Late-Night Thoughts While Blocking a Shawl
December 1, 2006
I finished the Print o’ the Wave stole! Snipsnap in a jiffy I cranked the final foot of the border. Something 18 stitches wide just isn’t that much knitting, you know?
This little project has been a revelation–if you do 90% of a project, get disgusted, put it away for eight weeks, then return to it, the whole thing seems like a PRESENT. You mean, if I just do this crummy little border, then I’ll get a whole entire SHAWL? For FREE?
So Hubbo was all tucked in for the night, cruising Tivo for some late night TV snackage, and there I was on the floor, in the gloom, lining up this:
It’s a testament to the state of the union that Hubbo puts up with this sort of thing. It was also fortunate that there was some tasty fresh Colbert Report in the hopper to distract him while I basically went into a blocking frenzy last night. I couldn’t wait until the morning. Not a chance. I was all Rumpelstiltskin on this thing.
You’ll note the Bonus Zone I had to add to the blocking board. The Print o’ the Wave turned out to be pretty long, but I didn’t know how long until I soaked the shawl until it was a blechy pile then laid the creepy wet snake on the floor.
This really is the glory moment of a lace project. If you’ve never made anything with lace, oh, for heaven’s sake, get on it. Just looking at this picture gives me a shivery, tingly, lick-a-9-volt-battery feeling.
I was dreading the moment when the beginning and end of the border met. High Noon was definitely a showdown, and it is basically a mess:
I grafted them together like a blended family and told them not to be ugly to each other. The fact that there are two different dye lots, the fact that I ended up four rows shy of a full repeat . . . if we all keep moving, maybe nobody’ll notice how weird it all is.
In the end, I look at the corner of this shawl, and I cannot believe I made that myself. How did the border go around the corner like that? How did the columns of stitches end up swooshing around each other? When I first started knitting, I would look at something like this and shake my head. Having just finished it, I’m still shaking my head. I don’t know how I did it.
I’ll give it a swishy modeling after I let it dry for a long time.
Thank you, Eunny, for this lurvly pattern.
PS The following is so technical that only the future Print o’ the Wave knitters will want to read it. But if you’re in that group, this is SOLID GOLD, people.
Top 10 Things I Learned While Making the Print o’ the Wave
1. My Specs
Yarn: Blue Heron Mercerized Cotton, laceweight. 1,050 yards, 2 skeins. Really, it was more like 1 skein plus 80 yards of the second skeins, an expensive BUMMER when a skein costs $39.
Size 4 (3.5 mm) needles, including a 100 cm circular for doing the border
Finished size: 27″ x 66″ (68.5 x 167.5 cm)
2. How Long It Took
The First Era: August 25-October 2, 2006
Slough of Despond: October 2-November 29
The Second Era (aka “The Brief Era Not So Much An Era, Actually”): November 29-December 1
3. Yarn Pensées
The wisdom of using Blue Heron mercerized cotton for a lace shawl has been questioned. OK, it was me questioning myself, but still. Throughout this project I kept thinking of the word gossamer, which Eunny used in her description of her pattern. This shawl will drape, but it won’t “shiver and float in a draft.” I think this pattern would really shine in the cobwebby yarns she suggests. My next lace project will likely involve something really, truly airy.
DO NOT FAIL to print this in color. I printed it on my B & W and did not see the big red box which indicates the pattern repeat. Extremely crabby to discover this many hours later. At least mark the red box if you have a B & W printer. And the bracket under the repeat is not quite wide enough. Eunny writes, “The way the pattern repeat for the body is indicated can be a little confusing. The pattern repeat is outlined in RED — though the bracket might look a little short depending on how you look at it, and the gridlines on the chart might confuse you, pay attention only to the RED lines for the correct repeat.” Having written a few patterns (MUCH less complex than this one, mind you), I have total sympathy with the challenge of writing a pattern.
The two lace patterns are so much easier if you follow the chart. I’m a visual person, so I can’t imagine doing a lace pattern without one. IMHO. Just sayin. FWIW. 2 cents.
6. Chart Correction
As written, Chart B for the edging contains an error. The second-to-last stitch of rows 9, 11, 13 and 15 should be marked as a k2tog.
7. The Border
Takes as long as the middle part.
8. Yes, You Have to Do the Border.
9. Grafting the Center Seam
It’s a badge of Shetland lace knitting honor to knit the center in two parts, then graft them together so that the pattern flows downward when you wear it. But honestly, I recommend that you dispense with the grafted center seam. The wavy pattern looks pretty in either direction, and I think the seam disrupts the pattern significantly. Also: the supersmart Michelle jooged the pattern a half repeat to make the jog less noticeable–you can see her results at her blog. Brilliant!
10. Blocking is the most fun you can have at 11 o’clock at night while your husband is watching The Colbert Report. Blocking while listening to The Colbert Report is the most fun you can have, period, unless you’re up to something else altogether, in which case you probably shouldn’t have pins around at all.