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Brewer Burns

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wrapping Up Ene's Scarf

After spending fifteen or twenty minutes crying in the bathroom stall at work yesterday afternoon, I came home and finished Ene’s Scarf. Actually, I came home, did the dishes, poured myself a large glass of red wine, and then finished Ene’s Scarf after convincing Stephen to bring me the new skein of yarn from the kitchen. And I felt bad the whole night. I felt bad as I ate dinner, I felt bad as I put the dishes away and as I loaded the dishwasher up with dirty dishes, I felt bad as I watched Monty Python and knit, and I felt positively pissed off as I searched for a cardboard box big enough to block the scarf on. I still, in fact, feel bad this morning and am wondering if maybe I should have another cry in the bathroom.

After I had managed to pick a fight with Stephen about the lack of a large enough cardboard box, and he had gone out to the garage and found one (which made me feel pretty sheepish about picking the fight with him) I pinned out the scarf. I started with the three points of the triangle, then progressed to each point along the sides. As I pinned and spritzed, pinned and spritzed, I watch the shawl (really, it’s too big to be called a scarf) take shape. From a blob of silky, shiny yarn bundled into clumps, it became what you see in the pictures. A work of lace. A beautiful, shimmering (okay, maybe not actually shimmering) work that came from my very own hands. I don’t know of any other act in knitting that is more breathtaking than pinning out a piece of lace knitting.

After I got into bed, turned out the light and closed my eyes to sleep I felt bad again. A weight of depression and fear compressed my chest, making it hard to breath. What if, I thought, instead of working at job where I spend a quarter of an hour crying in the bathroom on a Tuesday afternoon, I had a job where I rarely felt the need to cry?

Ene’s Scarf Project Stats:

Pattern: Ene’s Scarf from Scarf Style
Yarn: Kaalund Enchante, 100% silk, in Moss
Needles: Size 6 circular (to begin,) then size 6 straights
Mods: Yarn substitution

The pattern is well written, clear and mistake free. You cast on all the stitches along the bottom two sides of the triangle (375 stitches), work the border, then work the center panel, decreasing four stitches each right side row of the center panel, until you have nineteen stitches left. Then one more wrong side row is worked and one stitch is decreased, leaving eighteen stitches. You then use the three needle bind-off method to graft together the remaining stitches. This is only the second lace shawl pattern that I have knit and the first time that I have cast on 375 stitches for any project. On the whole, I think I like this method better than starting with a small number of stitches and progressively increasing. As you work the shawl there is the illusion that you are knitting faster and faster because the rows are getting shorter and shorter. This was particularly important here because you really just repeat two rows over and over again.

This is my first experience with a 100% silk yarn. I bought it as a birthday gift for myself from A Grand Yarn. I had a really good experience with this yarn. It’s not as stretchy as wool or alpaca, but it had enough give that it was pleasant to knit with. It’s also a very smooth yarn, so it didn’t catch on my bamboo needles. I did notice as I worked with it that it tended to absorb some of the perspiration from my hands and get a little more grabby on the needles. I also had a bad experience when I had to frog my first cast on. It unraveled fine until I got to the cast on edge and then it started to actually stick to itself in some kind of yarn-meld. I suspect that this happened because I used a knitted cast on and the silk is a protein fiber, which naturally would have some stick to it. So, I would really recommend that you either use a different cast on if you’re afraid of having to frog, or make sure that you cast on correctly the first time. Lastly, I did notice that after I spritzed the yarn with water it gave off a kind of vaguely fishy smell.

As soon as I could, I transferred this project onto straight needles because the joins on my Clover bamboo circulars are just terrible. They don’t really bother me when I’m working with bigger, more slippery yarn, but with lace weight silk every single stitch has to be eased over the join and up onto the needle. Luckily, the number of stitches decreased so rapidly that I was able to put it onto the straights pretty early on. I know that I should probably buy new needles with better joins for these kinds of projects, but I’m cheap. That’s money that I could spend on yarn if I wasn’t spending it on new needles. Maybe for my next big lace project I will though.

Finally, since I substituted a yarn that was of a considerably smaller circumference than the recommended yarn, I expected to have a scarf that was really neckerchief sized. Instead, I have a really open, airy shawl that is at least as big as my FBS, if not bigger, and I’m quite pleased with that.


At 1:59 PM, Blogger Moni said...

Wow! it looks fantastic! great job!

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Soulknitting said...

Your Ene is totally beautiful!! I'm going to start one as soon as I get my yarn. I have some wool coming but I keep trying to figure out if I can get a Ene out of one hank of Hand Maiden Sea Silk. It's knit on smaller needles and the hank is about 50 yards short of the the 700 yards needed.

Love the colorway you chose also!


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