Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Mosses and lichens

Back when I was at school, I had a thing for botany. My biology teacher would provide me with woodland manuals, field guides, advanced textbooks... Anything, as long as it had stuff about plants in it. I abandoned my love of botany at A-Level because I really didn't want to have to study anything else in the biology lab. Practical experiments are not my thing, for lots of reasons.

What does this have to do with any form of needlework? Well, when I showed this to my husband, he commented that it was all the colours of lichen. And mosses and lichens were always my favourites.

Of course, if you look at it from this angle, you can just see the fabulous egg-carton effect of unblocked lace.

After a good bath and a rinse with hair conditioner*, my somewhat scratchy shawl now feels a lot softer and drapier. 20 minutes of pinning and stretching got me this marvellous thing:

And now that the ends are woven in and it's all dry, I can proudly present my finished Noro Triangle!

Pattern - Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark from the book Wrap Style

Yarn - Noro Kureyon Sock, 1 skein (1 golf ball-sized lump left over)

Needles - 4.5mm 1m Addi Turbo circular

Pattern mods - I knit 10 repeats of the fircone chart instead of 8 and added a single row of garter stitch to the end of the edging to help prevent curling. Bind-off was as per instructions in the Swallowtail pattern.

I loved knitting a shawl with fingering weight yarn. Unlike with the laceweight, I was never worried about it breaking or snagging. I threw it into a bag quite happily, left it on the couch, sat it on the floor, gave it a thorough scrubbing in the sink. Plus, it seemed to go much faster and I got a bigger shawl for fewer stitches. And it's a one-skein project! Love it! I have a sneaking suspicion that I may end up using my laceweight up and then knitting lace exclusively in sock yarn from now on...

I was happy to discover that the yarn seems to be colourfast. There was no dye in the water when I'd finished soaking, and none of the colours bled onto one another - not even where bright green butted up against white. I had been a bit concerned about that.

A 1m circular needle is ideal for shawl-making. It was approaching the point of being so long it was annoying, but even at the end my stitches weren't at all bunched up on the needle.

*A tip that I read somewhere suggested washing scratchy yarn in human hair conditioner. It sounded a bit weird, but it's not when you think about it. Conditioner is designed to smooth down the outer layer of the hair so that it becomes smooth and shiny. Human hair is a protein fiber. So is wool. Ergo, hair conditioner should have similar effects on both. I wouldn't want to try the theory on silk, which always seems to be the exception to the rule of protein fibers, but then I've never met a scratchy silk.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Awesomely gorgeous!!!! I love the colours and the pattern!