Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sense of Accomplishment, Part II

"I consider lace to be one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature; lace always evokes for me those incomparable designs which the branches and leaves of trees embroider across the sky, and I do not think that any invention of the human spirit could have a more graceful or precise origin."
- Coco Chanel, April 29, 1939


A few months ago, I was talking to my sister on the phone. "I think I'll make this," I said to her, emailing her the link to Eunny's Print 'o the Wave pattern.

She opened the pattern. There was a surprised silence, then "Can you DO that?" she asked.

Yes, it turns out I can.

Print o' the Wave
Pattern: free download by Eunny Jang
Yarn: 1.5 skeins Island Hues (by Sweatermaker) 100% merino handpainted laceweight, 800 metres per 100 grams. Two different dyelots but they work together.
Yarn Source: Fun Knits, Quadra Island. Thanks again, Shelley.
Yarn Cost: $35 for both skeins, of which I used less than 1.5. So about $25.
Needle: 3.5mm Clover Takumi bamboo circular, and 3.5mm Addi Turbo Lace
Cast On: August 12, 2007
Bound off: December 14, 2007
Finished Dimensions: 97" long, 27" wide after an aggressive blocking.
  • The centre panel of this stole just FLEW BY. I think I got it done in just a couple of weeks. But the edging felt so very, very slow. I had trouble memorizing the edging pattern - my brain wanted the repeat to start and end on what was actually row 9, so I kept over-increasing and had to rip back a repeat about 10 times in total. However, I took a break from the shawl when I was waiting for more yarn, and when I came back to it I had no trouble with the edging. It was just a mental block.

  • The fact that I ran out of yarn was so frustrating. If you're thinking of knitting this stole, you should be aware that the pattern calls for 800 yards of laceweight yarn, and I ended up using about 1200 or 1300 - not sure yet exactly what the amount. I had bought the skein of Island Hues thinking it would work because it contained 880 yards. When I had to buy more yarn it was a serious problem - it was handpainted and couldn't be matched. I think the problem is that Eunny created her original version in cobweb weight, so the yardage she specifies for the laceweight was just an estimate on her part. Just keep it in mind if you're queueing this project.

  • I knit the centre panel differently than Eunny suggests in the pattern. She directs you to knit both sides from a provisional cast-on, then graft the ends (what would be the cast-off) together to form the centre back. Instead, I knit the first half from the provisional cast-on, then started from the same cast-on edge to knit the second half. The knitting flows in a different direction to Eunny's, therefore. She was trying to achieve the look of waves flowing down each waves run UP, unless your eye perceives the openwork as the waves, in which case they run down. It's all in how you look at it, and since this is my first lace project and I think it's pretty, I'm not going to torture myself about it.

  • I blocked this shawl very, very aggressively. I soaked it in wool wash for over 30 minutes, then pinned it out until it was so taut it was barely touching the towel underneath. I wasn't consciously trying to maximize the length, but the shawl seemed to want to go long, so I let it Go Long. I did have to re-wet it with a spray bottle numerous times during the blocking process as it had already dried.

  • The Island Hues yarn is beautiful. It's light, soft, and divinely coloured. I did have a few felting moments while knitting the edging on, when the stitches I was working toward got a bit fuzzy and tight. It wasn't a problem, though, and when looking at the finished piece you can't tell at all. The yarn, once blocked, developed a slight patina that I love...hard to see in the pictures but in the flashed shots you can catch a glimpse of it.

  • There are some errors in the edging chart - not a major problem since they are well-documented, but again, if you're planning to knit it, just check first.

I had no model, and had to make do with the timer on my camera, but at least you can see the width here. Shoulders to hips with ease.

There has not been an abundance of natural light here in mid-December in the temperate rainforest, but I don't like the flash: it makes everything appear so prosaic. So, as usual, I took some unflashed pictures: I much prefer them. They may not represent the colour as well, but they capture the lightness and drape, the tactile pleasure of the piece, so much better.

I loved doing this project. I'm so looking forward to doing another lace piece. The knitting is much easier than it appears - the satisfaction of building row after row of a chart, watching the space and direction emerge under your satisfying. And it looks all well and good, until you soak and block it - then it becomes breathtaking.


Thank you for your comments on my Dad's Aran, by the way - it was a pleasure to knit and I'm glad you all like it. I'm partial, myself. Just two days ago I was at my parents' house and he remarked that it was time he had another sweater.....hee hee!


Stace' said...

Friday I had to go to the hospital for some testing. It didn't look good, and on the way home, feeling a bit devistated, and scared, I was looking for the good in it all. I kid you not, I was thinking "well, if I'm truly sick, maybe Shan will knit me something lovely".

I talked with a Dr. later that day who assured me that I need not fear. Once I decompressed, I had to chuckle at myself for looking for the silver lining, and what I found it to be.

Beautiful work!! I know I've said it before, but you absolutely amaze me!

Olga said...

oooolala! What word of praise can I give? I think you cornered the market with the sweater and now the shawl. Oh my. Magic.

Shan said...

Stace, you are a wise woman with excellent priorities.

And thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! That is breathtaking, the only word for it. It's the kind of project you bring out when anyone, knitters and non-knitters alike, comes over and make them hold it.

PS-I can't figure out why, but I am unable to put my url in the comment field. Tips?

Shan said...

bethro, I have no idea why. I just went into Blogger and changed some comment settings but I dunno why no url...maybe you need a Google/blogger ID? I'll do some more poking around.

Penny said...

Both this and the Aran jumper are stunning. And so different in style.

Ames said...

Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

Heather said...

beautiful! i cant wait to hear what those around you say. when i finished and blocked my first lace, all of a sudden i gained a lil more talent in the eyes of family. :-)

i am the trophy-less child who also cant clap and sing at the same time.

Tabatha said...

Lovely. OMG Lovely. It is a thing of beauty. Great job O Amazing One.

Kris said...

You've outdone yourself. I'm impressed at how well it turned out.

Kate said...

gorgeous baby, gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Holy freaking cow!

knititch said...

amazing lace. isn't it just fun. especially the blocking part is kind of a revelation.

Cynthia said...

Very pretty. It makes me want to get back to my really-just-about-done shawl ... right after Christmas.

And I love the sheen in the yarn.

Dropstitchknitter said...

It's just beautiful!!! I love the color, too!

Jenny said...

Merry Christmas Shan!!! Hope you are enjoying the holidays!!!