Pith and Vinegar
March 4, 2009
Readers want to know eggzackly how I made my two shawls, which were inspired by Terhi’s one shawl, which was an adaptation of a traditional triangle shawl that she found in Cheryl Oberle’s book Folk Shawls. Here’s as pithy as I can get:
Long-Tailed Triangle Shawl
Knit Cheryl Oberle’s Feather & Fan Triangle Shawl, minus eyelet rows, up to the point that the feather & fan edging starts; at this point you will part company with the instructions. End with a RS row. On the next row, change to ruffle color and purl across the (WS) row. Instead of the feather and fan edging, work a soft ruffle, like so: On the next row (RS), (k1, kfb) all the way across the row. Now work 18 garter ridges, continuing to increase at the beginning and end of each row, and continuing the center increases on RS rows only. (For the ruffle, I changed the center increases to “make 1 right, k1, make 1 left.”)
Tail-Free Triangle Shawl
Start with the basic top-down triangle shape specified for Cheryl Oberle’s Wool Peddler Shawl, but work the 2 additional increase rows called for in the Feather & Fan Triangle Shawl. When the base triangle is complete, substitute the soft garter ruffle (described above) for the lacy edging of the Wool Peddler.
Gentle Reminder, aka The Sermon on the Block
Unlike some people (ahem), I am not a particularly avid blocker of my knits. I block as I see fit, which is sometimes kind of slapdash. Garter stitch can beguile me into thinking it needs no blocking; it is so very well behaved just as it comes off the needles. I usually wash things when they’re done, not so much to block them as to cleanse away any cooties they have picked up being dragged around on the subway.
This….unbelief, this skepticism about the Power of Blocking…. is very wrong of me. Thinking I was wasting my time with a superfluous ritual, I handwashed and then machine spun the brown Koigu shawl yesterday, laid it out tidily on the bed to dry for a few hours, and was amazed. It grew a lot, due to the properties of wool, I guess: it bloomed, softened, tidied up, and,especially, GOT BIGGER. Much bigger. It went from 70 inches across the wingspan to 90 inches; it now practically has tails and it actually fits ME, who is quite a bit girthier than the recipient (who now will be the proud owner of a luxuriously oversized shawl; that is my story and I’m sticking to it: I meant for it to be this way).
One thing that might be seen as a negative is that the ruffle flattened out in the process, probably due to way I smooshed it out on the bed. To me, this is the desired look. If you want your ruffle to ruffle more convincingly, you’d have to knit a lot more stitches, by KFBing into every stitch on the first row, instead of every other stitch.
OK, that is all. Block, is all I’m saying. Even a wishy-washy, no-pins, cat-safe block can make your knitting all purty-like.
P.S. I would like to thank Central Park for allowing me to sustain the fantasy of my serenely clutter-free apartment. The ultimate crop of life’s detritus: take the pictures somewhere else.