Monday, January 10, 2011

Burn, baby, burn

I blocked the Phoenix shawl this weekend and it's fabulous, possibly one of my favorite things I've ever made. I love it with (appropriately) the fire of a thousand suns. But I'm going to talk about that at the end of the post so I don't get carried away and forget all the other stuff.

Since I finished Phoenix I was really excited to cast on for Fiori. I got this far:


And decided the yarn wasn't working for me. I hated it. I hated everything about it. I was surprised because I usually like Valley Yarns, and I've knitted with the worsted weight colrain and loved it. I finally decided that it was probably a perfectly good yarn that was simply failing to live up to my vision for this particular project. This is entirely my own fault for not stopping to think about the qualities of the yarn and what I wanted out of the shawl. While colrain worsted had a very wooly feel, colrain lace feels more like a cotton blend (it's wool/tencel, and since tencel, like cotton, is a plant fiber, I don't understand why this was such a revelation to me. Failure to actually think about it, I guess. Anyway, I was very disappointed and I started looking at other yarns. I was looking at some of the wool/cashmere/alpaca blends and even some of the 100% merino yarns, which I usually shy away from just because I like some silk or plant fiber in the blend for strength. I wanted something lofty and lightweight for this shawl.

I was lamenting my troubles on the 11 in 2011 Raverly group when I remembered this:


It's Sundara yarn silk lace in Tulip, a colorway that she put out a couple of years ago as part of her Flowers From My Mother's Garden series. When I saw it, I wanted it for Hanami. David got it for me for my birthday, but because of the way Sundara was doing orders for this colorway I didn't get it until much later. What I expected was a mixture of ivory, white, and pink, and that does seem to be what most people got, based on the images in Ravelry. But, when you order art yarn from a hand dyer you have to expect a little variation, and what I got was mostly ivory and yellow, with just enough pale pink tint to give it a bit of a pink blush when viewed from an angle.

I didn't mind but I decided it wasn't right for Hanami (besides, I had been given some pink Schaefer Trenna in the meantime that I used instead) so I just sort of put it aside. I didn't forget about it, exactly, but I never quite decided what to do with it. But, I think it will be perfect for Fiori. Not quite as lofty as what I had in mind, but silk is so lightweight, and the color is so perfect, that I think it will make a beautiful spring shawl. I cast on with it and knit through chart A, and all was in harmony in my little knitting universe once again.

However, I didn't get very far on it, because I was obsessed with my cashmere Limestone One Skein shawl. The yarn is so scrumptious, and the project goes so quickly, that I just couldn't put it down. I was actually hoping to finish it by the end of the weekend, but I didn't quite make it. I'm working on the knitted-on edging, and I only made it to about the halfway point. I added another pattern repeat in to the main body, since I hadn't yet used up quite half of my yarn, but I failed to actually look at the edging first. It's not a one-to-one repeat so I'm going to have to fudge a little bit as I go around the corner. The pattern has directions for short rows to knit as you go around the point of the triangle, and I'm just going to have to start the short rows a couple rows sooner than directed to make it work out. That'll teach me to check the math next time.

I'm kind of disappointed I didn't finish. I figure I basically have to finish a shawl a month to make it to 11 in 2011, and how encouraging would it be to have the first shawl done and have the rest of the month to start on the next one? Besides, my yarn for Galadriel's Mirror came in and I can't stand it, I want to start that one so badly. Sigh. Well, it's taking me about 10 minutes per edge repeat and I think I have about 17 repeats to go do the math. I don't think I'll have time to finish it tomorrow but I'm hoping by Tuesday I will be able to finish.

Part of me is anxious and frustrated about the way I have really crammed up my knitting schedule for the next too months. I know it's only knitting, it's a hobby and it's not supposed to be frustrating, and I can really just take things at my own pace if I feel like it. I will eventually get to the point where I acknowledge this is what I'm going to have to do. But I WANT to do it all now!!!

Just to make things even more complicated, I signed up for Stephanie Japel's online shawl design class which begins on Feb. 1. I'm all kinds of wigged out about it, which is so ridiculous it's funny. If it turns out that I am utterly hopeless at shawl design, who is going to know or care?? I need to come up with a theme or concept, though, because I definitely will like the shawl better if I have an inspiration for it.

And now...if I could have a drumroll please....







Phoenix Rising in Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in colorway Maple Grove. Knit to spec except that I didn't pay attention to the beading instructions for the center panel, so my beads all fall a row below where they are supposed to be. I don't think it really matters. Final product comes out to about 7 feet wide and three feet down the spine. This shawl pleases me to the bottom of my artistic soul. It looks more like a field of erupting volcanoes than a phoenix to me, but I love it. The yarn is perfect, the pattern is great, the beads are almost impossible to see in the pictures, but they look like tiny little embers. My only regret is that it didn't occur to me to add some into the triangles before the edging. I should have added more. This shawl looks like Pele herself would wear it and I LOVE IT WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS.

Eat your heart out, Katniss Everdeen.