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April 2, 2006

Grace's shawl

I couldn't blog this as I knit it because I wanted it to be a surprise.

It's mostly the same pattern as the Razor Shell shawl I did earlier, but with an improvised improvement to make the yarn-overs balance better as the shawl grows. I also used a different edging that was nearly my undoing.

Here's the shawl close to its inception:


Here it is before blocking:


If you look at the first version, the lace eyelets don't immediately become pairs. There's a single one until enough stitches are added to make another and I didn't like the way that looked. I didn't chart out the method I used to add in a yarn over and corresponding decrease, but that is what I did that to get the second yarn over in sooner. The yarn-overs on each side are matched by a triple decrease (sl1, k2tog, psso) at the center of each of the knitted columns or leaves. Since there is only a yarn over on one side, I added the yo and either an SSK or K2tog as appropriate until there were enough stitches from increasing at the edges and center to do a triple decrease.

Instead of doing the simple faggotted edging I did on the previous shawls, I tried a diamond edging. The edging pattern has been around at least since the Victorian era, Sarah Bradberry's source for her site is an 1891 edition of Home Work; I have the same pattern in a Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches from the late 1980s. In its original form, the pattern was worked in garter stitch; I decided to switch that to stockinette (purling the obverse rows instead of knitting them) because the lace in my shawl was also based on stockinette.

That's when the problems began.

The knitting of the edging itself proceeded uneventfully but I used about the same ratio for attaching stitches as I had with the faggotted edging based on garter - 1 or 2 stitches from the main shawl knit together with the edging on every single row. Garter stitch has a much more compact vertical gauge than stockinette. It looked fine until it came time to block. I intended to block the shawl in the same simple triangular shape as the previous shawl. This shawl put up a huge fight. The edging was so overstretched the lace could not be seen.


and I had to block the shawl in a semi-circle to block it at all. Note the distortion in the central lace column:


To spend all that work on an edging to have it be invisible is ridiculous. I would have ripped out the edging and reknit it, but I didn't have time and wasn't sure what the result would be once I had already started the process of blocking. I came up with a two-step that was an acceptable save. I let the shawl block as above, then unwired it and blocked only the edging with pins.


It changed the shape once again, but to a rather pretty one that reminds me a bit of a gingko leaf or a butterfly. I think it will drape nicely and the distortion will not be noticeable when worn.

Here's a closer look at the re-blocked edging:


Posted by Leigh Witchel at April 2, 2006 12:34 AM

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Leigh does himself a severe disservice.

The shawl is GORGEOUS, and I am deeply appreciative.

HE may think the edging has problems, but I love the shape of it overall, and the colour - well, the colour is just ME.

Thank you again, Leigh. I'm more touched than I probably let on when you handed it to me!

Posted by: Grace Judson at April 5, 2006 11:10 PM

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