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Brewer Burns

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Finished Flower Basket Shawl

I finished my FBS on Friday. It’s beautiful.

Project Stats:

Yarn: Knitpicks Shimmer in Happy Dance
Needles: US size 5, straights and circular
Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Finished size: approximately 60” wide and from my neck to halfway down my ass long.

Let’s start with the project alterations. I knew that I really wanted to make this shawl in lace weight yarn, but I didn’t want to double it like the pattern instructs. I kept having nightmares about not being able to consistently get both loops of each stitch onto my needles without having to maneuver each stitch into place or accidentally treating each loop like one stitch and constantly having to tink back and fix mistakes. Yuck. So instead I decided to use lace weight yarn and went down two needle sizes: from size 7 to size 5. I also knew that I wanted the shawl to be shawl-sized instead of the little bandana-sized thing you get if you knit the pattern as written. I read here that sixteen repeats makes a good-sized shawl to fit just about anyone. So I decided sixteen repeats would be my approximate goal, although I was also shooting for about 60” in width (as I am about 60.5” in height. Don’t laugh at me. When you’re as short as I am that half-inch really counts.) Anyway, I did end up doing sixteen repeats of the pattern before adding the border and the finished shawl is just slightly longer than my wingspan. In other words, perfect.

Now let’s talk about the yarn. Up front I have to admit that this is both my first experience with Knitpicks and my first experience with lace weight yarn. I loved it. Shimmer is 70% alpaca and 30% silk. The silk content gives it a really nice sheen and the alpaca is really, really soft. I recommend it, especially if you’re on a budget. Seriously, if you’ve never been to Knitpicks, go there. They’re prices blow me away (and I have a skein of alpaca cloud waiting to become Evelyn A. Clark’s Trellis Scarf from the Spring IK.)

The needles. Oh the needles. All of my needles (except two sets) are bamboo. Why? My LYS carries bamboo, it’s affordable and I like the feel of it in my hands. This was the second project when I really felt myself wanting sharper, more slippery needles (the other being Annie Modesitt’s Tea Set.) Like aluminum. Or any kind of metal. I wanted the sharper point to get under the teeny-tiny yarn strands, and the more slippery needle because I felt like the yarn was really sticking to the bamboo at times. I suspect the silk was involved in that (but maybe it was the alpaca or more likely, my tendency to knit really tightly.) Either way, the yarn was not slipping the way I’m used to. And lastly, the joins on my circular needle really suck sweaty goat balls. Every time it came to purl the wrong side rows, I spent half the time pushing the yarn up on my needles. Talk about goat ball suckage. So I may be investing in some metal needles here soon.

I really enjoyed making this project. Aside from a slightly bumpy beginning I really had no problems with the pattern. Even more, once I had finished a few repeats the pattern was really easy to remember and the repeats really started to fly by the end of the project. It was truly awesome.


At 1:35 PM, Blogger Moni said...

Your FBS turned out beautifully! I have some shimmer waiting for me that I think I'm going to have to pull out of the 'ole stash.

In the needles department, Holy Threads (On Washington Street) carries Addi Turbos. Highly recommend them!


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