Designing my first knitted lace shawl – part 2

I posted a while ago about the work I’ve been doing on a lace shawl of my very own design, and I figured it was about time for an update.

I’d hoped to be casting off by now, or at least be close to it, but as we all know, these things always tend to take longer than they would in an ideal world.

When I last blogged about this shawl I was finalising the charts and finishing up a final swatch. Those went along without too much of an issue, except when I had blocked my swatch I realised I really didn’t like the edge of the shawl.

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The final swatch with the infamous unsatisfactory edge

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The final swatch blocked. What a difference it makes! Still don't like the edge though.

In fact, it was that edge that had been driving me mad almost from the start. The pattern for the main body of the shawl started off with a stitch I liked (a variation of the traditional Shetland pattern Old Shale) and evolved from there. Of course there was a few stumbling blocks along the way but in the end it came together nicely.

But what to do with the edge? I considered not having an edge stitch, but that didn’t work either. It wasn’t looking good. I experimented with all sorts of variations but they just didn’t look right.

After that final swatch I spend a few more days agonising over it and I eventually realised that it’s true what they say. Less is more. I discovered that yes, this shawl does need an edge, but no, it doesn’t need to be a big elaborate one. One row of lots of yo (and decreases to match, obviously) gives me a lovely holey finish that will block wonderfully.

With the edge finally figured out, I started knitting the shawl itself. And frogged again. And rinse and repeat a few times. I had decided to go with the simplest option for the column of centre stitch and increases, and initially just used yo. I very quickly realised this was not the right look for this particular shawl. It took me a few goes to work out what method of increases to use instead.

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The finalised shawl chart, spread over three pages, and the actual shawl in progress.

And then there was the garter stitch conundrum. Every fourth row is knitted on the wrong side, so that it makes a garter stitch ridge on the right side of the fabric. I wasn’t, and am still not sure, whether to knit or purl the centre stitch on those rows. I’ve gone for knit in the end, but only time (and blocking) will tell if it was the right choice. I probably should have done more swatching.

Hard choices made, by now the shawl is progressing nicely, and actually knitting up quite quickly. I’m still resisting the urge to rip the whole thing out and start over with some modifications. I suspect that I am going to feel this way no matter how much I tinker with the design, so I think the time has come to just knuckle down and get it knit.

One thing I did learn was that I really should have kept it simpler then I did. My stitch pattern is quite long, which means that the row repeat is also quite long. And because not all wrong side rows are simply purled as lace shawls often are, the chart is going to be quite big.

That being said, it’s not a complicated pattern. Only four out of every 24 rows are actually lace, the rest being either plain knit or purl.

Hopefully I’ll get plenty of knitting done this weekend. I can’t wait to see my finished design, and I’ll be sure to show it here!

2 Responses

  1. Nadia says:

    It sounds like quite a learning curve! I wonder how it will look once it is finished and I’ll be sure to read about it.
    Nadia recently posted…100g Hand-dyed sock yarn, 4-ply fingering weight British wool by AbsoKnittingLutelyMy Profile

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