Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gracie Shawl ... and more yarn

I wasn't going to buy any new yarn before Stitches West, the knitting convention at the Santa Clara Convention Center on February 22-25, 2007. But ... the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

After fondling Schaefer's Andrea 100% silk at my
LYS on several visits, I was smitten enough to take some home. It was truly love at first sight. Schaefer's saturated colors are intense in silk, and somewhat antagonistic.

Knit lace with space-dyed yarn? How dare you! Most lace knitters know that a lace pattern can look muddled when using variegated yarn. Why knit a complex pattern of holes with a yarn that doesn't show off the design?

I am daring to knit the Gracie Shawl, a Faroese shawl pattern from Stahman's Shawls and Scarves, by Myrna Stahman. The lace pattern is repetitive and somewhat geometric. I think it is enhanced by the lovely color changes in the yarn.

Andrea comes in a variety of handpainted color combinations, all named for "Memorable Women." The colorway I'm using is "Elena Piscopia." Schaefer's Andrea is 100% silk, 3.5 oz and 1093 yards. The gauge is 8 sts to the inch in stockinette.

Elena Piscopia 1646-1684

Elena Piscopia was born into a Roman family whose ancestors included cardinals and popes. She was recognized as a prodigy by the age of seven and spoke seven languages, played several instruments and composed music by the time she was seventeen. Her father refused to allow her to enter the Benedictine Order, for which she had secretly prepared, and instead she became the first woman to study theology at the University of Padua and the first woman to earn a doctoral degree. She taught mathematics at the university for the rest of her life, yet it would be over 300 years before another woman earned a doctorate there. Her achievement is honored by a marble statue in Padua and a stained glass window at Vassar College in New York.

Now, I have three shawls on the needles: Shirley Paden's Shetland Lace Shawl, the Gracie Shawl, and a sample crochet cape for Kristin Omdahl's line. You would think that I have enough in progress, and that I don't need to buy even more laceweight yarn.

Colourmart has been calling my name for many moons. This yarn vendor on eBay sells mainly cashmere remainder yarns from Italian and Scottish mills.

I saw one that I simply had to try, and the price was right. I won this lovely red cashmere/merino/viscose blend for only $11.00. The weight is very light, even lighter than Andrea, and similar to the weight of the black wool I'm using for the Shetland Lace Shawl.

I don't yet know what this is going to be, but it deserves to be something beautiful. Maybe the Paisley Long Shawl from Fiddlesticks.


Sande Francis said...

Your Gracie is stunning. I started one a couple of years ago and abandoned it cuz the yarn just wasnt right. I thought I'd spin yarn for it, but that yarn turned into my Pi Are Square shawl. :) Now I'm working on the Wool Peddler's shawl from Folk Shawls. I just love those garter st shawls! I really enjoyed reading your blog and I'm gonna keep coming back to see what neat stuff you're working on.


KnitNana said...

You never cease to amaze me! always...
And I've been wondering about Colourmart, too, so I'll be interested to see how you like the yarn! What a great color that one is (and the Shaeffer Andrea!).

knitseashore said...

Hello -- I struggle with the issue of hand dyeds and lace too. I just finished a lace stole with Schaeffer's Anne colorway. The pattern was simple enough to show off the colors of the wool, which was more important to me for this project. Yours looks wonderful so far. :)

Lilli C said...

Wow, great work, your FO's are gorgeous and that paisley shawl from Fiddlesticks has my vote.