Monday, July 28, 2008

FO: Swallowtail Shawl

It's almost like this photo shoot was meant to be. A day after I finished my first lace weight shawl for me (not my first first, just first for me - I'm selfless like that) we went to the Olympian Japanese Garden. We've never been there before although we've lived in Olympia for 8 years. It's just one of those places you drive by and say "We should go there sometime." This time was that sometime. Turned out to be a perfect place to take photos of my shawl, too. Kismet.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark from Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Yarn: Misti International Misti Alpaca Lace
Needles: US 4/ 3.5mm
Measurements: 52.5" wingspan, 22.5" from center back to tip
Started: January 9 2008
Finished: July 11 2008

I haven't knitted a lot of lace, but this shawl has always been one of my favorites. It's definitely one of the Classics. It's a bit small to be cozy, but it works well as a shoulder and neck warmer on a cool afternoon. You'd think the smaller size would have made it a quick knit, but I didn't work on it consistently. Almost 7 months! It was worth it though. Definitely. Is any lace not worth it? Don't answer that.


I made a couple of modifications, but nothing that interrupted the shape or design of the shawl. After seeing DJ's finished Swallowtail I decided to add 7 repeats to the bud lace pattern to make my shawl larger. I debated over adding another repeat of the Lily of the Valley lace, but once I got to that point I was so excited about having a shawl for myself I just zoomed through that part. Project trumped process.

I also changed the nupps. Nupps remind me of bobbles, which I dislike. They're not really a pain to knit, I just don't like the bobbly look. Unfortunately, on this particular shawl, they work. There's no way to knit a Lily of the Valley lace pattern without nupps (I tried). The pattern instructs the knitter to yo 5 times on the RS row then, when you get to the 5 yos on the WS, purl them together. This is not as easy as it sounds. I'd like to send them a short note that says "Try doing it with slippery alpaca." Instead of gritting my teeth and tearing my knitting to shreds, I purled the five yos, slipped them back to the left needle, purled 2 together, slipped that back to the left needle, then passed the last three sts over. Much better and makes nary a difference in the size or appearance unless you inspect it with an inch of it's stitches.

I'm not very keen on the edging either (just picking it apart, aren't I?), but that's not to say I despise it. I just wouldn't do it again. For some reason it reminds me of pine cones. Pine cones + Swallowtail = ? It works well with the pattern. I mean, what else would you put between those peaks? Yup, pine cones.

All in all, it makes me happy. I wear it often, even when it's too hot for a shawl. I had to over-dye it when I finished knitting because the original color of the yarn was hideous. Sort of a mauve/khaki color. Interestingly enough, some of the color washed out in tiny spots so the shawl looks like antique denim. It gives the shawl a very casual chic sort of look. The indigo really pops in the right light. Very eye-catching. It may be my new favorite color. It is my new favorite shawl.

What, this old thing?


turtlegirl76 said...

It's gorgeous! You over dyed that? The color is amazing!

I did my nupps the same way you did. Much less fiddly.

allisonmariecat said...

Wow, the color is amazing. Vibrant, classic blue. And the shawl is obviously wonderful and gorgeous. (Not to mention the garden--woo!) Thank you for the notes on the nupps. Every once in a while, I think about knitting one of these for myself, and if I ever get around to it, that's good info to have.

Stefaneener said...

I love your nupp change. The shawl is lovely - of course you love it. Enjoy, enjoy. Love the overdying.