Monday, August 31, 2009

Under-the-Radar Knitting

You may have caught a reference I made last week to untangling some purple yarn and noticed that I never mentioned what it was for. That's because I was doing some secret gift knitting; now that the gift has been received, I can finally reveal just what that purple yarn became.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock (90% superwash merino, 10% nylon), colorway 208/Plum Glace, one skein
Needles: 32" US 5 (3.75 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Dimensions: 60" x 30"
Started/Completed: August 20/August 26
Mods: substituted beads for the nupps and omitted four rows from the border chart

You may remember that Jess sent me a very generous package of purple yarn scraps to help me finish my sock yarn blanket. Included in that package was an entire skein of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in a beautiful plummy purple. When I didn't need to break into it to finish a square for my blanket, I knew that I had to use it to knit something for Jess. You see, she's had a very difficult year, and I was so touched by her generosity that I wanted to send her a little something pretty in return in the hopes that it would brighten her day a bit. I was itching to knit some more lace, and the yardage in this skein of yarn seemed to be right on.

The last time I knit this shawl, I included the nupps and used approximately 400 yards, so I thought the one skein of this yarn would be enough. Unfortunately, as I began the border chart, I began to panic that I was going to run out of yarn. Rather than completing the shawl as written and having to do several rows in a different yarn, I did the first two rows of the border chart and then skipped to the last two rows. That turned out to be a wise decision, because once I was through with the bind off, this is all that was left.

The shawl looked positively tiny immediately off the needles, but I blocked it severely, as per usual. I love the results.

I decided to substitute beads for the nupps in part because I thought it would save yarn, but I also was excited to see how the substitution would look with this particular pattern. I used the crochet hook method and size 6/0 hematite seed beads. They're not nearly as textural as the nupps would be, but they do add a nice bit of shine and just a little bit of weight.

I don't think that the mods to the edging detract too much from the look of the overall shawl. Although I certainly wish I'd had enough yarn to knit the full border, the effect of the scalloped edging is the same, and I think the smaller size of the edging really emphasized the Lily of the Valley section -- my personal favorite.

The pattern was just as fun to knit the second time around as the first, and this time it went even faster. With the exception of a little bit of time at home one evening, doing the cast on and set-up rows, all the knitting on this shawl was done during my prework and lunch hour knitting times -- approximately two hours a day.

Overall, it's a winner. The knitting was fun, the resulting shawl exceeded my expectations, and I got a very surprised note from the recipient that really made my day.

Call me crazy, but I think I need to make another one of these for myself, and soon!


  1. Wow, that is just stunning! Seriously beautiful, and I love the beads!

  2. That is so intricate. How do you knitters do it?!

    I think these shawls would be tres cute in super duper mini form as kerchiefs, perhaps to tie over and around one's head like a mini bonnet, enough to hold hair back and away from the face. Stylish!

  3. It's so beautiful. I love the beads. I never thought I was a beaded shawl kind of girl but I keep walking by and petting it. Mmm... lovely! Thank you so much!

  4. Anonymous11:06 PM

    I just wanted to stop by and say thank you. Jess is a fellow Cancer Mom that I met when my son was diagnosed in February. She is truly an incredible woman. Thank you for taking the time to honor her generosity and the grueling road she has been on. Thank you!!

  5. ammaazziinngg!!! you are one heck of a knitter! and such a lovely, thoughtful gift. so nice!

  6. Wow, wow, wow! As the dyer of that purple yarn, I thank you for your generous gift! Jess is a peach and I know she is over the moon about this. May your kindness repay you in a million-fold!

  7. It's really beautiful! Everyone loves that pattern, I'm going to have to try it despite the fact that I'm not crazy about triangle shawls.

  8. The only thing that is more beautiful than that shawl is you for knitting it for Jess. What a wonderful thing to do for her!

  9. Anonymous7:08 AM

    What a beautiful shawl and a beautiful gift!

  10. what a rich lovely colour! The whole thing turned out perfect, mods and beads and all.

    What a kind person you are to do something so nice for someone else :)

    theres some great knitting karma in there somewhere *wink wink*

  11. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Wow Sarah, that is absolutely gorgeous! The pictures are taken so nicely too. And the beads can substitute the nupps anyday in my opinion. So pretty, especially I think you did an awesome job on the blocking and the picture taking. Way to go girl!

  12. Nicely done. It looks fantastic!