Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shawl of many troubles

At long last I've finished my shawl of many troubles.

Shawl 2

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.

Shawl 1

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.

Shawl back

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.

Shawl 4

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.

Shawl close-up

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.

Shawl 3

Again, thanks to Margarita for the pics.

7 comments:

missfee said...

just love this shawl and now I have knitting envy and want one too

the colour combo is fantastic and the size just perfect

travellersyarn said...

Love it, love the size, and the smile on your face in the last photo.

Sel and Poivre said...

Well who isn't bigger than Katie Davies I ask you! (Currently reknitting almost entire Deco sweater 2 sizes larger than the one that should (at least numerically) have fit! ;)

Seriously what a gorgeous piece you have created! It must feel so great to have endured and come out triumphant.

Why not call it the Now Perfect Shawl of Many Past Troubles"!

Brendaknits said...

Sorry to advise that your 'troubles' had me laughing. So glad the finished product looks so wonderful The colours are perfect for you.

Lynne said...

I agree it needs renaming to Shawl of Past Troubles. It's beautiful and will be very handy with our return to cooler weather!

Rose Red said...

I so so admire your willingness to frog, re knit, undo cast off (one of my knitting nightmares!), not to mention sewing in 50,000 ends, to achieve perfection - which is surely what this shawl is - perfection!

DrK said...

it is absolutely gorgeous, as i knew it would be. im so glad you stuck with it (as if you ever wouldnt) and it is just perfect, it suits you so well and is a true masterpiece of knitted loveliness. i can almost smoosh it from here. well done!