Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Shawl Report

The knitting resolution continues on schedule.  Actually I am a little bit ahead of schedule, which I never expected to be able to report.  I figured, as with most resolutions, that by now I would have become bored with knitting and moved onto some other activity leaving my resolution behind without a smattering of guilt.

I am enjoying my current spate of knitting fever.  Mostly I have scarves to show for my 6 months work.  I can be fairly sure that I can start and complete a scarf in the span of a month.  But I like to have larger projects from time to time, so I started two shawls in the background, figuring they would be completed way down the line somewhere.

One of the shawls started off with gusto but came to an abrupt halt about midway when the contrasting yarn I had picked for the lace portion turned out to be the wrong choice.  It is lying in wait until I figure out what I can use instead.

The second shawl was an impulse yarn buy when I saw it hanging on display out at my favorite local yarn store, Yarnorama.  It looked easy enough, the yarn was a sumptuous silk mix, and I cast on in the early days of June, expecting it to be my July or August resolution project.  I spent some of my knitting time in June working on the last of my Fiesta scarf to be sure I had a completed project for the month.

To my surprise, not only did I finish the Fiesta scarf, but the shawl zipped along at a rapid pace and came off the needles yesterday.  Two completed projects for June.  I'm smokin'.

This shawl was mostly a stockinette knit with an easy lacy border and lace inset up the back center.  Most of my lace knitting in the past was with acrylic yarn that does not call for blocking.  This shawl, consisting of natural fiber, would have to be blocked.  

Thankfully I anticipated this possibility when I started my year of knitting and had ordered a set of blocking pads, pins and wires to have on hand.  Finally I had the chance to try them out.  With trepidation, I began the process by dunking my beautiful shawl into a sink of lukewarm water to get it thoroughly wet.

The photo above is the wet shawl before I started stretching it.  Not much signs of lace when you are at this stage.  The edges were curled in and it looked a bit like a wet cat, that is not so pretty.

I began to stretch it out and thread the blocking wires through the lace edging.  It wasn't too long before I realized I probably need a second set of blocking pads if I'm going to keep knitting shawls.  I was pinning the outer edges into the mattress and this wasn't an especially big shawl.  When I had it all pinned down, all there was left to do was wait for it to dry.

I was happy to find it completely air-dried by morning and was pleased to find it was holding its shape when the wires and pins were removed.  Voila!  One shawl with lace edges, looking just as the pattern picture looks.  Ok, the pattern photo doesn't include the stray Dixie hair or Boo drool, but that just adds needed character, right?

Another of my needle art projects this month was to breathe new life into the cross-stitch sampler I purchased in the antique store.  I decided that the quality of the sampler was such that it deserved to have a decent frame.  It started with a cheap blue frame and mat.

Some professional framing later and I have a show piece for my guest bedroom.  Yes the framing cost as much as the sampler, but together they are pretty spectacular.

Now here I sit on the first day of July wondering what I'm going to choose for my next project.  I need to get   busy!


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