Monday, April 30, 2007

An Orenburg Triangular Warm Shawl to Knit

I first ordered the kit from Galina Khemeleva last year. I had decided I wanted to knit a shawl for Max's piano teacher. I did the sample shawl in Gossamer Webs (see link in sidebar) and then decided I wasn't wild about the colors that came in the kit. I knew that the yarn was an almost perfect match for JaggerSpun Zephyr, so I went to Centre Hall's LYS where they carry it, and got two other colors of green. My final choices were peacock for the border, sage for the narrow interior border, and Jade for the main body. I cast on. Summer arrived. The project languished. By November I knew I wouldn't get it done for Christmas. I set it aside and resolved to make it a priority in the new year.

In January I finished the first border, then had to frog the entire thing when I showed it to a more experienced knitter and she informed me that "that's not what knitted lace should look like." It's supposed to have visible holes, apparently. I tried again with size 3 needles instead of size 1 needles, and a refresher course on the correct technique of a YO. (I've only been knitting for over 15 years. I'd been wrapping in the wrong direction all these years.) I started over again about a week later.

But then everything started going beautifully. By now I'd had enough experience with the thing that with the proper YOs and needle size, the new border was really pretty. I was excited about it and knit along quickly. When worked slowed down, my work on the shawl sped up. I carried it with me everywhere and knit on it when ever possible.

It's a nice shawl for a first lace project because every even row is plain knitting. It's not purled, there are no places where there's a pattern there after all (I'm also knitting Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Shawl, and I find it more challenging), and the only thing that got hard were the unfinished directions.

The directions weren't really unfinished. Well, they sort of were. Let me explain. When Galina mails you the pattern, she jots on a post-it note next to the first border "Can do 9 repeats if you want a bigger shawl." You're on your own for figuring out how this will affect the rest of the charts.

Just in case you're googling this to solve this very problem, let me help. Do an additional 10 repeats of the second part of each border. Pick up and knit 183 stitches along the right border and follow the pattern as indicated by the chart. You'll have two plain knitted stitches between the second-to-last and last box of the odd rows of the charts. The body will be roughly twice as big.

Here's the part that really had me stumped--for the final top border you will need 75 teeth. It could be 50 (same as with the smaller version) but that will result is teeth that are stretched too far. Mathematically, 90 made sense--and that's what I knit. But when I went to attach the teeth to the body, I realized I'd gone about my calculations wrong. 75 is the right number. Attach the teeth to the body in exactly the same manner as described in the pattern for the original shawl.

Here is the finished shawl unblocked. Unfortunately, the colors aren't perfectly true. They're coming across as shades of blue, and they are definitely not. The colors in this first, unblocked, version, are probably truest.



NOW. Let me say that unless you are exceptionally oversized in some way (e.g., very tall, very heavy) and normally require difficult to find sizes, the shawl is a perfect size exactly as written. The shawl grows exponentially when blocking. My finished shawl (and I am a tight gauge knitter) blocked out to 80" along the top of the triangle. The two smaller sides are 60". Our tiny piano teacher will have some folding to do when she wants to wear this. I even briefly considered sending this one to my grandmother instead, and making the piano teacher a new one, but smaller, but then I remembered that my grandmother is about the same size as the piano teacher. (I have another shawl in mind for Granny anyway.) I started out blocking it on one of the twins' mattresses, but had to abandon that for the floor of their room (they don't play in their room, so their room is actually the ideal place for blocking on the floor. Low traffic, no clutter.)

Here it is, blocked. The peacock in particular looks bluish green, and its not. It's a deep, dark green with a blue-ish tone. I'm a little bummed about the color not coming out right for you, because they're so smashing together. But, you still get the idea of the shawl.



I love it. There are a few small errors. They're genuine errors. I did no fudging. If I found a mistake, I ripped back and fixed it. I've never frogged anything as often as I frogged this. I'm so proud of the work that I've done on it that I didn't even feel badly when I found the mistakes. They're tiny. She'll never notice. And I'm all for that whole "only God can make a thing perfect" philosophy. This is imperfect. But on a scale that it still makes the perfect Christmas gift for the piano teacher. After we took the pictures today, I tucked it away till December.

This gives you an idea of the size. I'm 5'6" and I weigh :cough: enough that I don't classify as skinny.



I don't think the color is too shabby in this photo. That's about right for an in-the-sun photo. (Ooh, I look good, too! Maybe I'll order a copy of that for Grandma Judy for Mother's Day.) If you click on it can you see my crow's feet?



And now, off to blog this morning's gardening exploits. WHAT a DAY! (And thank you, thank you for getting excited with me about the shawl. I am just beside myself about it!)

17 comments:

slawebb said...

Congratulations!! That is one beautiful shawl!! I know it was a challege for you and you did great with it. Where do I sign up to get one ;) great job and great job finishing it by your goal date.
S.

AlisonH said...

Gorgeous, you and the shawl both. Well done!

Telmah said...

Wow, that is really beautiful, and I just love the outdoor photos. The sun and the background really show off the lovely lace!

Judy said...

How Beautiful!! I'm proud of you, too and I don't even know you...

Anonymous said...

Its beautiful. Good thing you don't have cats.
j

Anonymous said...

hey, the little progress bar thingy is lagging.
j

Anonymous said...

When I first saw pictures of this shawl, I was unimpressed. But yours is something TOTALLY different! How gorgeous!! You did a beautiful job!

Arlene said...

How beautiful!

The unblocked version is nothing special -- but WOW once its blocked. And I would never have thought to use those colors, but it sure works!

s b said...

Wow--I'm speechless. Your shawl is gorgeous--I hope you feel proud and very clever.

kristen said...

holy shawls, batman! that's one gorgie shawl! it almost makes me want to truly learn how to knit! *almost*

you look beautiful - i really love the first picture that shows you with the entire shawl

Aunt Charlotte said...

It is just beautiful! Who would have guessed that tiny little scrap I saw last November would grow to such a lovely thing! And the photos do it and you justice. Get a copy for Granny also.

Anonymous said...

Simply gorgeous - and absolutely worth everything you put into it!
gh

Tammy said...

What a great job. The shawl is gorgeous!

Tammy

Writing and Living said...

Beautiful. Great job. You look pretty, too.

Becca said...

Wow. This is so incredibly beautiful. I had no idea you could make something so delicate and stunning. The piano teacher will be overwhelmed.

Hornblower said...

Beautiful!!!!

Elizabeth said...

Alaska, you made an amazingly beautiful shawl. I don;t think I've ever seen anything so beautiful. you should enter it in the county fair! Those pictures are so pretty too, they set off your work so nicely with the yellow flowers in the background.

And you, lady, look lovely as always.