Sunday, 17 August 2008

May I present... finished Swallowtail shawl! Cast off last night, spent today blocking, wove in the ends about half an hour ago.

This is my first lace shawl, and in fact my first laceweight lace anything. I am feeling very, very pleased.

Pattern - Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Shawl
Yarn - slightly less than one skein of Posh Yarn Eva 2-ply
Black seed beads from my local bead shop.
Time elapsed while knitting - 4 months. 75% of the knitting was done in the last week and a half, though.
Mods - didn't make the nupps. Replaced some of them with beads, though not all, and added beads to the peaked edging. Used a "slip two together knit-wise, knit one, pass slipped stitches over" decrease instead of the recommended double decrease because I need things to be symmetrical.

I love this pattern. In all likelihood I will make more once I've recovered from the shock of knitting most of a shawl in a week and a half. It's a perfect way to use a small skein of expensive laceweight. It's small, so definitely not a "wrap-around in the depths of January" shawl. More of an extra layer of warmth for a formal evening thing. Or perhaps an event where one might meet a knitting celebrity. I'm just sayin'. :D

I like the yarn/needle combo. Yes, there was enough yarn left over that I could have added repeats or gone up a needle size or two, but I don't like stockinette stitch that is too open looking. This is pretty much perfectly how I like it. My knitting got slightly tighter as I got less scared of breaking the yarn and once I started using a metal needle instead of a bamboo one, but it didn't make a noticeable difference in the finished piece.

Blocking is amazing. It gained about 4 inches in all directions once I'd done the deed. I went for a full soak and pin rather than a pin and spritz. Really glad I did, because there seems to have been quite a lot of excess dye on the yarn. It's definitely colourfast, but I had to rinse it several times after the initial soak. I probably could have stretched it a bit more, but with the silk content of the yarn I didn't really want to risk it.

The scariest part of the whole experience was trimming the tails of the yarn once I'd woven them in - I didn't want to get the shears anywhere near the lace!

Definitely going to be making more lace in the future. My only problem now - how the heck do I store it?

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