Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Little Bit of Lace

Even though I told myself that I was going to be "good" and finish up my long-languishing Icarus before casting on another shawl, the itch to knit a Swallowtail proved to be too much to overcome. I cast on and did the set-up rows last Tuesday night and then knit the whole way to D.C. and back (and a little bit while we were there). Just a few more hours of knitting time were left to do at home before it was done!

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, Interweave Knits fall 2006 (now available as a free download here)
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock (100% superwash merino), colorway Lettuce, one skein
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: December 23/December 28
Dimensions: approximately 27" by 55" after blocking
Mods: none other than needle size

This was a quick and satisfying knit. As with all Evelyn Clark patterns, both the charts and written directions were clear and easy to understand. I was thrilled to discover that the pattern was available on her site (thank you, Ravelry!) with larger charts; I have the issue of IK in which the pattern originally appeared, but the charts are always too small in the magazine, in my opinion.

The budding lace chart, which forms the majority of the shawl, is a six-row repeat -- and three of those rows are purled -- that is easily memorizable. I only had a little bit of trouble once I got to the lily of the valley charts, and not from the nupps, as you might think. In all the other charts in this pattern, the two border stitches are separated from the body stitches; they're right up against the body stitches on these charts, which I didn't get at first, resulting in my having to tink back the first row three times. The nupps themselves actually weren't as bad as I was expecting. Sometimes I was able to get my needle through all five stitches, but when I wasn't, I just slipped the first two stitches onto the right needle, loosened all five up a bit, and then purled them together. The tip to make the YOs loosely when forming the nupps is spot on.

If you're planning to knit this from the pattern on Evelyn Clark's Web site and you're using the charts, be aware that there is a small typo with the last chart for the edging. You are directed to look at the written directions for Row 18 -- there is no Row 18. It should say Row 8.

This pattern also vastly overestimates the amount of yarn you will need. For the record, I used a fingering-weight yarn (of which the pattern says I will need 516 yards when knit with a US 6) and a smaller needle. Of the 440 yards I started with in my one skein of yarn, I estimate I have between 35 and 40 yards left. I didn't do extra repeats of the budding lace chart to make the shawl larger, but it still came out to be a nice size.

The verdict? It's a winner! It's a relatively fast knit and doesn't take very much yarn, so I have a feeling this will be a good option when I need a quick-ish, somewhat fancy gift. I also want to make another one for myself someday -- a larger one, with sparkly beads instead of nupps.


  1. Damn that's just pretty. I have had that shawl in my queue and I have the yarn that I want to use(Fleece Artist Sea Silk), but I wanted to get my feet wet with other lace first. I think I'll be ready to give it a shot once I'm done with Norwegian Woods. I might even "test knit" it with the malabrigo lace yarn. Who knows. Color me finicky.

  2. That is so beautiful! So pretty!

  3. That is so pretty,I love that shade of green! I can't believe you knit most of it in the car. I'm getting carsick just THINKING about it.

  4. that's just gorgeous! you must be very proud!

  5. you knitted THAT in just 5 days ? day-um girl!!! Addis or no Addis, that's fast!

  6. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Wow, that IS a winner. And you say just one skein of Malabrigo sock? So, only about 400 yards to make that?

  7. Good Lord woman that shawl is gorgeous!! And I am in the market for a new shawl pattern, so your tips are much appreciated:)

    Happy New Year!!

  8. That is absolutely gorgeous! And I can't believe you knit that up so quickly! Nice!

  9. OH! That is amazing!

  10. Very beautiful! The subtle color changes in the skein work very well with the pattern.