Saturday, January 27, 2007

Swallowtail Shawl (Adriana)

When the Fall issue of Interweave Knits arrived I was less than thrilled by the Swallowtail Shawl. Soon afterwards my parents came to visit and dropped a bombshell which left me shaken and upset. To calm myself down I flipped through IK and found myself suddenly really liking Swallowtail (don't worry, my parents' news ended up not being so bad after all and now I am actually quite pleased about it (I just realized this sounded like they're getting divorced when they are actually just moving)).

Back to the shawl. Coincidentally, I had just received two balls of the recommended yarn, Misti Alpaca Laceweight in red (actual colour name is Lipstick Lace; I love it!) from an online swap. I cast on in mid-August and worked diligently on it until early September. I decided to increase the body by 5 extra repeats, which I am very glad I did because it's still pretty small. Of course, it doesn't help that I did it on 3.25mm needles instead of the 3.5mm called for. I ran into a problem when I reached the nupps section; I kept having the wrong number of stitches. I just couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. A phone call to Heather revealed the problem: I had misread the part of the pattern where it says to k1, yo, k1, yo, k1 in the same stitch!! Needless to say this was a major problem. I was disheartened and put the shawl aside. I tried to come back to it several times on the following months but the nupps were driivng me crazy!! I figured I was going to wash my hands of it until in mid-January when I got the brilliant idea to finish the shawl in time to wear on Valentine's Day. After that I pretty much worked exclusively on the shawl until my triumphant finish.

Yesterday I showed you the pre-blocked, aka Ramen noodles, pictures. Today I can show off the true beauty of this shawl.
swallowtail -scrunched

swallowtail - blocking wires

swallowtail - window
Held up in front of the window

swallowtail - back
Shot from behind

swallowtail - senorita
This picture makes me feel like a senorita!

Now that I have shown off the glory of this shawl, I need to point out the problem. If you look closely you'll be able to see that the spine veers to the left amid the nupps. I know exactly what caused this to happen; there were a few times when I had the wrong number of stitches so I decreased every other row until I had the right number. I thought I was being so clever however, since this only happened on one side of the spine, it caused the lovely detour that we see. Normally I'm a perfectionist but I'm just so happy to be done that I'm refusing to consider doing anything about it. As SpillyJane said, now it's a design element. (Hey, Spilly, when are we going to get to see the blocked pictures of your shawl?)


Samantha said...

Just refer to it as a modified swallowtail shawl. Or do some research and find some other bird and name the modified pattern after it ;-) It looks great and you do look a little Spanish in the one shot. Olé!

Heather G. said...

The colour is perfectly perfect for Valentine's Day! I know how happy you must be to have this one DONE.

Looks fabulous!

Michael said...

At your current rate of shawl production you will have like 20 by the begining of 2008......

spillyjane said...

very fancy, lady! i'm off to start soaking my Shetland Triangle right now!

fabricfan said...

Your shawl is beautiful and looks great on you.

Rachel said...

Beautiful! Is there anything more rewarding than blocking lace? It's magic no matter how many times you do it.

Great color, by the way

Hapto said...

huh.. neat how you used those linking foam blocks to make a blocking surface... I'd been trying to figure our how to block things in an all hardwood floor apt.... and i have a few of those in my basement! YAY! and beautiful work on both shawls!