beth, the brooch would go through the shawl and shirt, combined. The shirt would bear the weight of the pin.

Maryanne, thanks...that means a lot to me.

rolla-cameron said...

What a beautiful peice you have created!

I can only aspired to be half as talented as you are.

Bethro said...

The shawl couldn't be more beautiful! It is a piece of knitting you should make visitors examine intricately, whether they want to or not (although, who wouldn't?).

Karen S said...

It's not hard to summon the comment spirit when presented with such a beauty! I'll repeat... brain in overload due to presense of awsome knitting!!!

Rachel said...

Well, I missed the blocking posts (and wow, that definitely is a 'seriously''s huge!), so you'll just get a comment here! It looks amazing. You did a fabulous job on both the shawl and the photos! A thing of beauty!

lizbon said...

Oh my gawd, I just saw this. That'll teach me to slack off on blog reading on weekends. Stunning. Absolutely rock-to-head stunning.


mel said...

*sigh* That is a stunningly beautiful piece of knitting. Congratulations!!

Knitsonya said...

Holy Mother of Meg Swansen! That is such a beautiful thing! Beautiful! Beautiful! Smitten Shawl kitten indeed!!!

Tabatha said...

Oh it is so very very beautiful! I love it!!