Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gracie Shawl - Finished!

Last weekend, I finished the Gracie Shawl. The pattern is from Stahman's Shawls and Scarves by Myrna Stahman. I used one skein of Schaefer's Andrea, 100% silk laceweight. The "Elena Piscopia" colorway includes blue, gold, goldish green, rust, and magenta. This skein of Andrea was 1,093 yard, purchased from Greenwich Yarn in San Francisco. Gracie took about one month to knit, from start to finish.

With so many colors in the yarn, I was concerned they might obscure the lace pattern, but it turned out beautifully. The colors add another dimension.

Since this Faroese shaped shawl starts at the top and expands downward, I didn't worry too much about not having enough yarn. I could stop at the end of any repeat, with enough yarn left to finish the border. Swatching is important in most cases, especially in lace, to determine the finished size and yardage required.

I chose a different border than the one recommended in the book. Instead of the Gracie border, I used the Idella border, which is a bit wider and more "holey" than the Gracie border. The Idella border has the same number of rows per repeat as the Gracie border.

In either case, the border is knit perpendicular to the bottom of the shawl. I used a DPN the same size as my circular needle and knit the border stitches according to the chart. The last stitch of each border row is knit together with one stitch of the shawl body on each right side row. The wrong side border rows are knit plain.

Using a DPN is the fastest way for me to flip the narrow border back
and forth as I am knitting. Myrna Stahman recommends knitting to-and-fro (knitting backward for wrong side rows) to avoid all this flipping. For me, neither way is any faster.

I wove in a few ends, not cutting them. The ends should be left hanging until after blocking. During the blocking stage, they may draw in as the lace is stretched.

As I usually do when blocking a shawl, I quickly soaked the lace in cool water with a drop of liquid soap added. Then I rinsed it and gently squeezed out the excess.
The water was orange! I was concerned that the dye had not properly adhered to the yarn because the water was REALLY orange. I rolled the wet shawl in a dark towel, hoping for the best. I was afraid a lighter towel would be stained with orange dye.

Even with the loss of some of the rusty orange dye, all the colors still looked vivid. Whew. Only the rust color seemed to have softened, but it wasn't dull.

The shawl is bigger than my blocking board, so I chose to block it one half at a time. I threaded two 1/16" welding rods through the two lines of holes that border the center section.
These became my anchors. I pinned the rods to the board, and stretched the lace out to one side only. I had enough room to block the left side of the shawl into a nicely curved shape. After a few hours, I unpinned the left side and then blocked the right side in the same manner.

This is the second shawl I've made from Stahman's Shawls and Scarves. The first was the Susan shawl I made for my sister, which you can see here.


Barbara from Nova Scotia said...

Your Gracie looks beautiful. You did a wonderful job.

Sande Francis said...

WOW! Words fail me. Gee, choose your own superlatives here - beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking, etc. :) I started the Garer Stitch Gracie a few years ago, but didnt care for the yarn, so frogged it. I'm gonna have to take another stroll thru Myrna's book. I can see why you were concerned about the bright colors, but from a distance they really dont show much. Isn't that amazing? Good work.

KnitNana said...

It's just stunning! I agree completely that the yarn adds another dimension's just lovely!

Bev in TN said...

Just "dropped by" to rave about Gracie, 'tis a beautiful thing! I've just ordered a copy of Stahman's Scarves and Shawls and can't wait to get it! Had a looksee at your other works of art and must say Lyra is magnificent!

Susan said...

You're Gracie is beautiful and what a nice write up on how you blocked.

Christina said...

Your Gracie shawl is gorgeous! Isn't it amazing how beautiful the tangled mess of lace knitting becomes once it is blocked? Nice work!

~ Christina

Jessica said...

It's gorgeous. You did a beautiful job.

vatergrrl said...

Not only is your Gracie stunning, I really appreciate the way you document the process of "dressing" the shawl in this entry. I'll have to go peek at your Susan shawl, now!

Knitting Morgana said...

Hi. I find this shawl exquiste, but that Susan shawl in your other photos is, just, unforgettable. I´ll come back just to look at it.

Yvonne in Southwest Virginia said...

Both of your shawls are gorgeous. Don't you just love Myrna's book?

What size needles did you use for Gracie?

knitseashore said...

So beautiful!!!! Thank you also for an explanation of your blocking on the board. I tend to use the floor, but of course it doesnt' have the nice gridlines. :)

Desiknitter said...

This is one of the most gorgeous gorgeous shawls I have ever seen. I should really look at the book, I think I might have finally found a Faroese shawl that I like!