Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Curse of the Peacock Shawl (get back on the knitting horse darn it )

This is the re-do of my Peacock Shawl or as my computer tech family might say, version 7.0 of the shawl as I've had to start over that many times. I have checked each row on the flip-side to be sure the number of stitches is correct before moving onto the next row of lace pattern. This way, corrections tend to be made before things get too far out of hand. It's slow, but there are currently no errors. My sister just shakes her head as I continue to labor on. I have pictures of it pinned out and am currently on row 59 with charts that go to row 223 before edging is then started. The original shawl was meant to be a finished size of 88" from tip to tip along the top, 43" from middle of top to lower point on US 4. My shawl is being done on US 1 so I have no way to know what my version will actually block out to when done. There is also a picture of the very cheap but extremely serviceable neon plastic ponytail holders I use as stitch markers for lace work. I used to make yarn loops as markers but these do the job just fine for me and were a hint my sister got off the web while reading knitting blogs. Now, there may be some people out there who are asking why I would choose to do this shawl in a different needle/gage. The use of US 1 for this shawl is important for me . Why, you ask? Because my copy of the "Shetland Lace Wedding Ring Shawl", #350 out of 500, has arrived and just as I expected, requires a needle of US 1 - US 0. The Peacock shawl is meant to be good practice for me. A nice discipline to help me get "up to snuff" so to speak, for the really difficult work. I cannot post any pictures of the pattern contents in respect to the conditions of sale of this pattern to me. However, I will say the packet has very lovely production values with clear instructions and hints to help make it more understandable as how to proceed with this work. It also contains three full-color preview pages/images of the next book that will be published by Heirloom Knitting/Sharon Miller, entitled "More Heirloom Knitting" in which pictures of this shawl are presented. One can only hope that my hands and vision are up to this task. It will be terrible/great fun to try in any case. Within the packet of information is a really wonderful card of knitting yarn samples. There is sufficient yarn so that you can knit a small example in each, wash/block it to see if they would suit you to use for this project.

Promises To Myself-
1) I will read ALL the instructions first and see if I can understand everything BEFORE I start.
2) I will swatch/wash/block all possible contenders for the honor of being this shawl so I don't choose something I will be disappointed in later, after all that work.
3) I will NOT choose a yarn that I cannot really work with, no matter how competitive I am with myself.
4) If I finish this shawl, I will only give it away for a darned good reason!

I have already compared the sample skeins enclosed with my pattern, to my stash. The only three contenders, some that I have shown on this Blog are:

Shetland Cobweb (c. 914m per 20g) from Lacis in Berkeley CA
Silk laceweight yarn from Skaska Designs (100 g, 6040 yds, 120/2).
Cordonett Special DMC crochet cotton # 100 (431 m-20g) which I just had around the house for tatting actually.

I will knit up a swatch with the Cordonett, then the Shetland Cobweb as it is already wound into balls. The silk, alas, I must wind myself. I will try both the Addi Turbo circular needles in size 0 and the Crystal Palace bamboo circular needles in size 0. I have taken a needle gage to the bamboo and they are not "true" US 0 but more like a small US 1. I may go out and try some rosewood straight needles or double-points if I can get a "real" US 0 from those. I just went to the post-office this morning to send my check to the UK for the "cobweb" weight cashmere I ordered from ColourMartUK. If it is not too long in coming, I will also take a look at this for a potential contender. After all my dears, I am already knitting 3 shawls not to mention all the other stuff I'm doing. I can wait a little while longer!

Fun, Fun, Fun my Pretties!

Laceweight Cashmere (Do I really have to send away to England for every darned thing?)

If you Google Cashmere laceweight yarn do you know what you get? You get the American sites you already know of, hoping you will see a yarn you don't already know about that will be thinner than what you already have on hand for Cashmere. When you don't see anything new, anything you can really get excited about, you look, even though you might resist, off the continent entirely. What the heck. I already ordered the pattern from England, I might as well make a leap of faith and get some yarn too. I went to the E-Bay site and purchased yarn from ColorMartUK. I'd have used Pay-Pal but for some reason, it would not recognize my mothers maiden name after I forgot my password. It's been a long time since I've purchased a darned thing using PayPal so that's that. I was afraid I would not be able to make the purchase as a result, but, miracle of miracle's, this buyer accepts a personal check. I will mail it tomorrow, just before the 4th of July hits and hope that it all goes well! I actually bought two yarns, one which is labeled "cobweb weight" which is white, the other is more like the gage I have only it's a lovely shade of mauve. At least that's what it looks like on screen. Now God knows I don't really need more yarn. After all, you've seen a part of my stash (and I do mean only part of my stash) so you know I don't really need more. But I don't drink or do drugs. I take the fifth on the swearing part. I can buy a little yarn if it makes me happy. And, Oh Boy! does it ever make me happy! I will trot off to the post office and stand in line to mail this as fast as it can get there! See above some close-ups with dimes with some of the yarns I posted on my previous blog. I could not get the site to take more pictures on that one so here they are now. You can see, while nice, they are not as thin as the Shetland yarn or the Silk from the previous post. Maybe I will also do a comparison swatch test with some of the yarns. Just for laughs. After all. it's not always about getting an entire shawl through a wedding ring, as impressive as it sounds.

I just want to say something about the Brave New World of computers and the Intenet. I'm old enough to remember when pantyhose did not exist, when the first TV's came out and were black and white and when transistors were the new and in thing. I'm not all that old, but I'm on that tipping point where it was up for grabs if I would adjust to all the new things I need to know or if I was going to get left behind in the dust. So when you observe any technological inadequacy on my part, or a bit of "old fashioned" reluctance to throw caution to the wind and buy something via internet abroad, be kind and remember, someday this may be you too! Heck, I'm impressed that I can even get one of these blogs out with pictures, never mind anything else!

To all you lovely people who may be reading and lurking, Good day!