Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

The Great Meeting of 2006

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Dear Kay,
Train buffs–and people who watch long, involved television documentaries–know this picture. It’s the historic 1869 meeting of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads in Promontory, Utah–the moment when America was connected by a transcontinental railroad. Finally! A quick way to Napa Valley!
Oho, dear friends, we made a little history last night when West met East:
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You can practically smell the coal smoke! Can you hear the plaintive violin solo? Where’s Ken Burns?
This shawl/scarf/stole/schmatte is coming along. The two halves, 17 repeats each of a 12-row pattern, are ready for their union via an 80-stitch grafting.
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A word about grafting. I personally like the grafting–it’s good and humbling. The process of weaving a row of knit stitches by using a tapestry needle and two needles while constantly muttering “knit/drop, purl, purl/drop, knit” will make you thank Jehovah that regular plain old knitting is nothing like this.
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Eunny’s shawl/stole/scarf/schmattah is all over the Web, if you’re inclined to poke around. There’s excellent hand-holding over at the Knitter’s Review forum. You can see finished ones here, here, and here. My Fashionable Life’s Anna created a cashmere one (and if you want to see swell knitting day in, day out, visit Anna often).
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Now, why would a person would graft two pieces of shawl together, rather than make one long piece? The grafting means that the lace pattern goes in the same direction on both sides when the shawl is worn. All the waves wave down, instead of the waves on one side waving up. Those Shetland Islanders were the ones who got all wadded up about this issue. You put me on an island for long enough, and I’ll start obsessing about the direction of my lace pattern, too.
Several infidels over at the Knitter’s Review forum decided that rather than face into the hell that is grafting, they would simply make one superlong piece, with waves waving up and down all willynilly.
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I can’t really blame them, though I’m shocked that they would turn their backs on 3,000 years of Shetland Island knitting history. The thing is, I’m not persuaded that this grafted line is so great. Don’t get me wrong–I love this pattern. But this bit of knitting looks like somebody was watching an Andre Agassi match for too long and shifted to stockinette. FURTHERmore, the lace pattern doesn’t connect in a seamless way (squint at the picture and you can see the wonkiness of it), and now I’ve got a line of grafting running down my neck. As if I don’t have enough problems with my neck already.
Having grafted this thing together, I do feel intense kinship with my Shetland Island ancestors. (Surely I have some.) And it’s a blessed relief that I’ll be able to look down at this shawl and not get seasick from the waves lurching all whichway.
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And the fact is, the grafting isn’t all that noticeable if you mudge the scarf up the way it will be when it’s worn.
My next moment of bonding with my Shetland Island ancestors will be in the upcoming episode: The Border. [Cue plaintive violin playing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".]
Love,
Ann

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Ann, your lace shawl AND the grafting look mighty fine to me! Someone earlier asked to see the backs of your magnificent pieces, but I should warn them, you made the backs out of Wal-Mart bags! Right? Can’t wait to see the borders, I know they will be terrific. My sister wants to knit another log cabin blankie. What is wrong with her!? I think we need to move on to your fab mitered square blankie–since we are so into squares! Keep up the beautiful work!
    Best regards from, Sara in AL

  2. Shawl is beautiful! I do think you mean a plaintive-yet-heroic tin whistle for the Battle Hymn of the Republic, though, don’t you?

  3. Wonky grafting line or no, it’s absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Forgot to add–As for the border, maybe you can have a kid or two read “The Charge of the Light Brigade” while you knit it.

  5. Gorgeous!
    I’m one of those who threw caution to the wind and tempted the seasickness gods by making theirs in one piece instead of grafting, but it was partially because I reached the 17th repeat while on vacation and didn’t have any scrap yarn to put the first half on, or to provisionally cast on the second half, and I was loving the pattern too much to stop for a whole week and a half.

  6. I would be on the” Knit the whole thing one way” train.
    It’s not the grafting, don’t mind that.
    But I love working on super long shawls, wrap thingies.
    As harlot would say, It’s good we are both in this world, or somthing like that. Anyway it is way nice, Time for a sparkly brooch shop, don’t ya think?

  7. ha, I knew that picture. Your shawl looks great! Pretty color, too!

  8. That border scares the pants off me. And I’m knitting the Wing O the Moth shawl right now, so I have amply demonstrated intestinal fortitude.

  9. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been waffling on whether or not I should make this scarf, and it may have to be put on the list… I should get to it in, oh, six or seven years! lol!
    P.S. Any chance there’s going to be more progress on the perfect sweater before cool weather hits?

  10. I grafted mine, too, and it did look rather strange. It blocks out fine, though! (In other words, I can live with it and prefer the waves that way.)
    Good luck with the edging!

  11. soooo delicate, wave-y, ocean-y, caribbean color-ness. what a wonderful exercise for your brain cells! we’re jealous over here in greater CA!

  12. Your POTW is gorgeous. I see what you’re saying about the grafting but really, it doesn’t detract from the beauty of the shawl. Once you are wearing it, I’m certain that no one will notice.

  13. knitters will leap at you,shove your head forward in order to inspect the grafting at the back of the neck and …
    perhaps not ! It’s beautiful. Don’t take the obsessing too far. It’s enough that you aligned your waves.
    Truly,it’s gorgeous !

  14. “Mudge” the scarf up? I’ll be doing that with my attempts at an afghan. Who’ll know??!!
    (It’s beautiful. The waves. The colours.)

  15. So pretty! And I am sad tennis is over…it was so nice to knit to. I have to say that I am anxiously awaiting to hear Ann’s play-by-play of projects spotted in this year’s Tennessee State Fair. I haven’t been yet, but last year’s descriptions had me laughing loudly enough that my boyfriend gave me a “what about knitting is so ridiculously funny?” look. =)

  16. I think it looks great!
    If I were on the Shetland Islands too long, I think I’d be obsessing about knitting a boat, not grafting a scarf.
    never fear, you aren’t alone, Nora Ephron feels bad about her neck too!
    I am sure the border will be awesome.

  17. Dammit . . . now I have another “work” to add to the list. I purposely tried to block Anna’s shawl from memory because it was so utterly beautiful I knew mine (whenever it gets started) would look like crap. The colorway is absolutely lovely . . . very wave-ish. Ken Burns should really tackle knitting as his next documentary.

  18. It looks great! You’re a brave soul to hit the grafting but I think keeping the pattern going the same way is worth the extra effort.

  19. The shawl is absolutely stunning!

  20. i think the closeup of the grafted edges looks like little hearts are planted across the mid-shawl. looks real nice, ann– i like the un-earthy, un-drabby blue, too!

  21. You are right where I am with my Gothic Leaf Lace stole by Sivia Harding! The only difference is when I finish my 105 stitch graft, I am done. No knitted border.
    But I clicked on the other folk’s links who had done the Print ‘O The Wave, all raved about how easy it was. One even mentioned it was her first lace, besides socks (right where I was when I started the Gothic Leaf!), now it makes me think that I could do “The Wave” too. Shall I try it? Perhaps I shall…….

  22. Stockings used to have seams. They were considered sexy. Put it on the back of your neck and think “sexy.”

  23. That is beyootiful grafting, really, a work of art (and next time you come to Chicago, will you give me a tutorial?), but you have confirmed my assessment after reading the pattern — hell no, I’m knitting one big ol’ rectangle.
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to reknitting the back of Celtic, having ripped out a weekend’s worth of knitting just prior to cocktail hour. Strangely, it turns out to work much better when you bother to read the pattern…

  24. Your shawl is looking very pretty. The color is great, it looks like real waves.
    That grafting line is a bit thick, isn’t it? When I made mine I thought about leaving out the two plain purl rows and making the graft line in place of the two purl rows, but I chickened out. I bet doing that would make it much less noticeable.
    I like grafting, too, so that part of it was pretty fun. (please don’t think I’m crazy :p)

  25. I love your choice of yarn and color. Not to mention the knitting and the admirable grafting. Just beautiful.

  26. Well that is just downright gorgeous. And I wouldn’t even ATTEMPT to graft something that lacey looking, because it would annoy the beejeebers out of me, and it would come out looking horrible. So I give you much credit for doing it, and for doing it so well. Great job. :-)

  27. The shawl is already very beautiful, and will be more when finished. What came into my mind was that would it have been possible to start the first half with a provinsional cast on, and then start the second half from this provinsional cast on? The waves would have been right, and the grafting problem eliminated.

  28. Forget what I wrote, I had the knitting direction wrong when I looked at your pictures.

  29. I am an anti-grafter. And I don’t care who knows it. And you know why? Because waves are not bilaterally symetrical. So why does wave lace have to be? It seems like the grafting mania is all just another ploy by THE MAN to keep us knitters down.
    Or maybe I’m just lazy.

  30. Who was that who said “No project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough”? ;)
    Gawjus!

  31. On Saturday a few of my knitting friends and I were talking about you, were your ears burning? We were all talking about when and with what yarn we were going to be casting on for the “print o the wave” (isn’t that a great name?!) shawl. Of course we started talking about your gorgeous version and how seeing it in progress the last few weeks has reminded us all that we want to knit it. All that to say, Ann…it’s gorgeous!

  32. In my relentless pursuit of knitting in one piece (no assembly required): provisional cast-on. I bet a harried Shetland Islander knitter thought of that somewhere along the way – about the time child #3 did somethign exasperating, I’d say.

  33. This is definitely on my to-knit list, wonky grafting or no. I think it’s beautiful! Yours looks lovely!

  34. Oh, and P.S., I used to live just minutes away from promontory point!

  35. Well done. ‘nuf said.

  36. Lanea, that is exactly what I said! but you said it much more scientifically! :-)

  37. Do you really have Shetland ancestors? My great-great-grandfather emigrated from there sometime between 1850 & 1865, before the transcontinental union. Being from the South, we’re probably already cousins, but I’ve done some looking into my Shetland ancestry. Those folks are ALL cousins.

  38. Too late to be of assistance now, but I dealt with the join by knitting one fewer half repeat on one of the sides. You can see the result here: http://mimoknits.typepad.com/knitting/2006/07/not_only_beginn.html
    The yarn is beautiful. The completed stole will be stunning.
    Good luck with the (seemingly) endless knitting of the border.

  39. I am wondering why you couldn’t use a provisional cast on and knit both ends from the middle out. I guess the pattern would be going the other way, but would that be bad? Very pretty though!

  40. oooh -beautiful, though I’d probably be one of the willy nilly wavers myself – i have issues with grafting :P

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