Friday, 2 September 2011

FO: Beaded Swallowtail Shawl

Swallowtail Shawl - Evelyn A Clark
2-ply lambswool "Sea spray" from Judith Glue
E Beads - 4mm purple from the Craft Factory
4.5mm needles for the CO; 3.5mm for the body; 0.75mm crochet hook to strand the beads
Blocked: 62"x32"

I followed the pattern as written with a few modifications: beads instead of nupps, attached with a crochet hook while knitting; 19 repeats of the blossom lace chart; I was running out of yarn and left off the border lace chart.

I really enjoyed knitting this, as I did her Flower Basket Shawl before. I find the way she charts her lace to be a little odd: I get that it's the simplest way to write out the chart but, for me, it's not charted in a way that visually imparts the lace. Looking at the chart, I don't see how the finished lace will look. Her lace repeats are so elegantly simple that I can knit each row based on how the previous row looked, pausing periodically to count the blossoms up the center, but I have to get a couple repeats in to see how the chart relates to the lace.

Is this a criticism? No. Rather it is a statement of preference based on how charts work for me, and the way I see charts. As another preference, with lace that is "RS: work pattern, WR: k2, p across, k2", I am frustrated if the purl rows are shown in the chart. It breaks the pattern up in a way that makes it more difficult for me to read. For other people, I'm sure it's very helpful. Other people may find that my ideal, having the chart written out with a few repeats show and a red box around the basic repeat, would be needlessly confusing. So no, it's not a criticism, just an observation on my experience reading this particular chart to knit this particular chart.

I also tend to dislike instructions for increasing the size by using a yarn and needles that give a different gauge. Yes, obviously I can do that, but what I really want to know is the multiples needed to get from one chart to the next smoothly. An advantage of knitting a popular shawl like this one (over 9000 projects on Ravelry!) is that for most simple modifications like the ones I've done, someone has already worked out the details. I got the "19 repeats" figure from the hive-mind, without having to work it out myself - a particular bonus as, as I mentioned, the chart isn't visually ideal for me.

A bonus picture of Oliver who, when I spread the unblocked shawl on the duvet, ran over, jumped up on the bed, and lay down right where you see him.