Thursday, June 01, 2006

Frost Flowers and Leaves

Yaaaaaay! It's done. (Pic here added later.)

I just finished the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl on Sunday. It's blocked and drying in the basement at this very moment. The pattern, by Eugen Beugler, is published in A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen. See a picture of it from the book on the Frost Flowers and Leaves KAL .

Here's a beginning picture taken on April 2.

The center of the shawl is on size 3.5 mm dpn's, 5-1/2 inches long. I believe this picture is taken when I was through row 38, or at the end of the first part of the first chart.

You can tell that I was about ready to switch to circulars, though I putzed along on the dpn's for another ten rows or so until I was sure I had enough to go around.

By the way, I've unvented a way of making that first all-thumbs Emily Ocker circular cast-on a little easier. Well, really, it isn't the actual cast-on, it's managing the dpn's after the cast-on. Look for more in the next day or two, along with some more pictures of progress and some of the things I've learned so far about knitting lace in general.

I've been keeping stats on this shawl, partly to urge myself on, and partly to confirm for myself and others that this was not a small undertaking.

To wit:

  • This shawl is 6 feet square by the book, except that mine is a bit smaller (5'4") because I knitted it with size 4's (3.50 mm) instead of the recommended size 6 (4.25 mm) needles. But every one of those wee stitches in the pattern were knitted!
  • This is lace knitting (as opposed to knitted lace, according to some experts), with pattern stitches on both sides.
  • The pattern calls for 3600 yards - or a little over 2 miles - of yarn. I'm using Zephyr, 50/50 silk and merino, 30wpi. Color is "Mushroom".
  • The pattern begins with 8 stitches. The final row before the edging has 1388 stitches for one round. Yikes!
  • There are 134,784 stitches in the shawl before the edging.
  • There are 192 stitches in the edging for each 10 bound-off stitches of shawl, making the edging another 26,650 stitches...
  • ...for a grand total of 161,250 for the entire shebang (not counting frogging and tinking, another significant number!)
  • It has taken a solid eight weeks to knit.

it's freshly off the needles and unblocked -just plunked down on the kitchen floor so I could snap a picture. After dragging it around for eight weeks, it could stand up by itself, so I'm not concerned about it getting dirty by being tossed onto my less-than- pristine floor. Those are foot-square tiles, so you can see that unblocked, it's just about 3-1/2 feet or so square.

Now, isn't that better? It's been washed in Eucalan and has been blocked on an old (vacuumed, no less!) rug in the basement.

I used blocking wires on the shawl body, and I used a cotton crochet yarn around the perimeter of the narrow edge, pinning with wild abandon after I stretched the shawl to it's beautiful dimension of 64 inches square.

I had threaded the cotton crochet yarn through the perimeter before washing it because I had intended to try the "Russian" (aka "string") method of blocking. Turns out I would have needed to round up three more people (one for each corner) to help stretch the shawl. My impatience got the better of me though, and considering I would have felt obligated to mop that kitchen floor to invite that many people over, I just proceeded on.

I didn't do a wonderful job of blocking, anyhow - I had foot surgery recently, and crawling around on the floor for three hours wasn't a very smart move. But I really couldn't wait to see how it came out! I can always dress it again later. Meanwhile, I am content that nothing has unraveled, and it looks pretty good from here.

I'll take a glamour shot later in the week so you can see it in it's full glory. In the meantime, you can see the things that helped, or didn't, in making this shawl.

Knit on.


e's knitting and spinning blog said...

Oh my gosh! That looks gorgeous. I can't wait for the glamor shot!

Anonymous said...

Your shawl is beautiful! I'm using Zephyr as well and loving it . . . I'm trying to figure out how big mine will be if I omit a repeat (or more) of chart two . . . any thoughts?