Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Swallowtail Saga

The Swallowtail Shawl is finished at last. It took far longer than it should have, not because the pattern was difficult, but because I had limited amounts of yarn and needed to stop and strategize from time to time.


The final few rows were the worst part. I had completed rows 1-16 of the Peaked Edging and thought I was home free. A little binding off and all would be over. Hah! Hubris, and all that. When I turned to the pattern to see what sort of bindoff was suggested I found that there were two more rows to be knit. Ack! And the first of those rows increased the number of stitches from 259 to 325. And I had little yarn left. Double ack!



Here's what happened – I knit only one of the extra rows, began the bindoff, and ran out of yarn. So then I tinked the bindoff, the increase row, and row 16, knit the increase row in place of row 16, began a second bindoff, discovered halfway through that I was using the wrong bindoff technique (because of the row I had eliminated), and tinked the bindoff again. Finally I embarked on a purled lace bindoff which looked great. Ran out of yarn when almost done. Tore knitting bag apart and turned up a 2-gram squib of yarn. Attached the blessed squib and finished the bindoff. At the end, about two feet of yarn remained.



The three bindoffs took almost a week. Not so much for the knitting (and the tinking) as for the emotional recovery between efforts. And there was a stressful incident during bindoff #2 where one of my Knitpicks Harmony points detached from the cable and allowed some stitches to escape. To my surprise and delight, I had no trouble recovering them. The boundoff shawl looked amazingly shawlish, quite different from the lumpish mass on my needles. Unblocked it measured 45" across and 22" down the back.



Blocking with my lovely new blocking wires was very easy. Next time, though, I think I'll get some of those plastic squares to use as a blocking surface. The old wool blanket I lay over the rug is fine, but it clings to the knitting a bit and impedes that final stage where one gently encourages the beloved object to stretch just another inch or two. The shawl was happy at 60" x 30", but I persuaded it to go for 62" x 33".



I don't have any glamour pix because my photographer is suffering from a nasty cold. Perhaps when she recovers. But here is Swallowtail reclining gracefully upon the bed in all its glory.




At the beginning I wasn't sure how the three different colors would work out, but now that I've gone through the whole process I realize how different each of the three lace sections are. A different color for each one looks fine.

12 comments:

Marsel and family said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Delighted Hands said...

Powerful knitting! It looks amazing-I admit the colors worried me in the begining but you pulled it off --it is perfect!

beverlyanne said...

A little too much drama, but worth it. Absolutely stunning. I LOVE the colors and the color changes.

Kath said...

Since my cooties delayed the glamour photos - we'll have to take Swallowtail somewhere nice for those shots - I have a couple of ideas.

Sharon said...

Wow! It turned out to be perfection but I don't envy you that final trama.

Little Knitter Gem said...

Aww it looks beautiful - and kudos on surviving (and conquering) the casting off drama. I think I'd have been committed by now, if that had been me!

Luni said...

The different colors really highlight the different stitch patterns. That was some drama on the yarn quantity; it's great that you got it all worked out.

bspinner said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Love your color choices.

Marjorie said...

That is so lovely. I admire your persistence in finishing. I dread running out of yarn, and that does derail me.

Lucia said...

OMG, that is spectacular. Delayed victory is all the sweeter. Love the three colors -- never would have thought of it myself, love it.

Sheila said...

Wow, I like the three colors. That's a very different shawl.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Your Swallowtail is beautiful. You are such a skilled knitted.