on the edge

do you ever think that you have to be a little bit insane to knit lace? all those yarn overs and 2 togethers, the charts, the counting, the lifelines, the stress of mistakes, the heartbreak of ripping back.

and then you get to the edge. in particular, the knitted on border. much preferable looks and work wise to a sewn on one, but destined to drive you batty all the same. i finished the main body of girasole a week ago and the thought of doing a knitted on edge, on a shawl that is 640 stitches around, well, the descent into lace madness seemed a bit much in the same week as seeing ‘black swan’. (not that there is any parallel between dancing and knitting, but if youve seen it, i had a vision of a room with hundreds of lace charts on the wall laughing at me and me running around sticking a knitting needle into my cheek).

but i digress. the main body went into a bag for a week and yesterday, when i was home alone recovering from an australia day that involved pavlova eating, discussions about the nature of australian racism, and the joy of amanda palmer and neil gaiman at the opera house, i pulled it back out of the bag, and took the plunge:

i had to rip three times, but eventually it clicked, and you can see ive managed to get quite a lot done (dodgy pinning aside):

the reason i had to rip is because the pattern says to do the edging on two DPNs, but i didnt have any in that size, and ive never worked an edge like that before. i keep the stitches live and use one needle tip and then work the edging with another needle – see:

(in this case the other needle is a 3.75mm tip on the shortest cable i had). but that in itself was only part of the problem, the other thing was the pattern said to do a double yarn over before a purl, which put 8 stitches on the needle (where there should be 7). then the next row you’re meant to K1P1K1 into ONE strand of the double yarn over. it doesnt say what to do with the other strand, i suspect just let it drop making slightly larger holes than what im getting:

but it just caused me grief, so im only doing the one yarn over, and getting a smaller hole, and thence probably a slightly smaller edging, but i like it:

and thats what blocking is for anyway, right? the other thing that is sending me over the edge about this shawl is that i have decided to enter it in the sydney royal easter show this year. i know theres been all sorts of problems with the royal, and the way peoples things get treated, and broken, which is just awful, and if anything happens to this shawl i will likely hit someone, but im gonna give it a go anyway. i dont expect to win anything, its not traditional shetland and probably not even proper lace, but its big and its pretty, and id like to do something with the show other than run around after my dogs for once!

despite all of that, this project has been an absolute joy. i have not got bored with it for one second, and i love working on it, slowly but surely watching it grow, sensing how much im learning from taking the time to do it right. so its already a winner for me.

k xx


About DrK

researcher, knitter, dog lover View all posts by DrK

12 responses to “on the edge

  • Bells

    oh it’s looking so good! I know you had a few other attempts at circular shawls before this one so I’m so excited to see you’re almost done with this one. I reckon I might have gone with the smaller holes too. Big holes are overrated.

    And yes, enter it in the show. It’s great fun to even just have something in it and to go and see your work (hopefully beautifully and correctly) displayed. That’s just brilliant.

    I never really thought about this shawl much before you did it. It’s been on my list ever since you started it.

  • RoseRed

    Go you on the edging! I knew you’d get it, and look how much you’ve done! Wow!

    And I’m really glad you are entering it in the show, that’s tops! I’ve been thinking about it, and wondering what category…still undecided. Although maybe you’ve convinced me to do it!

  • missfee

    love it just want to make one now

  • jp

    Looks fantastic. The edge is looking just wonderful.

  • Ailsa

    I hope you didn’t really have that hallucination!

    I think maybe you don’t have to be insane to knit lace, but OCD definitely helps.

    Your girasole is absolutely beautiful, I’m glad you’re going to enter it. I understand that knitters are going to be taking the items down this year, so perhaps there isn’t much to worry about damage to your beautiful shawl this time?

    Can’t wait to see it. I like edging, it’s short rows and goes faster than you think.

  • 2paw

    I think it is wonderful that you have never been bored with your shawl. I know I like a film when I never once think even to look at my watch- same thing!!
    The edging looks lovely, so you must be doing it right!!

  • donna lee

    I had quite a time with the knitted on edge of my evenstar. Circular shawls seem endless and then all at once, you’re almost done.

    I love the color of your Girasole. I think lace knitting is good for the soul. It keeps us humble.

  • Anna

    It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’m seriously contemplating entering the world of the lace shawl this year (possibly indicative of my state of mind…?!), but I think I’ll go for a slightly smaller option to start with ๐Ÿ˜‰

    From an earlier post (I’m playing catch up after summer holidays) it sounds like you have some thoughts about matching yarn and projects. I know that you’re trying to avoid ruminating on the past, but I’m wondering whether you discovered any helpful insights about yarn choice last year that you’d be willing to pass on. One of the things that stops me from knitting more is not being confident in my yarn choice, and the last thing I want is to embark on a project and not be happy with it because I made a dumb yarn choice at the start!!

  • Emma

    It’s looking beautiful! I’m glad you’re entering the show, it’s a piece that should be shown off to as many people as possible.

    All the things you list about why lace knitters might be a little mad are exactly the reasons why I shy away from even trying lace shawls. But then I see the beautiful shawls everyone makes and think maybe…

  • shelley

    Oh goodness. Lacework and edges are like a descent into madness sometimes, but when you look at what you’ve done in the end, the final result is usually the most rewarding. It looks beautiful! Well done! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah

    It’s about the right time for certain things isn’t it? Making great progress now and it’s going to be show worthy I’m sure.

  • Ingrid

    It looks amazing, and I’m sure that it will win a prize at the show. I can’t wait to see it there.

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