Double and Done

Right now I feel as if I’m enjoying an embarrassment of wealth in terms of really grand knitting projects. I scarcely know which I want to pick up each day when I sit down with my audiobook. I’ve been really bad about sharing them here, mostly because when I get free time, it’s tough to keep my hands off my knitting long enough to write a blog entry. I can’t ever remember a time when I had FOUR pet projects! Don’t get me wrong; I have a whole heap of UFO’s, and I’ve frogged the ones I don’t like, so there aren’t any losers. But you know how you tend to get a bee in  your bonnet about one particular project and have a tough time putting it down for a few days or weeks – or until it’s time to do the finishing work on it?  I have four of those right now, and it’s about making me dizzy! Let me introduce (or reintroduce) you to two of them.

On January 1, 2009, I cast on a long anticipated project – Shetland Garden by Sivia Harding. I knew I had some busy days coming, but I actually thought at the time that I’d have it done in a few months. Not. In fact, a few days into the year, I tucked it away ’til the next day, and that day turned out to be January 1, 2010. Oddly enough, history repeated itself, and this much desired project mellowed for another full year. Almost a joke by this point, I pulled it out again on January 1, 2011, fully planning to purposely pop it back into the project tub by the end of the first week of this year this time. You know… fine tradition and all… However, the strangest thing happened… nothing weird, new, or unexpected. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this situation. As busy as my life has been, NOTHING got in the way of me knitting this shawl, and better yet, it began growing almost magically. I have this weekend off from working at my FIL’s old house, so I’ve dedicated some of the extra time to the things I love doing – sort of an in home (much needed) winter retreat – and about an hour ago, the unbelievable happened; I cast it off and sewed in the ends. Then I sat blinking in amazement. It’s done. What will I do next year on New Year’s Day? Should I have done this to myself?

No, I’m NOT going to frog half of it from guilt. I’m not quite THAT crazy… yet. 😉 Finishing this has also given me another quandary. I’ve been longing for some decent snow, so I can do some more snow dyeing. Now I also need a beautiful spring-like day so I can block my newest shawl. It’s liable to be awhile, so I’m posting pix of it unblocked for now, just to share the excitement of being this far with the project.

I did make a few changes to the original pattern. First, I know myself well enough to know that mirroring the decreases was mandatory for me, Shetland tradition notwithstanding. On a cobweb weight yarn, it wouldn’t have really mattered so much, but with Dream in Color Baby being a rather heavy laceweight, more akin to sock yarn, the lean of the decrease really makes a pattern impact, and I love the way those lines make a secondary pattern in lace, so I did the mental gymnastics to make them symmetric.

The second change is a lot more serious. I loved this shawl from the first, but I felt that the original ending to it was just a bit too abrupt, not contributing to the artistic flow of the rest of the shawl. SO I went out on a limb and charted a new finale to the piece, which added a good number of extra hours to the project, but which I also think looks really nice – at least so far as I can see it unblocked and in close quarters. Did I say I was eager to see it blocked? 😉 BTW, once it is blocked, I can mark one UFO off my 2011 Goals. 🙂

Another 2011 Goals item is to learn to double knit. I’m happy to say that this is coming along quite well. I also must confess that I’ve apparently developed a new addiction… After watching Lucy Neatby’s wonderful DVD, Double Knitting Delight, again, I jumped into the deep end, choosing a fun chart by tina13 on Ravelry called Spinnschaf. Tina doesn’t give instructions, but she sure makes some grand charts for double knitters, and she posts them for free. They are great for people with some experience – or anyone who is just a plumb crazy beginner. 😉 Why pick a simple, large scale geometric pattern for your first project, when you have the option to pick something with oodles of details that will tie your brain into a Josephine knot, right?

It took me more rows than I would have liked to figure out just exactly how one does the edges correctly, and I’ve had a decent amount of experience, now, fixing various sorts of mistakes, but overall, this has been a really great experience, and I love the magic of knitting two sides at once, watching them come out as negative images. I’m also really loving the Stroll sock yarn from KnitPicks. I’m working with two lovely shades of the tweed, and I’m losing at least 5 minutes per work session just enjoying the way it feels.

Okay, enough for now. Wooly little voices are calling me…

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  1. […] the adventure of creating this shawl, along with the changes I made, a few weeks ago in my Double and Done post. Just wanted to finally share the […]


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