Hello, My name is Bethany and I'm a Yarn Addict. I've struggled with/enjoyed my addiction for 20 + years. I'm on about the 12th step of my pattern and I have no intention of kicking the habit. I have a large stash (of yarn) and I've been known to share (knitting) needles. My Fiber of choice is lace. Yes, I am a yarn addict, and this is my story...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Do Ye Do With A Drunken Knitter?

Erlye in the mornin'?  Yeah, the whole pirate-y theme really isn't really going anywhere cool, just trying (and failing) to find a clever way to talk about my newly completed 'Shipwreck' Shawl.  I know, I know.....fail.  I'll stop now.....arrrrrr.

Anyways...Tah dah!  My Shipwreck is done!!!

I had wanted to make this shawl for quite a while, and don't really know why I had put it off for so long. It's a great pattern, my first Pi shawl , too!  It has each and every element in a knitting pattern that I adore: lacework, thin yarn and beads!  Yay!

I bought some of my favorite yarn for this, the suggested fingering weight in a soft muted purple by Berroco Ultra Fine Alpaca.  Now the pattern actually suggests buying undyed yarn and dyeing it yourself with a vinegar solution to create a kind of mottled ocean-ey appearance...yeah, not really my thing in this case so I decided to go with a shade that I like, pre-fabricated.

They also suggested buying 5,000 or more size 8 seed beads to put along the "fishnet" outer lace, which I did in a rich amethyst color to match my yarn, but I'll get to that later...

So, I cast on my initial nine stitches on my size 4 DPNs, excited to start this new endeavor.  I tried to put out of my mind the many comments I had read on Ravelry about this pattern being tedious, taking months to finish, having been put on hiatus for an indiscriminate time, blah blah blah....not me...oh no, I wouldn't get weary, I would have this done in no time, those knitters were just whiners.  There was no way I would get bored with this pattern!  Those nine stitches were just too easy!  And the following lacework to create the inner medallion was a cinch....and so exciting, too!

Then I got to knitting the outer lace.

Actually, let me go back and preface my rant with my tale of those 5,000 beads.  I DID buy them,  and fully intended to use them...but of course I'm picky about beading my work.  The pattern says to pre-string your beads, as they are being used in yarn overs (YO) in the pattern.  This makes perfect sense, adding visual interest to what could have been dull fishnet lace.  Well, I pre-strung those suckers....all 5,000 of them.  And began knitting with them.  And realized that in a border of about 80 rows of continuous YO K2Tog, I would have to move 5,000 beads up my yarn about every 6 stitches, which on fingering weight yarn is no easy feat.  AND, to add insult to injury after attempting this for 2 rounds I realized my amethyst beads did not even really show up on my Plum colored yarn.  Sigh.  I decided to cut off the string with all of my beads and continue on after re-connecting my now beadless skein.  Oh well.

Then came the monotony.  The inner lace medallion only led me into a false sense of security in thinking that I would not tire of this pattern.  The consecutive 79 rows of yarn over, knit tow together, yarn over, knit two together, ad infinitum, ad nauseum quickly quelled that.  It wasn't that it was difficult.  In fact, it was mindless...tedious...brain-numbing, one might say.  increasing each round ending with about 1700 stitches.  All of which had to be bound off after finishing what I had thought was a cathartic task.  Gah.

  But in the end it WAS admittedly a lovely shawl.  HUGE, but lovely.  So huge in fat that blocking it was a bit of a pain.  I had to use two whole repeats of the alphabet toddler mats that I utilize to block my projects (and that I utilize to confuse my non-knitting friends who wonder where my baby is, considering my child is now 10).

Here it is blocking:

 It ended up taking 3 weeks to complete, I finished blocking it day before my birthday, and not having to do any more of that border was the best present EVER!

 It did turn out lovely.  It hangs nearly to my ankles, which is a bit large for me but very dramatic, which suits me just fine!  I think next time I will make it again only in a lace weight to suit the small bead size and make it easier to slide up the thread (or possibly add beads at the K2Tog's with the crochet hook method, which I prefer exponentially), and I will probably decrease my needle sizes, both to suit the size of the yarn and the size of the shawl's wearer, as I am only 5'2"!  Oh, and I will NOT wear the second one I make to work, where I snagged it's predecessor a record breaking 5 times on sticky-outey-pointy things in the shop.  For those of you who knit, you know that a snag on a newly completed project produces low guttural cursing, accompanied by trying to pull the snag back into shape, accompanied by much gnashing of teeth.  It's not pretty.

At least the shawl is!

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