Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I finished spinning up the merino handdyed yarn. I spun it as fine (thin) as I could. There was some neps in this roving, but I tried to remove as many as possible as I spun. It totaled about 350 yds when I 2-plied it. Three-ply would have made it too thick for what I intended it for…….the Swallowtail shawl.

It is so soft and bouncy. The lavender streaks in it are not as defined as I was hoping. If you look very close you might see them. The yarn has been staring at me longingly to do something with it. Everyday I would wake up admiring it, feeling its softness, hearing in my mind the yarn silently whispering “Knit me! Knit me!” I thought what would it hurt to study the Swallowtail pattern? Hmmm, seems simple enough. I went to Ravelry to study how the shawl came out for others. There were hundreds and hundreds of beautiful loveliness. It simply hypnotized me. I did notice, however, that most were using alpaca or a silk blend. I didn’t see too many with a pure wool. I was still determined to use my merino wool for this.

I came home one day wanting to escape the stress of the working world. My husband went to bed early and my son was off to college. I had the whole evening to myself and finally gave up resisting the temptation to cast on.

The cast on was a little different from what I was familiar with but I plugged on. This actually made a sturdier beginning for the shawl. This is a triangular shawl and I’ve made lace shawls before, but as I did the lace repeats, my counts were wrong and I had to rip back. The pattern only gave the total count of stitches after whole sections of rows, which was not helpful. In frustration, I finally sat down and using the Excel software program calculated how many stitches I should end up with after every other row. This also helped me keep track on the number row of the pattern I was knitting. At any moment, I could count my stitches and know which row of the pattern I was on and how many I should have ended up with. If it was off, I could find the mistake with 2 rows and correct it. This was so much better than ripping back 6-12 rows. If I can figure how to embed an Excel chart in this blog I will try.

Here is the start of my shawl……


Amanda said...

I didn't notice the lavender in the skein, but it is very apparent in the shawl itself. Lovely! Good for you using every tool available... I'm glad I'm not the only one using excel and other programs for my craft projects as well as my more academic. Makes me feel not quite so nerdy. LOL

Diana said...

The more I knit and do crafts, the more I am amazed how math oriented this craft can be, especially when you start designing sweaters. It seems that you are always using some kind of math calculations. I have a computer geek family. I guess it fits that MOM is a geek too. Welcome to the club.