Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FO - Melon Shawl - Margo learns that color can be changed!


I finished this shawl in April. Since then it's just been wadded up carelessly in my knitting basket waiting to be dyed and blocked. And because I didn't think it was terribly pretty, I wasn't in a hurry. But I was blinded -- BLINDED -- by the color I wasn't in love with.

When I started the shawl, I wanted a simple lace project and I wanted to use yarn in my stash. I had 3 skeins of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Iris Heather sitting around and it was dreamily soft and I thought the subtle color would do, and I cast on. I quickly became aware that I was not loving the color. But I kept going because I figured I could always dye it and because I really wanted to use up the yarn (I still have 1 skein left.)

When it was finished, I wove in the ends and shoved it in said basket.

But last week I bought two pretty purple tops and was suddenly motivated to use the purple dye I had bought for the purpose of dying this shawl and DO it so that I might wear the shawl as a summer evening shoulder-cover.

Yesterday I dyed 3 swatches and chose the one I wanted. Then I heated up the large soup pot I had bought for this purpose at a thrift store a month ago and went to it with the shawl. I pinned it out with my blocking wires just before supper and let it dry overnight.

And this morning -- it is really and truly finished. And I closed out my project on Ravelry (finally!) and I absolutely am giddy with love for it. It's amazing what a little color can do to capture our affection! I want to giggle with delight! It's so soft and beautiful. *swoon*


Pattern: Melon Shawl with Border from Victorian Lace Today (book given to me at Christmas year before last by my fab SiL, Jenny.)
Needles: Size 7 Knit Picks Harmony circulars.
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in color "Iris" Dyed a richer purple!
Modifications: None.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finishing, finishing, finishing... bleah

I confess, I am not a good finisher. Well, that's vague. Let's say... I get impatient with finishing as I get near the end and often am not as slow and careful as I could be. I am trying very hard to take it slow with Shaker 'cause I am really hoping for a wearable sweater. So far, she is fitting better than I expected. The shoulders fit exactly right. The sleeve length is perfect. I sewed in the sleeves (which was nerve-wracking,) tonight, sewed in all the ends I could that were near seams, and have steamed the length of the body before I prepare to seam up the sides and down the sleeves. I have, however, pinned the pigeonfeathers out of it, so it's try-on-able. My only concern is that the underarm will hit me too low -- which I thought I did the calculations to avoid, but if it was a problem with the way the original pattern fits my unique measurements then I will not blame myself.

I do think that I didn't stretch the button band enough before I sewed it on, and it gaps more than I'd like. On the other hand, I see lots of hand-knits that gap, so maybe it's only my particular sensibilities that mind that. I visited the lovely and inspiring Stone Mountain and Daughter once again and they came through for me -- I aquired some lovely blue ribbon with orange paisley accents that I am LOVING with Shaker. I will be sewing it on the inside of the button and buttonhole bands, so you won't see the ribbon when it's buttoned. I am excited about this, but it is a hand-sewing project which makes me nervous. I'm going to have to sew around the buttonholes because my sewing machine's buttonholer has never worked. I'm going to have to learn... what?... buttonhole stitch?

Everything is in the finishing stage... which when I don't rush, I procrastinate. Finding myself with no projects that actually needed KNITTING to progress, I cast on for something else to occupy me. I used to call this shawl "Dream Shawl." It was from a pattern booklet that was one of the very first I ever purchased and I knew I was out of my depth to knit it. But I LOVED it. And I bought all the yarn in the colorway pictured, (which I have never done before or since,) and put it all together in a bag and it sat. I did cast it on at some point and knit about 4" but ripped it out because I didn't understand the chart well enough.

I found the bag of yarn and thought that this would be a lovely shawl for me to finish just in time to settle in for the rainy weather in Portland when we move. It could be my "coming home" gift to myself and it feels so right to finally cast it on and knit away with total confidence in my ability to complete it well. It's like getting a letter from my past self and being able to answer it, knowing that I heard myself and was able to give the answer that was always wanted. I'm not that far on it, and it's quite chart-intensive (read: not portable.) but every completed row is comforting and feels like Hope.

And when I knit on it, I am able to totally forget the Rainbow Cardigan, and the Mermaid Tail, and the knee-highs, (which I did pick up again and put back on the needles today during the La Leche League meeting park day,) for Rosaline that are waiting for their turn to be knit, and the Zaftig and the Shaker that are eagerly waiting for their final sewing, and the Melon which is holding its breath waiting to be dyed and blocked. They all disappear into the Avalonian mist that is Dream Shawl.

Bobbles are so freaky, aren't they? I do want to someday design an aran something-or-other that has a mad mixture of buttons in place of the bobbles. Whee!