At long last I've finished my shawl of many troubles.
I've written some of the story of this shawl before, so frequent readers with good memories can switch off here and just look at the pictures. The shawl had its beginnings with the purchase earlier this year in the Netherlands of seductive Shilasdair yarn in softly merging shades of blue and green. I chose a pattern I'd admired for some time (Askew by Lisa Mutch) and knitted for some considerable time. After many doubts and ditherings I faced up to the fact that the shape of the shawl wasn't ideal for the yarn and so I unravelled many hours of knitting. After much searching I remembered Kate Davies' Northmavine Hap pattern. I think I must have had this pattern lodged somewhere in my unconscious because the colours Kate had used for the shawl she knitted were close cousins to my Shilasdair yarn. But I needed a background yarn and so ordered extra yarn in rich egg-yolky yellow that looked perfect against the colours I already had. Perfect, that is, till I started knitting it up. Somehow I'd forgotten the very basic rule that a background yarn should be just that - a background. It shouldn't shout its presence from the rooftops. More unravelling. More rethinking.
The cost of yarn for this project was already rather embarrassing so without too much hope of success I stated rummaging through my yarn collection (not a stash, a yarn collection). I found some fine grey-beige Isager wool, destashed to me by the local queen of yarn redistribution. The colour was perfect, but the yarn was finer than the Shilasdair and I wasn't sure how it would work. By this stage I think I must have deserved some good luck, because the yarns worked so well together. Success.
Well, success till I'd knitted a bit beyond the size of the shawl suggested by the pattern (I am, after all, larger than Kate Davies) and cast off across innumerable stitches. The shawl was too small! Last year I knitted a big shawl that I can cross in front and tie behind my back and I've loved it. I wanted another shawl I could use this way and it was the way Kate Davies had designed this shawl. I'm clearly not only larger than Kate Davies, but significantly larger. So, reluctantly, I undid the cast-off, painstakingly picked up the stitches along the edge, and resumed knitting.
This time I knitted till I ran out of the Shilasdair yarn. Then all that needed to be done was to sew in the many ends of yarn left from the frequent stripey yarn changes. This took ages, but I'm very happy with the outcome.
I now have another very big shawl that's remarkably light for its size. I love it. However, we're having a very early and very warm Spring in Sydney and I doubt I'll be able to wear it in the near future. But I think it will make a good travel companion later this year as it's warm, light, and squashes into a small space. I think my shawl is at the end of its troubles.
Again, thanks to Margarita for the pics.