Thursday, January 19, 2012

FO: Circular “Saw” Shawl

This Christmas, my husband and I were up in Oregon, and I was working on my first circular shawl. John’s aunt asked me what it was, and when I answered, she and John’s cousin-in-law both heard me say, “a circular saw”. We all had a good laugh, and in honor of that malapropism I made sure that on the crochet bind off I used a shell stitch to give my “saw” some “teeth”.



The shawl is based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s "Pi Shawl” from her Knitter’s Almanac. This is my first, and currently only, EZ book, and she definitely has a very loose approach to knitting instructions. Strangely enough (being the very lead-me-by-the-hand type of person that I am), I found her way of explaining the shawl to be exactly what I needed without being too much or too little.

EZs instructions encouraged coming up with your own fill-in or pattern adaptation for the plain knitting between increases, and on the 24 row block I tried adding beads, loved the look of it, and decided to continue the beading in the next block, but closer together. By the second beading round I was longing for the plain knitting. :) … So, in the final block, I started to use a stitch pattern I picked up while listening to the Cast On podcast.

It’s a two stitch repeat: slip 1, yarn over, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over both. Worked flat, you purl back, and worked in rounds you knit every second round.

I decided that that was too much work, things were taking too long, and it was time to bust out the crochet hook. So what if crochet uses more yarn than knitting? It’s faster and by that point I was looking forward to done. A few rounds of double crochet stitches and a nice 9 st shell repeat looked great. I did switch back to knitting for a few rounds, plain knit, before prepping for that final crochet bind off.

Once the shawl was finished, I got to block for the first time. Oh, I’ve “laid flat to dry” before, but I’ve had these blocking wires for most of the year and no lace projects finished to try them on until now. And blocking is supposed to be magic, right?

Weeeeell … a few things I learned:
  • First, blocking is awesome for removing the pucker factor from all my stitches, not just my lacy parts.
  • Second, blocking does not fix where you had to drop back and create what is essentially a really big yarn over hole because you somehow managed to double yarn over on your increase rows *somewhere* and heaven above only knows where. If I ever need to do so again, I will try to find a more symmetrical pattern for fixing the screw ups.
  • Third, you can block out your bumpies. I think the next time I need to block this shawl, I shall run the wires through the crochet section under the “teeth” shells and then pin out all 65 shells (I had fun with stitch counts by the end, so I ended up with an extra “tooth”). I might even try bringing them to more of a point.
All in all, I really love how this came out.

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