My mother is going on a cruise through the Mediterranean this spring. When she and my father stop in Rome, they plan on seeing the Vatican. There, to get into it, women need to be modestly dressed, by hiding their knees, bare arms and even covering their heads with handkerchiefs and shawls and the like upon entrance. I thought a small shawl, knit out of some gorgeous sea-colored yarn I owned would be perfect for her. Something about the romance of wearing a hand-knit shawl in the holiest of holy places (according to some) struck my fancy. Plus, I figured it would keep her warm in the air conditioning on board the ship at the very least!
The yarn I used was Skein Queen Elegance, a sport weight blend of merino, silk, bamboo (rayon-based) and nylon. This yarn was luxurious to work with, and while it had a mild tendency to unply itself if you worked it too hard, in all it was a great experience. The finished product has a subtle silken feel to it and the dye job is simply divine. I decided to knit Carol Feller’sCentrique Shawl with it. After my first lace-shawl-knitting experience went horribly awry, I thought sticking to a more simple pattern might be the trick. And Centrique was perfect. Well, almost. My mother is taller and longer-limbed than I, so I wanted to make the shawl as big as possible Therefore, in order to stretch my yardage, I knit it with the larger-sized needles and decided to make the larger version. Oops. I ran into problems near the end. I’d miscalculated and realized that I should have knit the small, not the large, as I was 7-8 rows short of yarn. I decided to scrap the little eyelets that extend out past the triangle and just end the pattern early. I actually cast-off once and discovered that my binding was so tight it was ridiculous, and when I tried the lovely stretchy bind-off recommended for the Cleite pattern, I ran out of yarn before the halfway point! Sigh. I had to tink back two more rows, to the very tip of the last triangle, and then I had plenty of room for the cast-off edge. The Cleite edging was used again in the final piece, but I think it might have been too stretchy. Ah well. Third times the charm, right?
There were also some minor knitting problems. While I was incredibly proud of myself for figuring out how to successfully pick up dropped yarnovers several rows later, in blocking I discovered that my first k1, yo on the RS rows were horrible loose, which made blocking painful. It took two whole hours crawling around like I was praying to Mecca before I had hidden the nasty looseness, and then only somewhat. I found that pulling out my yardstick and using that to help me block helped immensely. The cats were, of course, greatly intrigued – every time I turned around they were closer to me, lying there half-asleep like they hadn’t just crept closer to investigate. The room was blocked off for the night. I could only imagine what sort of grand temptation that would be for them.
I finished this shawl just in time for Mother’s Day! My mother cried when I gave it to her. She knew I was knitting it and was just so overwhelmed that it was for her. Win! Then she used it as an example in her Children’s Story in church. She held up the shawl to explain what children can do for their parents. While the congregation was oohing and ahhing, little Bella, precocious as ever, piped up in a voice that could be heard clear in the balcony, “It has holes in it!” The congregation roared with laughter. Not to be outdone by a 3-year-old, my mother quickly replied, “That’s because it’s a holy shawl!” It was a hilarious morning.We photographed the shawl in my grandmother’s garden, and then when it got too cold to stand out there, we ran inside and I tricked my mother into a photograph. Ha!
I’m exceedingly proud of myself for finishing my first lace shawl. While I’ve done some lace, nothing has been on this large of a scale and this finished product is making me itch to cast on another large lace project! I think I’m addicted. If you are interested in seeing all of the oodles of photographs I took of this pretty thing, you are welcome to check out my Mediterranean Arias project page on Ravelry. And yup, you can follow the link even without an account, since I’m sharing it with the public. Ravelry is so awesome.