Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Paisley Long Shawl Completed!

This is the completed Paisley Long Shawl I knit in Euroflax 100% linen. I finished it shortly before I went on vacation, but just haven't had time to post photos.

The 1/2 lb cone of Euroflax Paris held 1,300 yards. I came perilously close to running out. I even had to unravel about half of my swatch! The pattern said that 1,260 yards would be enough if I omitted the fringe. Of course, this estimate was based on using Jaggerspun Zephyr, the recommended wool/silk blend.

Since I used linen, and my gauge was slightly different, my yardage
required was different. Also, I chose to knit an additional repeat of the center boteh pattern to compensate for the smaller gauge.

I used a US4 needle, and my finished size is about 28" x 80" -- whereas the pattern's finished size, not including the extra repeat or optional fringe, was 29" x 77". I think I made the right choice in adding a boteh repeat. If I didn't, the length would have been around 74".

This is true knitted lace, with lace patterning on both sides. There are no "rest" rows
(plain rows). For me, the pattern was exciting and fun to knit. I enjoyed seeing the lovely lacy flowers emerge in the shawl, and reading the large, clear charts row by row was a pleasure.

The pattern is a garter lace, so there is no wrong or right side. For this reason, I made sure to use a different colored marker at the beginning of the odd rows, to keep my eyes reading the chart in the right direction. When I saw the colored marker, I knew I had to read the chart from right to left (odd row). When I didn't see the colored marker, I knew I had to read the chart from left to right (even row).

Chart reading for knitted lace is a necessary skill. The charts help you to visualize where the holes should appear on every row. If something isn't lining up, you can frog back (God forbid) and fix it by looking at the chart. To do this with just written instructions can be nightmarish.

I used lifelines about once every other repeat. A lifeline is a contrasting thread sewn into one row by threading it through all the stitches on the needle (not the stitch markers). If I needed to rip back, I could go back to the lifeline and not lose any stitches.

The shawl starts with a provisional cast on in the center. Then I knit all the way to one end and bound off. After that, I picked up stitches from the provisional cast on and knit all the way to the other end.

The border is part of the main pattern, so I didn't have to add one at the end. Shetland lace and many other lace patterns require a knitted-on or sewn-on border, so this border was considerably faster. However, the border pattern does take much concentration, even more than the center pattern. The yarnovers are many!

Dorothy Siemens, the designer, writes her patterns impeccably well, and the
charts are large and clear. There are four pages of instructions, four legal-sized chart pages, and two pages of photographs. She gives tips on gauge, sizing, marker placement, joining new balls of yarn, lifelines, fringe and blocking.

This shawl will be my lace entry this year at the San Mateo County Fair. Wish me luck!