Sunday, 27 May 2012

No More Twist

Fans of Beatrix Potter might recognize the title of this post. It's from The Tailor of Gloucester and is the note left for the tailor when his mice ran out of silk thread (twist) to stitch the last buttonhole.

Image copyright Frederick Warne
You can see the original of the embroidered waistcoat and more of the illustrations here, on the V&A site.

The plain part of the Purity shawl took about one ball of Kidsilk Haze. It's easy knitting: the only thing you have to remember is to keep your increases nice and loose so that the edge isn't tight. The shape is a straight edge and a very wide, shallow U, both of which have a flounce of lace added to them.

 Quite a lot of people on Ravelry have just added the lace to one edge which gives a less fussy result and while I was working on it I thought I would have to cast off the straight edge and pick up stitches on the U, which I thought would (a) be a lot of faff and (b) make the lace edge a tiny bit rigid at the changeover. However, while I was peering at finished ones on Ravelry I realized that it wasn't necessary to do this - the U stretches out a lot and it makes a nice line across the back of the neck, with a slight rise at the nape. I'm glad I noticed that because it saved me a lot of work and actually looks better.

The lace is easy enough if you're a lace knitter, a six-stitch repeat which is very forgiving because of the flounced effect created by the row of YO K1 before the lace starts. I'm sure mine is full of mistakes but only I will see them. There's a fancy cast-off which I almost thought I wasn't going to do because I thought it meant turning the piece a lot, but when I tried it it was easy peasy and very pretty. It's a kind of crochet cast-off, done on knitting needles. So I've learnt something new.

The lace edging took about one ball of Kidsilk Haze too, making two balls for the shawl. Except that if you knit it all on 5.5mm needles (as in the pattern) at my tension, then you run out of yarn about a yard from the end.

So I hot-footed it back to my dealer, the Edinburgh branch of John Lewis, to get another ball, but not only was there no more Cream KSH from that dyelot, there was none in Cream at all. Quelle horreur. I did have a sneaky thought about finishing it off in some Kidsilk Night I have which is Starlight, a buff pearl with sparkles in it - if it had been for me, I would have done it without hesitation - but this is for a wedding shawl and one really can't cheat then, at least not when it's someone else's.

However, the sterling Lindsay at John Lewis Edinburgh  reached out to the JL Rowan mafia and asked if anyone else had a ball of Cream lurking and thanks to their eternal vigilance, the shawl can be finished. Claire in Cheadle rang me (it was on my birthday that all this happened, which made it even more exciting) with the right colour in the right dyelot, and organized its dispatch northwards. A ball was found by Sarah at Trafford too.

I have it now but I haven't brought myself to finish the cast-off yet. How could anyone bear to finish this?

As some knitters seek out babies to knit shawls for (you know who you are), I think I shall be seeking out brides just so that I can make another one of these.

Thank you Lindsay, and Claire, and Sarah, and all the other Rowan ladies who checked your stock. I don't know what I would have done without you.


Sea said...

A truly beautiful shawl. Hope the bride-to-be thinks so too.

zippiknits said...

That is just gorgeous, and what a lucky bride. Loved the story of getting that extra kid silk for finishing, too. Close! I love a happy ending!

Judith said...

That is so lovely I might dust off the pattern and have a go. I am just finishing a Travelling Woman in Debbie Bliss Angel which is also a good yarn to get from your local dealer!

Mary Lou said...

How lovely - and you know how I feel about KSH. What a fun story of getting another ball of cream. And thanks for the link to the Tailor of Gloucester vest. I regret on my only trip to London I did not make it to the V and A. Next time!

kmkat said...

Stunning! My son is planning to get married in June 2013 and I have been looking for a shawl pattern for his fiance -- you may have given me the one :-)