Saturday, September 15, 2007

Icelandic Lace - Ready for Winter

The beginning of fall is always a difficult time for me. It means that the glorious warm sunshine of summer is coming to an end, and the frigid gloom of winter is about to descend after a brief autumnal interlude. On my personal calendar we have two months each of spring, summer, and fall, and then six months of winter. O that it were reversed!

This year I greeted fall, which begins, according to my personal calendar, on the first of September, by knitting the Icelandic Lace Shawl. The yarn isn't terribly heavy, so it isn't difficult to knit even when the weather is still warm in summer's last gasps. The neutral colors – cream and several shades of gray and brown – are certainly reminiscent of stark winter landscapes, a real contrast to the spring-like light green and yellow of the Bee Fields Shawl!

This shawl was finished in record time, but I'm not sure why. The pattern wasn't difficult, though I did make several mistakes, and despite some serious tinking there are still a few which will remain. It may just be that I was able to spend more time on it than usual because it didn't require heavy concentration.

Here are a couple of before and after (blocking) pictures. You can see why the errors didn't show up clearly in the "before" state.

(The pinkish and yellow colors in the photo on the right are from the blocking squares under the shawl and not the shawl itself.)

I did make several changes to the pattern. About half way through I became nervous that it would be too small. Because of the interesting construction it was tricky to figure out if I could just add some extra rows, but in desperation I tried. I also switched from #6 to #7 needles at the same time. In the "edging" part (the edging is a rather wide section beyond the wide white band) I added a couple of extra rows to the brown bands and then repeated the medium and dark gray bands (though narrower than in the first part). (I also used the dark gray for the final bind-off instead of black.) I did the optional edging at the top in order to obtain another inch, but I think it finishes off the shawl nicely.

After all that, the final dimensions are very close to the dimensions given in the pattern (76" x 37"). That seems odd, because I used the yarn called for in the pattern, I was using #6 needles instead of the recommended #4's, and my gauge is generally average (though I confess to not swatching this time). It may be that a more aggressive blocking would gain another inch or two in each direction, but that decision will have to wait until it is completely dry and I can try it on.

Even if it is a little smaller than I would like (and how often that seems to be the case!) I expect to get a lot of use out of this shawl when the Season of Suffering arrives this year.


ambermoggie said...

I love the finished item:)

star said...

Your shawl is beautiful! I am using a pink color on mine, tho not where your shawl is pinned.I am going to add extra rows too. Thanks for sharing, Star