penultimate shawl post

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So much shawl.

I had a busy week, going back to my regular schedule of classes and meetings and whatnot, so I didn’t find any time to post last week. Which is really quite alright, since I wouldn’t have had much to post about. The one and only thing I am working on, crafting-wise, is the shawl for my very-soon-to-be sister-in-law to wear at the wedding, which is less than 2 weeks away! Luckily, the shawl is very, very close to completion:

Lump of lace, close to completion

Ok, ok, so that just looks like the exact same blob I posted about last time. But no! It is really so much bigger than it was last time; it’s starting to get rather unwieldy on the needles:

So close!

I’m halfway through the final chart, meaning that I have only 20 rows remaining to complete. Granted, there are so many stitches in each row at this point that a row takes me a good 10 minutes to finish, but still…if I’m serious about it, I can finish the shawl today. Do y’all have any idea how thrilling that is? Not only will I have made something absolutely beautiful for a person I’m very excited about welcoming into my family, but I will also have cleared off the needles so that I can work on something, anything, other than a giant blob of lace! Because don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved knitting this shawl, but if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably know that project monogamy is not my strong point. But I’ve had to keep a single-minded focus (with the small exception of some spinning, just for sanity’s sake) on this shawl in order to finish it in time, because realistically, it’s at least as much knitting as a fairly complicated sweater would be.

Here are a few closeups, just for fun:

Closeup of pretty leafy motif

I really love the look of this leafy section. It was a blast to knit, as well. Just for kicks, here is an even-closer-up view of it:

Super closeup of leafy motif

I love the texture! Of course, the texture is all going to be blocked out once I finish, leaving a wonderful drapey shawl full of leaves, ferns, and flowers. Perfect for a spring wedding!

I’m starting to freak out just a wee bit about how on earth I am going to block this shawl. I’m definitely open to any lace-blocking advice y’all can offer me. If you look at the example of the shawl on pattern page, you’ll see that it’s not exactly a small shawl (my fingers could tell you the same…it’s a lot of knitting!). Our house is not exactly a big house, and much worse, the only room we can really shut off from the cats (because our doors are not so great at latching…something we really could fix, but I suppose we are a bit lazy, and it doesn’t matter all that much when it’s just my husband and I living here!) is a rather small bathroom upstairs. I’m not even sure if the shawl, once it’s all spread out, will fit in there. Eeeek! I’m actually contemplating blocking the shawl in one of the labs at school, if I can manage it. We’ll see what I figure out. In any case, this is the last you’ll be hearing about the shawl until I have it all blocked out.

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10 thoughts on “penultimate shawl post

  1. So close! It’s going to be beautiful. I’ve never blocked a shawl with that shape before, but blocking is blocking, right? Well, assuming you do find a good place to block it. One of the labs, might be perfect. Anyway, I don’t own blocking wires, but I’ve used scrap yarn instead with success. I thread a loooong length of smooth scrap yarn along the top border before I soak the shawl. After soaking and towel drying, you can stretch the shawl out along that yarn as if it were a blocking wire. You’ll need the assistance of pins for the Faroese shape along the top, but it’ll be fewer pins than if you didn’t have the waste yarn there. Then just go pin crazy along the bottom border. Good luck! Can’t wait to see it all done.

  2. Whit, remember that it’s lace in a fine yarn: blocking won’t take more than a couple of hours, especially if you can (afford to) crank the heat for those couple of hours. Lace blocks really quickly because it isn’t dense, and the yarn itself (fingering weight, yeah?) also won’t hold much water in its tiny little clutches.

    I also highly recommend the scrap yarn trick from the other commenter. Although, I have heard from avid lace knitters that blocking wires are great. I’ve never tried them.

  3. I’m not really a lace knitter, but one of hte few lace projects I made was a rather large stole for my mom. It was too big to block anywhere in one piece, so I just did it in parts. You could do halves or thirds…sure it will take longer, but then you could use that small room.

  4. I have blocked shawls with blocking wires and without, I am a fan of doing it with the wires if you can swing it. I find it makes things look a bit better (but this could be psychological). And your handspun from the last post? Marvelous.

  5. I can’t wait to see the finished shawl! Gorgeous peeks so far.

    I just bought some blocking wires and I’m excited to try them out – now, I just need to finish a lace project!

  6. I’ve stopped worrying too much about cats getting all up in blocking lace, unless the cats in question are the type to scratch new things vigorously or pull out pins—mine are too oblivious and not smart enough, respectively. If you have access to a cork bulletin board that’s big enough, you could pin the shawl to it and then stand it up or hang it on the wall to keep it from taking up too much space?

    In any case, I’ll echo the commenters above who said that it won’t take long to dry, especially if you squish out as much water as possible after soaking it. (I do this by rolling up the knitting in a towel, then standing on it. If it’s too dry in the end, while you’re still pinning, you can spritz the offending areas with water until they’re sufficiently damp, then carry on.)

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