Monday, April 11, 2011

Catch a Falling Star is Born

Dear Mom,
It took about 5 1/2 years from start to finish, but I think it may be the prettiest thing I've ever knitted.
It is the Catch a Falling Star shawl from the book Knits from the North Country.

In the summer of 2005, we took a family trip to Niagara Falls. We visited the lovely Canadian side of the falls and while we were there we hunted down a local yarn shop. The Knitting Habit was appropriately well stocked in Canadian wools. It was there that I found the book and purchased enough Briggs and Little Sport yarn to make the shawl. I tried to put off starting the shawl, telling myself to finish other projects first, but the beautiful pattern and that wonderful wool wouldn't be put off and I clearly remember starting the shawl when school started that fall. As a sort of celebratory treat. I would imagine that 80% of the knitting was completed in the first few months. However. Each row of the shawl adds stitches. The instructions are written out rather than charted and reading the pattern required my complete concentration. No TV. No conversation. No stopping until the row was complete. And the longer the rows, the more time I needed to find to do that level of concentrating. Eventually, the shawl was put away and occasionally brought out for another try. I don't know how long this last stretch in time-out lasted, but I do know for certain that it hasn't been worked on since Patsy came on the scene.
Anyway, after finishing your mohair sweater I was a bit lost there for a bit. Having recently relocated all my yarn stash when we traded the Young Lady's and guest rooms, this shawl was fresh in my mind and I decided to give it another go.
I had a moment of near panic when I discovered that the sticky note I'd been using to mark my place in the pattern had lost that which made it a STICKY note and I needed to decipher my knitting and figure out where I'd left off. I took a deep breath and luckily found my way pretty quickly. In fact I had just over 40 rows left!
As I tend to do, I mapped out some daily goals, figuring that if I stuck to them I could have the shawl off my needles in a week. I did better than that and bound off my last stitch last night! The shawl is currently blocking on the only floorspace that was big enough to both accommodate its size and keep it
protected from a dog who may decide that wet wool is a great thing to nap on. I've not been able to get a good photo of the entire shawl, but once it is dry my plan is to pin it to the clothesline and hopefully get a picture that does this beauty justice.
Here, though, is a picture that shows off the lace work. I have the shawl blocking on a white king size sheet. I've used my blocking wires that aren't really blocking wires (they are stainless steel tig wires from the welding supply) and pinned them through the sheet right into the carpeting.
I've decided on my next sweater project- another vacation yarn purchase.Instead of making the sweater I originally planned for this yarn, I am going to adapt this sweater. If you've clicked on that link you may have noticed that the sweater pattern is not in English. Fortunately, the graphs speak a universal knitting language. I'll be reworking all the math anyway- the sweater is written for Lopi yarn, a heavy weight yarn, and the yarn I'll be using is pretty fine (less bulk,you know). And if worse comes to worse, Merrily Mary Lee sent me this knitting translation website. I am also inspired to finish another shawl I started a couple of summers ago. That one has way more that 40 rows to go, but its another pretty one.
P.S. If you haven't already done so, don't forget to leave a comment here if you'd like to try to win some Starbuck's coffee from Wendy!