Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's just the power to charm

It's a birthday scarf for my sister. It was intended for her birthday in February 2006 and delivered one day before her birthday in February 2007. I was suddenly very motivated to get it to her.

At the time of her birthday last year I was still working on my Kiri and had recently finished the grey mohair stole for our other sister. I was in love with lace, especially mohair-y lace, and I don't think I'm even over it yet.

She wasn’t really excited about the multicoloured lace-weight I had chosen, (and now I know more about the challenges of combining variegated wool and lace patterns, that seems like a blessing), and I was happy to swap it back into the stash and shop for something else with her. After some time we settled on Cleckheaton studio mohair. It was a thicker yarn than I had intended but it was the colour she really wanted. She knew she wanted a rectangular scarf, and after a long off-and-on period of pattern hunting, we settled on Eunny Jang’s Print o’ the wave stole. She really liked the centre motif but wasn’t entirely sure about the edging. Well, not the edging per se, but the way it would complicate the overall look. I thought I would get on with the middle part and worry about that later.

The actual knitting went pretty quickly on 6mm needles with only 48 stitches (because of the bigger gauge I didn't do the full width as written). But there were long periods of stuffing around / thinking / consultation. How long to keep going depended on whether the edging was to be added. I was nervous about it but also keen to give it a go. It would have been my most complicated lace manoeuvre yet.

I have to admit it was a relief when my sister decided she liked it without any edging. In the end, each half of the scarf was 12 repeats of the chart. I was hard-core enough to obey the pattern when it calls for knitting the scarf in two pieces and grafting them together, so that the waves cascade out from the centre. I think it would look perfectly lovely all in one piece, but once again I wasn't going to let myself off the hook. I had grafted once or twice before, doing a pretty terrible job, and this time I forced myself to practice on a swatch till I got it right. Even so, my first try on the real thing had to be pulled out and done again, as towards the end I realised I had many more stitches left on one piece than the other. It started to look this way about halfway across or maybe even sooner, but did I stop and count? No, I kept going and hoped for the best. Sigh. Getting the failed grafting out and the stitches back on the needles was pretty painful. The second grafting attempt actually worked though.

Knitting the second half I went to 12 repeats plus 5 extra rows, thanks to Mason-Dixon Ann pointing out that the pattern doesn't match up too well in the middle. The 5 extra rows seemed to help make it flow better, although there is still an obvious line.

Anyway D seems really happy with it, and I really like it too. It would have been a totally different scarf / shawl with the edging. The way it is, just a big 'chunk' of large gauge lace, looks good and really suits her. Shetland purists might not be too impressed, but there's something more modern about it that I quite like.


Bells said...

olivia it's beautiful. So much of what you do is just gorgeous. I think it works really well without the edging, too. The edging might have detracted from the simple beauty of the panel as it is. Good work!

amy said...

I think it's beautiful, too. I love seeing others' projects that are so different from my own. I don't think I'll attempt anything like this for a long, long time, so I am just all admiration!

Taphophile said...

You have done a wonderful job - it's great. I'm a big fan of the Studio Mohair but it is a bugger to unravel. With such a colour the edging would have been a bit prissy. As it is it's strong as well as light and lacy. Well done. :)

Rose Red said...

I love this - the colour is gorgeous and I think it looks fabulous without the edging. Your sister is very lucky!

sister said...

Yes I am very lucky indeed. It's so bright and long enough to wrap around a few times and I looooove the pretty lace pattern. It's especially nice to wear something my sister put so much thought and time into. Handmade items are so precious. Thanks Liv. xx

Georgie said...

Its stunning Olivia, the colour, yarn and pattern have all come together beautifully. I like it without the edging too, great job!

Anonymous said...

Liv, you're doing such beautiful things. And you've written up the experience so well - I can see you're an incredible encouragement to others too. Keep going. I think you're just wonderful! Ma

Kuka said...

I love this too Liv!
And great pics too - it looks so soft =)