Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Molly Nosegay Shawl

In the midst of my "race to the finish"---trying to finish projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while---I took time out to test knit another shawl. This shawl, called Molly Nosegay, was designed by Jennette Cross. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Molly Nosegay is what Ms. Cross calls a "combination shawl." It is based on what many knitters call "the Pi formula," which governs the size of circular shawl (i.e., the number of stitches must double when the radius of the shawl doubles). Molly Nosegay is semi-circular, but the same theory applies: when the radius doubles, the number of stitches along the bottom edge of the shawl must double.

Nerdy engineer that I am, I found Ms. Cross's method of sizing very interesting, and I love the shape of the shawl. The shawl is knit from the top down, starting from a garter tab and ending with a seemingly-infinite 577 stitches.

This is not a shawl for the faint of heart, nor for anyone who does not like to read charts. Molly Nosegay has twelve charts: some of them are only three rows long, others are twenty rows long. One of the short, three-row charts is repeated five times. The charts are well sized. My aged, never-very-good eyes did not have difficulty reading the charts. Even better, once the first few rows of a pattern section are established, it is easy to read the rest of the pattern from your knitting.

My shawl was knit with 2.76 skeins (1247 yards) of Dream in Color Knitosophy yarn in the FK85 Discover colorway. As can be seen in the photo below,  my three skeins were not all the same color: the first one (the upper back) was a lighter blue than the other two.
I like the effect of the color gradations in this shawl. If, however, I had been knitting something else---a sweater, for example---I would have been very upset by the color change. My three skeins of yarn were not bought at the same time, nor in the same place. Remember this example next time you are judging the amount of yarn needed for a project!

Molly Nosegay is a big shawl. Mine required 1247 yards of yarn, but the designer used around 1000 yards. My shawl, which was blocked just enough to show the lace pattern (i.e., not aggressively at all), is a whopping 118 inches by 45.5 inches; hers is 91 inches by 25 inches. The other test knitters are still working on the shawl, but one who is nearly finished is projecting yardage and size like mine.

I was surprised at how quickly I knit this shawl. My husband, who rarely pays attention to what I'm knitting unless it's for him, was flabbergasted. I started Molly Nosegay on 27 October and finished on 08 November. But it was the only project I worked on during that time.

Molly Nosegay is the twentieth shawl I've knit this year. (My goal was 11, and I  reached that mark in late June.) I am only counting shawls knit from start to finish this calendar year, so the As One stole and Girasole are not included. I've also knit six pairs of socks.

At the moment, I have two shawls in progress, and I am about three-quarters finished with a sweater---a cardigan---for my oldest grand-nephew.

Have you had a productive knitting year? Have you started planning next year's knitting?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Finished Object: Girasole

As the year winds toward its end, I'm trying to finish up several projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while. The most recent garment finished is the Girasole Shawl by Jared Flood. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Girasole is a large circular shawl, which can also be knit (with worsted or aran weight yarn) as a blanket. I knit my Girasole to be a shawl, using Noro Kureyon Sock yarn in the S40 colorway. The shawl required 3.6 skeins (1663 yards) of yarn. I did not like the "pointy" edging in the pattern, so I improvised another knit-on edging with fewer points. When I was blocking the shawl, I realized why Mr. Flood had used the pointy edging. More points (640 of them in the edging in the pattern) would have made blocking the shawl much easier. Below is a photo of my shawl during blocking.

The shawl is big---big enough that I had to put my blocking boards around the perimeter because I didn't have enough of them to lay beneath the shawl. My improvised edging had far fewer points than the edging in the pattern, and as a result, it was more difficult to block. My shawl is an oval, not a circle. (Major axis is 75 inches, minor axis is 70 inches.) The difference is not apparent when I'm wearing it, but if I knit this shawl again, I'll use the edging in the pattern.

I love the play of colors in the shawl. The edging pulls all the colors together, show- casing them in a way the shawl, for all its beauty, does not.

Girasole is a fun and interesting knit, but it isn't a quick project.  I started my Girasole last year in mid August, worked on it fairly steadily until October (through Chart F), then ignored it to work on holiday gifts. I picked the shawl up again in September, worked on it until I was ready to start the edging, then set it aside for  a couple weeks until I had mentally worked out the edging pattern. Once I decided on the edging, I finished the shawl in less than a week.

What are you knitting? Are you finished old projects or starting new ones?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Finished Objects!

I finished other three knitted objects in October, in addition to the Sabrina Shawl, which I blogged about last time. One of the FOs (finished objects) started as a shawlette, but ended up being a shawl; the other was a fun, I-can't-resist scarf; the final one was my it-seems-like-it's-taking-forever Girasole.

The shawl-shawlette I call the Shoulder Shawlette or Lorna's Shawlette, because it was designed by Lorna Miser as a practice piece for her Grandma Helen's Lace Shawl. Lorna did a workshop at my LYS (local yarn store) in mid-June. Before the workshop, everyone had to knit the body of the shawlette. How to knit the lace edging and crochet and bead the edging  were the subject of the workshop. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Since this was supposed to be a small practice piece, I chose a skein of yarn I didn't particularly like, due to green (which was, initially, the main color I saw). As I was knitting the body of the shawlette, however, all the lovely purples and greys appeared, making the shawlette a lot more interesting. During the workshop, I got most of the lace edging done. After the workshop, those gorgeous colors haunted---or, perhaps, taunted---me. Was this shawlette going to remain a small practice piece, or was I going to do more with it?

After two months, I finally decided: the shawlette was going to become a shawl. To make that transformation, I had to rip out the lace edging I'd knit, knit a larger shawl body, then reknit the lace edging. I did two pattern repetitions of the lace edging---and ran out of yarn near the end of the next to last row.

Catastrophe! I had chosen this yarn for this project because I had only a single skein. I dug through my stash, looking for more Kureyon Sock yarn, and finally found a skein that had a similar purple and a green that was close in color to the original skein. I'm delighted with the final result, shown above.

This was my first beaded shawl, my first crocheted anything in 20 years, and my first significant redesign of someone else's pattern. The shawl was knit with Noro Kureyon Sock in the S188 colorway, with the final row and crocheted edging in Kureyon Sock S219. I used 527 yards, and the shawl is 64 inch by 26 inch, excluding the crocheted edging.

I started the shawlette on 13 June, worked on it through 15 June, then set it aside. On 24 September, I picked it up again, increased the size, etc., and finished the shawl on 12 October.

My second finished object in October was a fun, I-can't-resist scarf. The yarn is net, with loops at one edge through which one "knits." I saw someone at my LYS starting one, and it looked fun. It would have been more fun for an English knitter; I'm a Continental knitter, and I had to "knit English" for this project. Even so, it took me only a couple hours to complete the scarf.

The scarf was knit with Filatura di Crosa's Moda yarn in colorway 18. The pattern can be found on the Filatura di Crosa website, under Moda Scarf or Ruffled Spiral Scarf (its official name). I started this scarf on 12 October and finished on 17 October. It requires one skein of Moda, which is about 16.5 yards, and the resulting scarf is about 54 inches long. I did not block my scarf.

My third finished object in October was a Girasole Shawl. This shawl's pattern was designed by Jared Flood.  I started my Girasole last year, worked on it fairly steadily for about three months, then set it aside while I tried to decide on an alternate edging. (Do you see a pattern emerging here?) I haven't blocked the Girasole yet, so I'll blog about it in a few days when it's ready for viewing.

What have you been knitting? As you can see, I'm been trying to finish up some older projects before starting new ones.


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