I’ve had a bad habit lately of forgetting to blog about things until they are finished. I don’t want this blog to be all just like, “look at this cool thing I made!” That’s cool and all, but the majority of my time is spent on, well, unfinished stuff. Stuff in a pile on my lap that looks like noodles having a bad hair day. And, since the point of this blog is to share my life and not primarily my stuff… and my life is messy and complicated and time-consuming… I want to blog more about this process that is, well, life.
But for this project, I pretty much failed. It’s finished. You’ll find pretty finished pictures below. However, I took the first step and succeeded in taking two whole pictures of the thing before it was completely done.
As you may recall, I decided to pull from the center of this gradient ball. This was largely because I thought that the center of the ball was purple, like the outside. Apparently, I was paying zero attention. Thus, the beginning of the shawl (which means the largest visual chunk of any kind of center-out pattern like this) would be brown. A color I didn’t even know was in the dang ball.
Thankfully it’s kind of a nice brown.
This was more or less all I knit over our trip to Maryland for the Alpaca festival, and I finished it over our trip to Maryland for Thanksgiving. The changing colors and quick stitch repeats kept me going at an astonishing pace.
People kept commenting how beautiful the dimpled fabric looked, wondering what it would look like when finished, and commenting that I should leave it like that. First off, unblocked it would have made a nice shawl for Naomi. (Sorry child, this one’s MINE.) Second, yes the dimpling is cute, but if I wanted to make a cute dimpled fabric, I would do a Way Simpler Stitch pattern. Are you nuts? No.
I chewed many a fingernail over the finish for this one. When I figured out that the color lengths were very consistent, I actually calculated out how many little stars I was getting out of each color, so I would know exactly when to start the substantial border. I wanted to use every inch of the yarn, since I liked the purple very much, and didn’t want to just have a narrow perfunctory band of it at the bottom. I ended up about as close as you can get; I skipped the last wrong-side row and just bound off on the wrong side. I had two feet of yarn left. You can only imagine the high-fives I gave myself when that bind off was finished.
Pattern review: The Echo Flower Shawl is pretty shamelessly “inspired by” Laminaria, a larger shawl made extra-popular when the Yarn Harlot made one. (The designer gives full credit back to Laminaria, both patterns are free, and the borders are substantially different, so I’d call very above-board.) Echo Flower is smaller and a little simpler; I only had 645 yards so I couldn’t pick something too huge. I am a big fan of the effect of the 9-into-3 sort of stitch; I first encountered and became enamored of it on the Evenstar shawl. It is the designer’s first pattern, and it’s pretty stripped-down, but it sure is prettier than my first pattern!
For those who might be curious, my every-last-inch shawl with this yarn was the larger “shawl” size offered in the pattern.
Yarn Review: Freia Handpaints “Ombre Lace” by Knitwhits was really fun to knit with. It’s wool and nylon, so it’s got a bit of that nylon fuzz that my snobbier self wants to turn a nose up at for lace. But really? Get over yoself, child. It’s gorgeous. The color changes are a bit abrupt, so if you like your gradient more… graded… this might not be your favorite. But I like gradients in all forms. As mentioned above, the convenient thing about this yarn is that every color was exactly the same length. This is very useful if, as is probable, you want to plan your pattern as you go to make sure you use every inch of your precious gradient.
For the first time in a while, this was something I could pick up from blocking and put right on my person. And it happened to go perfectly with my outfit for the 2nd Sunday of Advent.
Enjoy your Advent carols, duckies! My favorite one right now is “Herald, sound the note of judgment” (#70 in the 1982 hymnal). It’s sort of cleverly grumpy. I am writing an Adventy sort of sermon to give in chapel on Thursday; if I post it, would anyone enjoy reading it?