Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This must have been the longest shawl-in-progress...ever! All my own doing, of course. I started my Icarus, named Carmelita, a looong time ago. Last summer, to be exact. However, I put it down for nearly a year, and just started knitting again last month. So while this shawl was technically on the needles since last June, I would approximate the actual knitting time at around 4 months (still pretty pathetic, I know). You can read more about the history of this project on my blog. I'm so excited that I finally finished this shawl!

Even after I was done with the knitting, it was hard to picture what I had on my hands until blocking began. Blocking is fun!

This was an admittedly (and somewhat embarrassingly) frustrating process for at times, but I was determined to finish this shawl one day...even if it killed me. Now that all is said and done, I am able to look back on the journey with fondness and a great sense of accomplishment. I know it's just a little lace shawl, but it's a pretty big deal to me.

The end result is so rewarding. I love this shawl. Leftover proof of mistakes and all. I'll wear it with pride.

Thanks again, Miriam, for such a great pattern, and thanks to everyone on the KAL for sharing your inspiring shawls!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hi there,
I'm late to the party -- between the time I e-mailed to say I'd like to join the KAL and the time I heard back and got around to signing in, I've actually finished my Icarus. But it's my first Knitalong ever so I hope it's okay for me to show you just the product and not the process. I've detailed the various stages of knitting this shawl on my blog if you'd like more evidence that I actually knit this myself. Here are the highlights though:

first, winding the Misti Alpaca 2 ply into balls, on July 12th. Someday, I hope someone who loves me will buy me a ballwinder and swift. I'm being pretty proactive about that hope, dropping lots of hints, pointing out where to buy them, what they're for, etc.

The next stage of Icarus really puzzled me. The only other lace shawl I've knit is Birch which starts with about 300 stitches and then decreases. Starting with so few, I assumed I was at the bottom point, but I couldn't understand where the lace would come in. Only gradually, I realized that these stitches were fanning out from an inverted "v" into the wide top of the shawl. And then when I was chatting about this with someone at my LYS, I found that this is really typical of Shetland shawls. So ingenious.

But after figuring out that puzzle, the excitement faded with all those hours and hours and hours of stocking stitch. What kept me going through this stage and stopped me from complaining too much was knowing that it's the simplicity of the stocking stitch that makes this shawl so beautiful to me -- the calmness of the body really sets off the busier "feathers" edging.

Finally, though, I got to the lacework -- challenging but not too difficult to keep track of, and I managed not to make any huge errors that would make me regret not using lifelines.

I finished late last week, September 7th, and then blocked the shawl outside in the sun where it dried in a day. I do wonder if I should have blocked it more aggressively -- I see more pronounced "feathers" on other shawls. Maybe next time, if/when I eventually have to wash it. Here it is blocking:

and even closer inAnd finally, here's the way I'm most likely to wear it. I realized with Birch that restricting it to summer wearing wasn't good enough and found that it folds into an attractive scarf, more than doubling its usefulness. I'm going to do the same with Icarus which is a bit smaller and won't need so much folding. It's too warm here to try it with a winter coat yet, but I think I'll wear it like this through the fall and really enjoy its lightweight comfort. Not the best shot, but not bad considering my left arm is stretching out to take the picture!
So! I've completed a very satisfying project and I've also joined in my first Knitalong. Thanks to the moderators for setting this up and thanks to all of you for providing me some guidance through your posts as I was knitting.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Did you all happen to see which pattern was chosen to grace the cover of the new Interweave Press book, The Best of Interweave Knits? None other than our favorite shawl!