This shawl is a wedding present for a friend. I would have knit it anyway, because look at it, but it’s nice to have a recipient. I hope she’ll enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed knitting it. Photographing it was a joy, as there are just so many aspects of it that I wanted to show off—the color, the pattern, the shine of the silk in the yarn, the drape, the absolute feather lightness of it… Here’s the Flickr set for it, optimistically named “Laminaria #1” as I’m quite sure there will be more of these.
Pattern: “Laminaria” by Elizabeth Freeman from Knitty, Spring 2008 [Ravel it!]
Yarn: ColourMart Cashmere/Silk 3/45NM Lace Weight in Indigo (discontinued).
Needles: 3.5mm (US 4) KnitPicks Options, 40in cable.
Finished size: 41″ down the middle, 75″ across
Start date: Feb 23, 2009.
Finish date: Apr 26, 2009.
It always amazes me that a blob of wrinkly yarn can transform into something amazing with the application of a few pins here and there. I really do need to get some of those foam blocking mats—upside down mattresses only work so well (and only when the room is empty, which I don’t think it will be for long). I might get some from elsewhere, but I’ll probably end up waiting till June and get these mats from KnitPicks. I’ve definitely been permanently infected by the lace bug, so they’ll come in handy.
How do people block lace without soaking the yarn? How do people block anything not using the immersion method? I seriously cannot imagine trying to pin something like this dry, and spritzing it as I went. I guess I learned the immersion method first, which is why I can’t imagine anything else. It’s probably not that hard, but I think I’ll stick to what I know. It’s so much easier getting the fabric to do what you want it to do when it’s wet.
I had to block the shawl a second time, after fixing the edging. I didn’t want to soak the whole thing (because apparently laziness wins out over everything else), so I just wet the edges and went at it that way. It was already blocked out from the first time, so it wasn’t too difficult, but I ended up pinning it out, then spritzing it (using my iron, of all things, where the hell did my spritz bottle go?) and then adjusting the blocking pins. It’s still not perfect (or as perfect as my neurotic mind would like it to be), but I don’t think I can get it any better right now.
I love this yarn. 65% cashmere, 35% silk, and all wonderful. It’s buttery soft, and it has a lovely shine to it. I’ve been spoiling myself with lovely yarn lately—between the cashmere/silk blend of this, and the baby alpaca of the other shawl, and the Malabrigo sock of the fingerless gloves, I keep picking up other wools and going “ew, scratchy!” and refusing to consider them (this is one of the reasons the Talia vest got hibernated, that yarn was seriously hurting my hands; when did my hands get so delicate?). I’ve got some cotton/modal blend (KnitPicks Shine Sport) on the way (ooh, according to the e-mail I just got with a tracking number, it’s already in Calgary, so it could be here tomorrow or Thursday!)—tentatively earmarked for a Decimal cardigan, so we’ll see how that works out. I’m trying to be good and restrict my yarn buying, but ColourMart will definitely get more business from me. Luxury yarns in fabulous colors and at fabulous prices, what else could I want?
The pattern says to use two strands of yarn held together for the Russian bind-off, and that’s what I did the first time. I also cast off really loosely, which is why the edge was all kinds of fugly and loose and unattractive. So, after the shawl dried, I unpinned it, unpicked the bind-off, and, using only one strand of yarn, cast off again, less loosely this time. I think I could have actually done a tighter job still, but I was worried that I’d overdo it the other way and end up with something too tight again. If I make this shawl again, and I probably will because, well, look at it, I’ll remember to not worry so much about the bind-off.
Other modifications to consider for future projects: altering the symmetry of the patterns—k3tog would become sssk, the 2-into-3 and 3-into-9 stars would also get altered appropriately, the RT stitches in the second edging chart would become LTs on the other side of the shawl, and so on. Honestly, I don’t see the difference in the shawl now that it’s blocked out. The yarn is so fine that it doesn’t really matter, I think. If I were to use a different weight of yarn—another thing I’ve picked up a fondnesss for (I blame brooklyntweed)—that might become necessary to account for different stitch definition. If I make it in the same weight of yarn, I might actually drop down a size in the blossom and edging charts—some of those yarn overs are kinda big.