A Shawlful Lot of Knitting

Somehow or other, I’ve apparently let go of my grasp on knitting reality, and I’m not quite sure when and how that happened. I said from the start that I was only going to allow myself one lace (which morphed into one main) project going at a time, and I had no problem with that. I actually enjoyed the pull of the next project moving me toward finishing whatever happened to be current. I was far from being monogamous, but still, I knew there was just one project that I would grab each night when I settled in with my audiobook – until now.

I finished knitting my Little River Wrap right at the beginning of the Ravelympics, but since it didn’t count for the event, being an active project, I put it aside without blocking and fringe. I did get it blocked a couple weeks back, but it’s not done until it has fringe. Project 1…

In celebration, I cast on my Thordis Shawl at the end of the Ravelympics. I’m sewing in the ends on it now, but still have to pick up over 300 stitches to finish the raw edge of which I’m not overly fond. Project 2…

I have two prayer shawls started. These aren’t prime time knitting, as I prefer to work on them when I can be praying. Still, they should count as at least half projects, so I’m calling them Projects 3…

Those three I can somewhat justify, but then things start getting dicey. I think I need my head examined, in fact. A month or so back while on Ravelry, I found a pattern that I dearly loved. It was supposedly free to members of a Yahoo group, so I signed up – only to find it wasn’t, as it was the current mystery shawl and closed to new members. While I was waiting around for it to finally be available to buy, a new project was announced. I’ve never done a mystery shawl, and after looking through the designer’s website, I decided I liked her work well enough to risk making one of her shawls sight unseen. What I didn’t realize is that it would be so terribly difficult to choose yarn for a project when I had no idea what it was going to look like. After many hours of research on Ravelry, I finally settled on Baby, by Dream in Color, in the November Muse colorway.

This is my first experience with this yarn, and while my initial reaction to it in person was hesitant, I’ve come to really enjoy working with it – which is good, since I jumped in with both feet, buying enough yarn to make three different shawls with it (different colors!) at the same time. I did my shopping online with The Loopy Ewe, and all I can say is that I was absolutely blown away by them! No wonder people like that place so well! First of all, they had more colorways available in stock than anyone else I checked. When I was concerned about colors working well together, I phoned them. I couldn’t have received better and more friendly service if I’d called a (mythical for me) LYS just around the corner. What delightful people! Then there is the shipping, which is not only extremely reasonable for small orders, but totally free over $75, and my yarn was here almost instantly!!! I’m sure I will be doing more business with them in the future, and next time I’m road-tripping in that direction, their store is a must. :o)

Anyway, I digress… The knit-along for that shawl, which is called Way of Life and designed by Birgit Freyer, began on the 18th of September. So far, we have received two “clues,” and each has involved about 4 days of my knitting, and I’m keeping up well, so far, and loving the way it looks.

The shawl is rectangular, but being worked from the long edge, so it will be interesting to see what it’s like when finished. I did find it almost funny that I had two consecutive shawl cast-ons of over 300 stitches. Considering how I’d dreaded starting Thordis with it’s 339, I couldn’t believe I was thinking, “Oh, just 309 for this one…” So far, it’s looking very lovely, and as always, I’m finding ways to continue learning about knitting and myself. In making so many repeats of the same pattern across one row, it’s almost inevitable that an occasional yarn over goes missing or shows up spare. I’ve been using some really frustrating markers that I bought from Knit Picks. They are jumprings, and I really like the concept, but the ends are rough and don’t meet, so they were constantly moving around. I can’t figure out how the yarn would inevitably get in the ring without help, but require a generous amount of finagling to remove. The yarn was snagging, and the whole thing was really slowing me down, not to mention they were moving around on me, sometimes by several stitches, so it wasn’t always obvious if I was off on my count. Last Saturday, I received my Lacis order, and life has been better since. They sell closed ring markers! I bought a package in both sizes, and I’m using the larger ones on my lace so they don’t slip under YO’s. They have improved both my speed and accuracy, and I’m ever so much happier for it! On the other hand, had I made no errors, I would have missed yet another learning experience…

With 309 stitches on the needles, a person doesn’t just frog four rows lightly, which is what I would have happily done otherwise when I found an error 5 rows deep spreading across 3 repeats of 18 stitches each in a moderately involved lace pattern. It took me a good night’s sleep before I got up my nerve, but I actually tore out just the damaged section and managed to re-knit it properly! I was thinking the entire time I was working that I was really glad I’d been diligently fixing the little mistakes in projects over the past year. In the process, I’d learned enough to take on something that would otherwise have landed the entire shawl in the frog pond. I always find it amazing when I come face to face with the reality of how much I continue to learn and grow. :o) And, long-winded though I became here, this is Project 4…

Now is where things really got out of hand. Somewhere along the line, I discovered there was a Yahoo group for the Thordis Icelandic Shawl, and though it started with that one shawl, they have done several other KAL’s and are happy to answer questions about any of them. I joined, and immediately found they were starting a mystery shawl designed by the group owner, and specifically aimed at using those wonderful hand-dyed yarns that entice knitters, but tend to overwhelm lace patterns. How could I resist? I swatched yesterday with some delicious Lisa Souza yarn and Dyna-Mites beads (most of which don’t show in the photo unless you maximize it), but will do more details on that in another post when we actually start knitting in a few days and haven’t already written an entire book. For now, here is my yummy swatch for Project 5…

And then I’m going to totally blame the enablers on the Icelandic group for mentioning a KAL starting on the Schoolhouse Press site tomorrow. I’d almost totally talked myself out of participating until the perfect yarn practically fell into my lap – and no, I wasn’t looking for it! Here’s my swatch for Project 6… with details about my miracle yarn to follow once I’ve cast on for the shawl.

Now, about all that remodeling…

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh My!!!! What lovely projects!!!!!

    Must look away…….11+ WIPs to go…….

  2. Thanks, Toni. You could consider it window shopping… I think I’d feel bereft if I had no WIPs at all, but I admire your fortitude.

  3. I love the color you chose for “Way of Life”! I finished clue 2 last night and will post a picture on the group later today. I’m not posting it on my blog since it’s a surprise pattern for my daughter.

    I like your other project too.

  4. Sylvie, thank you! I saw your shawl on the site, and it’s lovely, too! It’s fun to see how the yarn choices change the way the shawl looks.


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