When I first joined Ravelry, I could not for the life of me figure out why so many knitters were knitting lace shawls. I mean, who wears a shawl in this day and age? I have always loved knitted lacy textures, like cardigans with lace and eyelet patterns, but I just couldn’t get with the shawls. Fast forward 4.5 years and I’ve just knitted my first lace shawl…..
It all started when a lovely friend Toni from my knitting group decided to destash her lace weight yarn, and gifted me three gorgeous skeins. Each is a high quality, hand dyed art yarn in shades of blue. This one is Malabrigo Lace which is 100% baby Merino wool, spun in a single ply. Being pure wool it is quite grippy, which is why I chose it, one other skein has quite a sheen, indicating a decent amount of silk, and I decided it would be better to use a less slippery yarn for my first lace project.
The shade is 99 Stone Blue which I just love. I have always loved blue-grey gunmetal shades. As a child, my favorite pencil in my precious box of Derwent pencils was labelled Gunmetal. My wedding dress was this colour also. The hand dyed colour shading in the stockinette section keeps it interesting without being too distracting for the patterned part.
These are my first nupps! (Nupp rhymes with soup). 150 of them. I used the crochet hook method shown in this youtube tutorial. It made it really easy and I could work them in one row, keeping the nice easy purl rows as just purls. I probably could have used a bigger crochet hook, but I only have one (I use it for picking up dropped stitches) so I just used that. I quite like the look of the nupps, which is interesting since I hate the look of bobbles.
The pattern is Annis, a free pattern published in Knitty back in 2010, so there’s only like 7191 versions of it on Rav…. I actually started looking through Ravelry projects made with this yarn and colourway and found a version of this shawl that I like so much that I made my own version. Thanks wackadoodling! Sadly my points along the cast on edge were too tight to get the awesome super long points that the pattern author (Susanna IC) intended, and that my inspiration project actually achieved. This was despite my using a larger needle and a great deal of effort to cast on loosely – but obviously not loosely enough.
Still, it’s really pretty, and light and squishy. I’m not sure how much I’ll wear it in the long term. I think this project marks a shift from being a very product driven knitter, to process becoming more important as well. I really enjoyed knitting this and it didn’t matter as much to me as much as it usually does whether or not I got a useful finished object out it. I actually cast it on on Christmas Day and finished it in exactly a month later, which is super fast for me. At first I found knitting with laceweight rather like knitting with dental floss, I just wasn’t enjoying the feel of the very thin yarn on my hands, I was missing that nice fibre feeling as I knit. By the end though I came to really enjoy it and was petting the project as it progressed.
I’ll definitely wear it to Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat, which I am going to next weekend. I’m very excited, I’m taking classes with both Amy Herzog and the Yarn Harlot! Wearing rather useless lace shawl will mark me outs a Real KnitterTM don’t you think?