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.