07 April 2008

April Showers

Actually, although it's April it wasn't showering yesterday - which is a good thing, because look what I found when I went out for a walk!

Lo and behold, a lace shawl... here, of all places:

OK, OK... I know I can't fool you all that easily - especially not any of my dozen or so faithful readers who are by now bored rigid by photos of this shawl in progress.

So - might as well get right down to the specs.

Introducing: April Showers, in all her finery!!!

Pattern: heavily modified from the wonderful Hanami pattern by Melanie Gibbons. The only method to my madness in messing around with this pattern was that I had just finished the Storm Water Scarf

... and was dying to knit the Hanami but couldn't face any more basketweave for a while. One day I will knit the pattern as written though - I love it, especially the seeming randomness of the cherry blossoms/droplets.

Yarn: Fleece Artist Italian Silk, in the Rainforest colourway. I used the better part of two skeins (each skein has 115 g and 350 m).
Needles: Addi Lace - 3.5mm and 3.75 mm

Beads: clear seed beads from Arton in Toronto - approx. 650 (I lost count).

Size: 70" at widest part, 26" at deepest part

Date Started: 26 March 2008
Date Completed: 3 April 2008


- I am very challenged mathematically and so it took some time for me to figure out how to go about this. I ended up changing gears somewhat halfway through as the yarn actually grew much faster than I had thought!

- For those who have the Hanami pattern and would like to try this at home:

(a) I strung on approximately 200 beads to start. I used these for the border only. All the other beads were put on as I went with a .75mm crochet hook. (There is a very useful tutorial on how to work with beads here).

(b) I then cast on 20 stitches (the 16 stitch repeat plus two at each end for a garter stitch border). I used the beaded cast-on as per the pattern.

Isn't it pretty?!

(c) Throughout the project I did a beaded edging by inserting one of the beads I'd strung in between the two first stitches and the two last stitches on every right-side row.

(d) I started the pattern from the bottom/end (Chart G) and did 32 rows each of Charts G, F, E, D, and C in that order, then the first 4 rows of Chart B. That's when I started to run low on yarn and had to pack it in.

(e) My initial plan was to increase by 4 stitches every two rows by making one stitch immediately before and each border sequence on each side:

RS: K1, place bead, K1, M1 ... [pattern to last 3] ... M1, K1, place bead, K1.

WS: K1, place bead, K1, M1P ... [pattern to last 3] ... M1P, K1, place bead, K1.
However, by the time I finished Chart E (again, going backwards) I realised the shawl was growing a bit too disproportionately horizontally. For the rest of the shawl, until the last 4 rows, I only used the increase sequence on the RS. In the last four rows for some reason unknown to me, I reverted to increasing two every row as above.

I'm not sure if this resulted in the little pointy ends or not - that was not planned, nor was the downward curve of the edges. But we'll just call that a little design feature, shall we?

(f) At the same point that I stopped increasing every row, I switched to the 3.75mm needles. This was primarily a practical call as my 3.5mm needles have a far shorter cable. I suspect, however, that that resulted in part in the little pointy ends - the top part stretched more during blocking.

(g) I started placing beads again at Chart E (74 rows in) - I wanted to create an effect of raindrops hanging in the air. At first I placed them more or less at ramdom where there was space. Later in the pattern, when the spaces between the yarnovers grew larger, I placed one or two beads in each 16-row sequence on both RS and WS, depending on where the plain stockinette spaces were. Oh - thanks to Amy, by the way, for giving me the idea to use clear beads. I like the effect!

Well, that's more than about enough design blather from me for now, I should think. Except to say that the shawl is apparently a hit with the Brouhaha household.

Hey, even my harshest critic seems delighted!