Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Lots of Lace

I thought I'd knit a Citron shawl to go with my little black dress (LBD) on my upcoming cruise. We will be at sea for 17 days and have 3 formal nights. I actually have 2 neutral dresses that I'm taking, the LBD and a grey sequined shift. I'll also be taking an array of shawls/stoles to wear with them.

I picked up a couple of skeins of luxurious Estelle Baby Silk Lace - 70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Mulberry silk. It feels a lot like Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace. (Sorry about the crappy photos)
My rule of thumb about knitting lace is look at the recommended needle size on the ball band and go up two sizes. It recommended 2.75mm needles so I used 3.5mm. After 4 repeats it was confirmed that the gauge was not big and lacy enough and the resulting shawl would be way too small. I could knit another skein's worth but I really didn't like the look of it that much. It wasn't 'airy' enough for a tropical cruise.
So I started again with 4mm needles and knit almost as far again. Again, I really didn't like the look of it.

What to do. What to do.

Then I remembered that I had a Gail/Nightsongs shawl that was almost finished. In fact, I only had one repeat to do before starting the edge chart.
Fortunately, the lace was easy to read so I could find my place on the chart without too much trouble. I really like Jane Araújo's designs. I've knit her Dianna shawl several times and this is the second Gail/Nightsongs shawl I've knit (I frogged the other one before finishing it). But her charts SUCK!!!!! I had to read the discussion boards on her group on Ravelry to figure out how to make the transition from the main chart to the edge chart.

Only after having the instructions clarified did I discover that I was going to have to 'tink' back 1,500 stitches (6 rows @ 250-ish stitches per row)!!! I was not amused but I soldiered on (or back, I guess) and un-knit the lace. Once that was done, I found someone else's chart that made sense and carried on. I'm only 2 rows away from casting off. I'll be adding beads along the penultimate row. I'll be close to the end of the yarn when I cast off but I've weighed what is left and am pretty sure there will be enough.

I really LOVE the Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn. It's the Pansy colourway with greens, blues and purples.
It's going to look spectacular once it's blocked (if I do say so myself - ahem). The only modification was that I knit a stitch between the two yarnovers in the centre. I didn't like the look of the big hole two consecutive yarnovers caused in the original version.

I found my sock blockers!! (They had been eluding me since I returned from Florida). I got a shot of the socks that I test-knit back in the new year. These are my February and March socks for our Pull Up Your Socks group.
They have been hand washed and the yarn did felt a wee bit but the lace stitch pattern is still discernible.

I also got a shot of the garter rib sock, my April sock.
Its mate is nearing completion. I'm working on the foot now.

One of my BFFs (Best Fibre Friends), Marion, finished a circular shawl using the same Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn. I offered to block it for her so here it is in its 'blob' state.
Here's a closeup on the lace detail and beading.
It's going to be awesome once it's blocked.

I also still have my grey Rose Trellis Stole to block now that I've finished the leafy border.

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