Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finished Shetland Shawl, etc.

The Flower Scarf pattern has been downloaded over 1,000 times and there are 51 Flower Scarf projects on Ravelry -- that is amazing to me.

Joann made a second Woven Diamonds Faroese:

The shetland style shawl is finished. Why did I call it 'shetland style'?  I began with a cast of one stitch for the center section, increased one stitch every row until the center square reached it's full diagonal width, decreased one stitch every row until 1 stitch remained; picked up stitches all around the square placing markers at each corner and knit the first border, the second border and finally the edging increasing at each side of the four corner stitches every other row.

As I wrote in an earlier post I couldn't decide on an edging for this shawl.  Most of the other shawls I have made have a sideways edging (this type of edging is knit perpendicular to the body of the shawl and attached to the live shawl stitches once for every two edging rows).  A sideways edging is very stretchy since there is no bind off; ideal for a shawl. However, it takes a very long time to work even if it's fairly narrow.  I was getting tired of working on this shawl and decided that in this case it would be nice to work an edging that could be bound off.

Also, since the center and first border stitch patterns are very angular, I felt that the rest of the stitch patterns needed to be more rounded/softer so I settled on four repeats of Horseshoe lace from First Treasury of Knitting Patterns as a second border.   Then I chose a simple edging from Knitted Lace of Estonia that I worked for eight rows before binding off.

I've been forever looking for a good looking loose bind off option.

I've read in several places on the internet that the following is a stretchy bind off:

'*knit two together through the back loop, place resulting stitch on left hand needle, repeat from *'

But I don't find that to be stretchy at all; every two stitches are being reduced to one stitch making it even less stretchy than a regular (knit two, pass the first stitch over, knit the next stitch, repeat) bind off.

I was excited to find the solution in Knitted Lace of Estonia, the bind off above needs one step added in order to be this:

knit 1, place stitch back on left hand needle, knit two together through the back loop,
*knit the next stitch, knit this stitch and the previous stitch together through the back loop; 
repeat from *.

Also I modified it a little by substituting 'knit 1 through the back loop' rather than 'knit 1' which seemed to lay a little flatter.

It took nearly two hours to bind off approximately 600 stitches but even so the whole procedure took less time than a sideways border.

Deborah (Rogue Knit on Ravelry) is an awesome lace knitter and her knitting is gorgeous.  She thinks the key is in the blocking (she is an excellent knitter to begin with but careful blocking does make a huge difference in the look of the finished lace).  Deborah wrote a most informative post on her blog about her method of blocking and since I was just about out of Eucalan, I took a short drive to the nearest Walgreens (what is it with Walgreens anyway - there are six of them in the City of O'Fallon which has a population of 76,000) and bought the Pantene (even had a dollar off coupon).  It certainly smelled better than woolwash.

The shawl measures about 50" square and could have been a bit larger, but it's close enough. I'm pleased with how it turned out although I'm not in love with it yet - it takes a while until I love my finished objects - I know that I am my own worst critic, but I think that after spending so much time on a project I'm tired of it and need some distance before I can go back with a less critical eye and think 'that's really nice - did I 
actually do that?'

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