Thursday, July 15, 2010

A New Scarf

I finally finished this scarf/shawl (Juno Regina, made in Misti Alpaca laceweight, 2 skeins) just before we left for holidays. The extended warm weather invited blocking, so after soaking the scarf in a Eucalan bath, I spent 20 or 30 minutes running a strong thread 'round the edges, then pinning it into shape. The interlocking foam pads we got last summer for a sitting-up-and-beginning-to-crawl baby are productively re-purposed as a great base for holding the pins. Of course I layered an old towel underneath to soak up excess moisture.Between the fineness of the laceweight and the warmth of the sun, the drying happened quickly and the lace pattern emerged clearly into its charming filigree out of the looks-like-ass (Yarn Harlot official knitters' terminology) confusion of yarnovers and knit-three-togethers of its pre-blocking self.

The brisk wind that speeded the drying along also littered the blocking pad and shawl with all sorts of organic material from the surrounding trees, various small cones and seed pods especially, but these shook off easily once the dried shawl was unpinned.
Although I made this myself, I have to eschew any false modesty right now. I think this is absolutely gorgeous!
And it's not really my own horn I'm trumpeting, as I simply executed the stitches, one after another. Credit for the gorgeousness has to go to the artistic vision and the mathematical patience and precision of the designer who first imagined, then graphed, this pretty piece, Miriam Felton. (I've also made Miriam's Icarus shawl, also a beautiful pattern)
Alpaca has so little "memory" or bounce or body or whatever you want to call it, that I'm wary of it for sweaters unless the pattern is well-designed with the fibre in mind. But I absolutely love it in a scarf, especially in laceweight. Ethereal as this scarf appears here, it will offer considerable warmth this winter, yet if I choose to wear it loosely wrapped, it will drape perfectly without over-heating me. Not that I'm impatient to try it out -- I'm quite enjoying being warmed by the sun for now.
What about you? Finished any satisfying projects lately? Or are you also simply enjoying the sun's warmth and basking in summer?

21 comments:

  1. That is insanely gorgeous!!! Incredible work, and the color is divine!

    I've heard of blocking for sweaters, but never realized what a complicated process it is.

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  2. Beautiful job -- so pretty and love the color. I just finished knitting cloud chaser and will also have to wait to wear it until the fall, but no rush. It seems like this warm weather has taken a long time to arrive so I'm going to soak it up while I can before it snows. Again, gorgeous work. Will you start a new project or take a break for a while?

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  3. Beautiful! That colour is gorgeous too. Patricia

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  4. A pink baby sweater for Isla...a Debbie Bliss simple pullover...no new projects until fall.
    Your shawl is exquisite!

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  5. Mater, your scarf is a piece of art. I´d be very worried when and where I´d dare wearing it. I´d keep it on display.
    I´m pleased to have cleared the top floor of our barn. All junk has been thrown away. I have sold nearly everything not in use, at a flea market. I have also walked straight to secondhand shops and antique shops and placed my extras for sale. So Feng Shui is in a quite good condition at our place just now.

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  6. Man, it's gorgeous! False modesty is overrated. I say, go into business :-)

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous. We just saw an exhibition (at the Textile Museum) of Russian Orenberg shawls, also lace- but only natural beige and gray. This takes that inspiration into colour and what a evocative colour.

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  8. Thanks, Jillian!
    Pseu: Lacework takes a bit more work than sweaters to block simply because the "holes" that define the pattern depend for articulation on the tension of the surrounding stitches -- you can't really see the pattern until it's stretched into place.
    Karin: I'll have to check out cloudchaser -- I'm with you on soaking up the sun while we can! As for other projects, I'm working on a baby dress (gift) and a pair of men's socks (also a gift) -- I tend always to be juggling at least 3 or 4 projects.
    Patricia: Thanks! I really like the colour and know I'll wear it lots.

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  9. Hostess: Aren't baby knits great? So quick to knit up -- almost instant gratificaiton!
    Metscan: Thanks! so far, knock on wood, I've been very lucky and have managed not to lose any of my handknit lace scarves.
    I'm so impressed with your efficiency in cleaning out the barn -- what will you do with all this fabulous newfound space?
    k-line: Thanks! As for going into business, it would be about as profitable as selling handmade bras -- I don't dare calculate how much I'd have to charge even to earn $3 an hour!
    Duchesse: Oh, I would have loved that exhibition -- I've seen the Orenburg shawls in books, exquisite!

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  10. Beautiful! I've added that to the list of projects in my queue. Are you on Ravelry.com? Great site.

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  11. L: Thanks -- I think you'd enjoy working this scarf -- just enough complication to make it interesting, with enough stocking stitch for TV-knitting. And yes, I've been on Ravelry for about two years -- it's really useful, isn't it? Feel free to "friend" me there (as Materfamilias).

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  12. Really beautiful and I love the color. My mom tried to teach me to knit and crochet. Unfortunately my stitches were always crooked. BTW I sent you a friend request on Facebook.

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  15. It is lovely and I suspect all the more enjoyable to wear when it is all your own work.
    I feel I have achieved very little of late, my painting has stopped because the room I paint in is way too hot, I am hoping to kick start my drawing in Scotland and have been mulling over some photographic images for a blurb book, so much to do, so little time.

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  16. Julianne: Blocking can be a great antidote to crooked stitches!
    Thanks for asking me to be friends on FB -- didn't recognize the name, but now I realize that's where I know the face from -- your blog (which, sadly, I can't access anymore)
    But I decided about a year ago that I'm going to keep FB for people I've met IRL, partly to preserve some borders between my professional self and my blogging self -- hope you understand.
    Alison: I'd love to see you put together a book of your photographs -- I'll be first on the buyers'list!

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  17. Oh it is so lovely. I must knit a shawl. Although I will admit I am terribly afraid I would bollux it up at the moment so perhaps best to wait. I've knit alpaca sweaters and the yarn is so ubiquitous now, but I really think I prefer a shawl; oftentimes an alpaca sweater is just too much.

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  18. Sorry for posting three times, my computer is doing crazy things. Yes, I do understand, and I probably should be more cautious. I shut my blog down because I haven't been writing, and I know how frustrating it is to me when I like to read a blog and the writer doesn't post. Yes, I am one of those people! So, I may start it up again, just didn't want to lose the space and shut it down permanantly. Wish there was a way to say blog is on hiatus! It don't like that the only option says open only to invited readers.

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  20. Mardel: I must admit there was some bolloxing up with this shawl -- a fall start last year, some frogging, some re-starting. Then it got put down for various reasons for several months and had to be re-thought when I picked it up again. Overall, the pattern's fairly straightforward, but as you know, laceweight, yarnovers, and knit three togethers mean that without a lifeline (which I think a brilliant idea, but never actually execute) there's no coming back easily from any mistake.
    Julianne: Thanks for understanding. I do miss your blog, but have had those moments myself of wondering whether I should be doing this or not. And yes, it's too bad blogger can't provide a simpler, clearer solution for that situation. I'm glad you stay in touch through the occasional comment, at least.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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