Sunday, October 2, 2016

Epic, and Not Expendable


(of an object) designed to be used only once and then abandoned or destroyed.
You'll never believe it: I finished something. A knitting project. No, really, it's done. And I did it all myself.

We arrived back from Montreal last Thursday night, and I've been enjoying a few days off around the house, getting a few errands done and resting up to go back to work. Montreal was great, but I'm always glad to get back to the slower pace of Vancouver Island. There's nothing like going away to make you appreciate home even more.

I've also been working away trying to get my latest knitting project finished. At the risk of using an already over-used word, this project was epic. I looked back at my Ravelry page to see when I started, it was was all the way back on July 24th. Dat's a long time. And, honestly, I was getting so sick of working on this thing. I just wanted it done.

I've been resisting taking any in-progress photos of this thing for the past few weeks, simply because the trouble with lace knitting is that it looks like absolute crap while you're working on it: sort of like a tangled up fishing net... or how I imagine regret looks like. Heh.

But it has turned out amazingly beautiful. I've said it over and over again: it's amazing what blocking does for a lace project:

In review: the pattern is called Going Places Shawl and the yarn is Handmaiden Lace Silk, a 100% silk yarn in laceweight. I wish you could see the lovely sheen of it in the photos. The drape is so, so lovely. I honestly didn't think it would turn out so well, but maybe that's because I've tried out so many patterns with this skein that I was just resigning myself to whatever result came of it. I'm especially happy with how the diamond shapes work with the variegated colours in the yarn.  

I managed to get a lot of it finished while we were away. I don't normally get a lot of knitting done when I'm traveling, but we spent each evening after dinner in the apartment we rented, resting after each long day of walking and exploring. I sat in front of the tv, catching up on The Voice and knitting repeat after repeat, reaching the end of each and glancing down at the remaining ball and thinking, "I think I can do another." I kept knitting until the very last evening we were in Montreal, and then declared it time to do the edging.

And by the way, yes, I like watching The Voice. I think it's refreshing to see people succeed by using their talents, instead of for taking selfies and posting them on Instagram.

I was all ready to do the edging, which you knit on sideways along the perimeter of the shawl, but when I started, I realized that I didn't really like the look of it. It was too loose and loopy-looking for my liking, and not at all complimentary to the diamonds in the design. Against my better judgement, I sat on the bed in the apartment before we left for the airport, scrolling through my phone, looking at Ravelry and every other online knitting stitch dictionary I could think of until I came upon this one. It had the same number of rows in each repeat as the original, so I figured it would work.

I sat in the airport and started knitting it. I stopped a few times, stretching it out, trying to imagine what it would look like blocked, squinting and cocking my head throughout. I decided to change the wrong side stitches to all purl stitches to make it look smoother. As I knitted it, I was really, really unsure if it was going to work, and I was even less sure that I was going to have enough yarn to finish it. I worked on it through three more episodes of Downtown Abbey during the flight home, and then through watching Noah (with Russell Crowe) on Friday night, and The Expendables 3, followed by The Expendables (1) on Saturday night. Yes, I watched them in that order. No, I didn't choose that order... that's just how they happened to be broadcast. Not that it mattered. They were both kind of the same movie.

I finally cast off last night and decided to get straight to blocking it. It was enormous, nearly four blocking squares wide. And this was still with nearly one quarter of the skein left. 

I took it off the boards this afternoon to take photos of it. My arms were getting tired from trying to get a full wingspan shot of it:

But I'm so pleased to have a shawl that reaches all the way down my back:

And I'm very, very happy with the edging:

I think it'll be nice over a dress for an evening out. After all this time working on it, I'm determined to wear it as often as possible. It will NOT be expendable, at any rate:

Now that it's finished, I have this weird sense of freedom. I was feeling terribly guilty whenever I had my hands free and I wasn't working on it. I suppose it's because it's been so long that I had a finished project to share on this blog, and I was running out of things to write about (you can only write about cake for so long). I'm not sure what to do with myself now... except maybe watch The Expendables 2 this afternoon. Yeah, I don't know why it's on now. I still have no idea what is going on. Not that it matters.

Happy Sunday!

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