I have recently fallen in love with the sound of the Cor Anglais and hence had been listening to this song over and over again. Recommended background music for this blog post. ;)
My latest FO.
Thus named because this project required quite a bit of fortitude on my part.
Yet another fluffy and feather-light project. :D
Yarn: Elann Silken Kydd in Ballerina Pink, 2.01 x 25g
Pattern: Kide Shawl by Tuulia Salmela
Modification: Made it one repeat wider and used laceweight mohair with 4.5mm needles. I think I did only 20 repeats instead of the recommended 22 repeats for the length of the shawl. The lightly blocked shawl measures approximately 130 cm x 55 cm.
Afterthought: A lovely little gem tucked away in Ravelry. Simple but absolutely beautiful shawl.
I still find it amazing how blocking changes knitted fabrics, especially lace. That’s one of the wonders in the process of knitting that I’ll not tire of anytime soon. (:
Blocked close-up. Elann’s Silken Kydd is very similar to Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze. The composition is the same: 70% Super Kid Mohair and 30% Silk. A luscious combination. The softness is also comparable.
However, I feel that Elann’s Silken Kydd seems to shed more easily than Kidsilk Haze… This is something I noticed while knitting this shawl. The shedding isn’t bad, though. Just more than Kidsilk Haze.
Well, I casted on for this shawl last Saturday afternoon at a knitout. This shawl jumped all priorities as I wanted to rush this shawl in time for a close friend’s trip overseas. My friend had often admired my Ballerina Zetor shawl and the last shawl I knitted for her in 2006/2007 (which she really loved) was shrunk in a dryer incident (the unfortunate culprit: her bf).
I had knitted her a replacement shawl not too long ago but that did not seem to float her boat. So the quest continues. (:
I decided nothing but the softest mohair yarn will do for this friend who had stood by me steadfast through this very trying year. (The readers who had known me for a while might have noticed that I’ve lost quite a bit of weight earlier this year. That was one of the result of a very bad period in my life. But I’m happy to say that I’ve come out of it pretty well, thanks to the lovely friends I have around me who supported me emotionally through it all. I look and feel healthy now.)
So, after a rumble in my stash I chose this beautiful pink mohair laceweight yarn that is similar to the Kidsilk Night I used for the Ballerina Zetor my friend seem to like very much. I wanted to use Kidsilk Night again for that subtle glittering but it is sadly discontinued and I’m in too much of a rush to order new yarn.
Then I trudged through Ravelry searching for a suitable shawl. It has to be feminine but not too much. Also, it has to be simple and subtle but still interesting. After a long time, I ended up with a small selection of patterns and ultimately chose this beautiful but under-appreciated pattern.
That was not the end of the obstacles. I only had days to finish this shawl because I intend it to be an early Christmas present – my dear friend is flying overseas to a wintry place on Wed for a short holiday. What better chance to give a handknitted gift?!
That means I had only 3.5 days to finish a big shawl.
And so the madness began. :D
I had been knitting almost nonstop the past couple of days. I took this knitting everywhere. To class, to the salon.. Everywhere. The process was made more difficult by the fact that I only have metal 4.5mm needles that are free of any projects (yes, project pile, I’m not speaking to you till you concede.) and the slippery laceweight mohair do not work well with heavy metal needles. Gripping the needles to keep the stitches on took a toll on my back and shoulders, especially when working on the edging.
That edging eats yarn. Do not underestimate it. It took almost 0.75 x 25g ball of yarn. I had to borrow about 2 meters of yarn from a third ball to finish the edging. I’m really glad I have extras.
Another (very obvious) tip: Don’t use heavy metal needles with laceweight mohair yarn. Bamboo or wooden ones will be better.
Last night at 4 AM I was still knitting away while lying in bed. The edging felt interminable. I was really worried it won’t be finished and blocked in time to pass it to my friend before her flight. I took a short nap and woke up again in the morning to work on it. Because I was so tired, I took short naps sporadically, waking up to knit again. I hardly left the bed and didn’t even had the appetite to have breakfast or lunch.
Then at 3 PM, it was done. I was elated! What a wonderful feeling. My back seemed to stop aching immediately. I quickly soaked it, threw the wet lump in the washing machine to spin-dry (without heat, of course.) and then blocked it out using my ‘blocking wires’*. I set the iron to a low setting suitable for silk and lightly went over the shawl to speed up the drying process… And accidentally burned my hand. Things tend to go wrong when in a rush. But that is alright because the shawl turned out lovely. More gorgeous than I had expected. I quickly took the FO shots and rushed out. I passed them to my friend earlier on this evening. Mission accomplished. (:
And that is the (very) long story of Fortitude.
The cherry on the cake: she loves it. (:
One thing to note: I did not do any short-row or shaping when turning the edges. The outer side of the edging is slightly bigger so it stretches out nicely and lays flat, especially after blocking. If your fabric is more tight and you’re doing less repeats (shorter lengths) you might want to do some shaping, though, since there will be less ‘give’ in those cases.
Of course, I took some ‘artistic’ pictures as well. The fluidity of Fortitude inspired me to do a few shots of it in motion. If you’re still not bored of my pictures, you can see more here on my ravelry project page. (:
Another happy FO.
Coming next: A beret!
Or perhaps one of those Christmas knits… Must not lose steam! :P
* They aren’t really blocking wires. Blocking wires are not sold in Singapore. I use some support sticks that are used for growing orchids… I found it in my favourite thrift store one day and decided they will suffice as blocking wires. $2 for 12 sticks that measure approximately 1 m in length each. :D They are sturdy and covered with plastic so there won’t be rust rubbing off onto my knitting when I use this to block.