Started September 2006, finished May 2007 (stockinette is boring).
Yarn: Lisa Souza laceweight merino in ‘Wild Things’
Pattern: Mim’s Seraphim Shawl
Modifications: first and most obvious, I converted the triangle into a square. What was I thinking?
The pattern called for 800–900yds fingering weight yarn and 3.75mm needles; I used c. 1500yds of laceweight on 2.5mm needles after knitting more stockinette rows to add an extra pattern repeat as compensation for the smaller stitch size. I must have been mad… The pattern gives a blocked size of 72″ point-to-point; mine is 150cm on the diagonal, which is just about fingertip-to-fingertip on me. I could have made it bigger – I’ve got at least 800yds of yarn left – but I wanted something roughly my size.
Joanne, you might want to look away now… 99,940 stitches. This is an accurate estimate, lacking precision only because I know I made some mistakes. We habitually discuss strange stuff during long car journeys. How electricity works, from the electron up. Why that idiot is weaving to and fro across the road. The relative merits of Rhubarb and Gooseberry Fool. On Saturday it occurred to me that, given I know the number of stitches I started with, the number of stitches bound off, and the increase per two rows, it should be possible to calculate the actual number of stitches in the shawl. We forced our memories back into the grade school archives to look for factorials, something I can very dimly remember thinking would never, ever be useful. The number we wanted is (2(8×111!))-16 [because the first row is knitted only once]. The teacher whose name is lost in the mists of time would be proud of me, but the Excel Wizard did the calculation.
Comments: the pattern is a straightforward easy knit, bar the boredom inherent in a lot of stockinette. I am particularly taken with the way Mim’s used different decreases to move from solid stockinette to stockinette ‘islands’ with clearly defined edges to stockinette islands with diffuse edges. Very feathery, very, very clever: you’ll have to buy the pattern to find out precisely what I mean!
I bought the yarn in the first flush of enthusiasm for hand-dyed yarns, not thinking (not even aware) of how colour changes can obscure lace patterning. Thanks to myriad knitblogs, I rapidly became very wary of variable colouring in lace. I considered plain garter stitch (too boring), or some of the simple shawls in Folk Shawls, (classic designs that seemed to me to deserve a plain yarn to show the pattern of the stitches). Then I spotted Seraphim. I squared it because I had the yarn (2500yds), and because it’s to be my comfort blanket. I’ve spent two transatlantic flights huddled under a scratchy grey blanket trying to pretend I’m not crammed into a cigar tube with several hundred other far-from-perfect people. And their children. Now I have a lavender-scented cloud to remind me of the Asian lad on the train to Edinburgh whose first-ever stitches are part of the shawl. And his Scots girlfriend. And Arthur’s Seat, and all the other places I’ve worked on it. And I’ve lessons to remember, too. Memo to self: Pay attention to the stitches during the straight ‘knit’ rounds; they’re your chance to correct errors in the preceding pattern rounds. More importantly, I think my tension has improved aka loosened.
I’ll add the classic ‘on’ shot when I’ve got one. After spending my morning knitting and my lunch hour sitting outside reading Pratchett, eating chocolate chip cookies, and gloating… I’d better get to work.
I like knitting lace. I shall knit a ‘proper’ garment next, but will be thinking about lace.
In the bag, Habu Kusa (silk mohair, apparently similar to KSH but far, far nicer) in three colourways, 400-600m of each, plus hand-dyed cashmere. I don’t know what any of this will be, perhaps I love it more because of the sheer weight of potential in that bag. On the grass… Sundara’s silk laceweight in a non-repeatable colour. Probably an Icarus. I’m looking forward to seeing the play of light and colour across those bands of stockinette.
From left to right, Jaggerspun Zephyr in ‘Sage’ probably to be Anne’s Wing o’ the Moth; centre is Handmaiden Ivory Sea Silk for the Kimono Shawl in Folk Shawls; right is Handmaiden’s new Mini Maiden, 50/50 silk/wool heavy laceweight singles in ‘Periwinkle’, destined to be a gift. Possibly another Kiri (scroll down) – it’s such a fast knit. Decisions, decisions.
Are you jealous?
No, I must be honest. I’m only a little bit sorry. Mostly I’m still gloating.