Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Fountain Pen Shawl, Finished

Fountain Aster
Pattern: Fountain Pen Shawl, by Susan Lawrence, Interweave Knits Spring 2009
Yarn: Handspun 80% merino, 20% silk (worsted spun, 2-ply)
Needles: 4.5mm Addi Turbo Lace (120cm length)
Cast On: June 2009
Bound Off: February 20, 2010
Finished length at centre: preblocked - 34.5" / blocked - 50"
Ths pattern calls for 11 repeats in total. I didn't have enough yarn for 11 repeats, so I ended up with 9 plus the border.

I love the pretty pointies.

Blocking wires make this all so much easier. My friend and my mum and I made a set a few years ago for, practically, tuppence. Just a few stainless welding wires and a poster tube. How many hours has this saved us? Innumerable.

Colour not quite true, in any of these pictures. Darker than the sunlit shots, and lighter than the blocking shot.

Getting all arty with my crocii.

I usually do this thing with the trees and the grass and the points of lace, and I don't see any reason to stop now. In the absence of a good camera and a keen-eyed photographer, we have to settle for nature's spartan glories.

Drapey goodness.

See? The grass, the tree, the shadow of winter you're all meant to sigh "how beautiful! How understated!".

From the wheel it was born, and to the wheel it has returned.*
And that, my friends, is the story of how my first spinning became finished knitting.

I'm so proud of this project, because it is a study in gruelling hard work and perseverance. I had bought the roving before I even had a wheel or knew how to spin, on the advice of a sheep-show vendor who, when I asked her whether it would be too much for a beginner to handle, said "I'd go for it. I'm a both-feet-in kind of person."

So am I, I thought, and I went for it too. At times I was so frustrated I wanted to burn the lot, but I set my teeth and grimly carried on, drafting all wrong, overtwisting, underplying, stripping the roving down to a frayed and frazzled thing....and ended up with 1010 meters of ropy yarn experiment. But it was the weight I was shooting for, and it was an incredibly valuable learning experience.

As dubious as the finished yarn was, I picked a pattern, cast on, and worked on that sucker til it was done. My hands hurt (did I mention "ropy"? I think so.) and I had to rip it out twice, but it is finished and blocked and ready to wear.

And I have a little list going, of mistakes I'll not make again.

Thanks for your patience on the knitting posts. And, hey! This is the first one in..............oh my gosh. I just checked. LONG TIME.

Anyway, Carry On! I shall be back soon, with more of something-or-other.

* Shit. Remind me not to drape my lace over my spinning wheel in the name of artistic photography. It got caught on a hook. ("The bolt of Tash falls from above!")


kate said...

Perseverance wins the day. And I sighed most appropriately at the photos.

Well done.

Valerie said...

Lovely!! The color, the yarn, the knitting, the pattern....certainly a gold medal on this one!

stitchin' girl said...

That is simply lovely! What an accomplishment.

Dave Hingsburger said...

you said 'poop'

Ames said...

"How beautiful! How understated!"

Lovely. Lovely.

Geek Knitter said...

Oooooh, lovely!

Rona said...

Ohh very nice indeed!!

Annalea said...

Stunning. In a "what-was-that-that-just-knocked-me-out-it-was-so-understated" kind of way. ;o)

And I love Narnia. Heheheh . . . "the bolt of Tash falls from above", indeed! :o)

I would post knitting stuff, but, ummm . . . I haven't been knitting. Hmmm. Need to fix that.

Have a great week! (Wearing your beautiful shawl, too. Sometimes I think I need to finish a shawl just so I can wear it to church, where it's freeeeezing, even for young, fairly hot-blooded me.)

Cynthia said...

Does it sometimes get stuck on a hook halfway?

Emily said...

Having just leapt with both feet into a sewing pattern way outside my comfort zone/skill level, I soooo relate. Sometimes gritting your teeth and soldiering on is the only way. In any case, this turned out stunning! Well done.

bethro said...

Stunning. I imagine there is a swelling of pride in your bosom.

Gena said...

I love it! The pattern and yarn work together perfectly!

tea and cake said...

Wow, this is beautiful! And, you made me laugh, thank you!

lizbon said...

Um, WOW.

Reminds me of the tale (possibly apocryphal?) in Under the Tuscan Sun, where the lovely Italian gent says they built railroad tracks in the Alps (Dolomites?) before there was even a train that could make the trip. They built them anyway, because they had faith that one day the train would come.

Anonymous said...

Major, major congratulations - what a project! Beautiful result, lovely photos. And love your creativity on the set of blocking wires, too.
- Beth in Toronto

Gwen said...

Good one.

karen said...

Ahhhhh, the most beautiful shawl in the WORLD!! And, I for one, know that it will be well worn and loved!
Way to go - it IS beautiful. Simply a triumph.
Hey, when are we gonna have coffee and have a chance to admire it under some cafe lights?