Thursday, 22 October 2009

shetland shawl and yes, jacarandas

Rosered and I have been bewailing the lack of jacarandas up here in our neck of the woods. I glanced out my window this morning to see a few, a very few flowers and some buds. I think yesterday's heat must have finally triggered a response from the tree. It's hard to imagine that in a couple of weeks, these few lonely flowers will turn into a tree totally covered in thousands of these deep purple blooms. The tree is huge with a spread of at least forty feet or more, or about 15 metres. It's tall and we have several like it in this garden and a huge gum tree even bigger as well. They say that spring is here, although yesterday was summer in temperature. After the blooms will be a feast for the bees next door as the flowers fall and carpet the ground. By then, most of the new leaves will have appeared.

Well, who would have thought it! Actual knitting content on a knitting blog during Blogtoberfest! Seriously, there's a limit to the speed my fingers can knit and it can be a low limit if they are sore from arthritis. I've had a couple of spells of swollen, puffy fingers lately and have been diligent in using the Difflam gel which, by the way, is heaps better than the gels available in supermarkets. Difflam is available only in chemists and if you use it, stick to the directions or skin will peel.

So much for the quick cures. This is the Shetland Lace Shawl from Evelyn Clark, the designer. More detail is shown if you enlarge teh photos by clicking on it. Despite my comments above, this is actually quite a quick knit. This shows it from the right side, but unblocked. It looks even more like an alien space landscape from the wrong side. The designer said it would pucker and it certainly did.
I went down from 4.5 mm needles shown a few posts down and used 4 mm needles. The larger needles produced an unattractive stocking stitch which I didn't like. This is fine.

It's amazing the difference blocking makes to lace. First there's a crumpled mess as shown above, then a soak and some pins and effort and voilĂ  - just look at the difference. All those puckered lumps have suddenly smoothed out flat.

The shawl is a quick knit. There are ten rows to a pattern repeat and ten stitches in each repeat across the row. The actual pattern is easy to memorise and stays the same in the shawl. Every ten rows of pattern produces another pattern repeat of ten rows in the breadth of the shawl. So the first row of the next ten also sees a new repeat started across the shawl. That means each new pattern is offset to the ten rows below. Provided the first few stitches are correct, the rest flows almost mindlessly.
Here's a close-up of the pattern. Quite effective once blocked. This is in Bendigo Luxury 4 ply and the colour is called "Ice." I used 108 gm of the 200 gm in the ball, so still have quite a bit left over. The colour in the blocked photos is much more accurate than the first picture. I was planning to overdye this, but will think again about it. It's for a Christmas present for middle DIL and I'm not sure what she'll wear it with. The colour, Ice, looks like the slightly blue colour of an iceberg. It's a fairly pale colour, not white, not grey, not silver.

I'm going to count this as an early start to Bells' Long Lacy Summer II. It's nearly November now, not long to go. I have some Naturally Harmony in a silvery grey which is lovely and I'll make this pattern again in that.


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

I love how the Shetland Triangle looks like a mess of egg crate before it's blocked. Blocking is so rewarding in these cases!

Nice work!

Bells said...

It does look like egg cartons! Michelle is right. I always thought that too.

Well done Jan. It's gorgeous.

Lynne said...

It's gorgeous. Blocking is amazing, isn't it?

Rose Red said...

Lovely shawl, lucky DIL.

I noticed a few blooms on my jacaranda in the middle of the wek (as well as some on the ground already!) so hopefully it won't be far away (not this Sunday though, I don't think!)

2paw said...

The shawl is pretty amazing, isn't it?? I love your drive, and your energy: before my computer went away: no shawl. I'm back, and there's a whole shawl!!!