Saturday, March 07, 2009


I am a proud woman. For some reason, finishing a lace project makes me feel like a superior human being. I understand that many sweaters and other projects are more challenging, warmer and infinitely beautiful. But, I happen to find great satisfaction in knitting lace.

For many years I have wanted to make a piece de resistance and I have worked my way ever upwards in complexity and ever downwards in thickness of yarn. I'm almost there.

I finally finished Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl out of Cashwool. And I added a knit on lace edging rather than the garter stitch and cast off that she called for. If I must say so, I think my ultimate product is outstanding! Beautiful! A work of supreme diligence and patience! And the mistakes are hard to find!!! (Many, many thanks to Jo of Celtic Memory Yarns who encouraged me to leave two of the mistakes in the shawl. They would have been cumbersome and unsatisfactory to fix. And, I dare you to find them!!)

Best of all, the shawl is a true wedding ring shawl: I can pull it all through my wedding ring!! For some reason, I have always wanted a shawl so fine that I can pull it through a wedding ring!!
This photo and the one above capture the true color, called "ocean."

This and the following photos are terrible on color, but show the lace. This is a field of leaves, outlined by fan ferns.
This is the rose trellis and the leaf border I added.

A little demonstration of the drapiness of the shawl.
And a view of one side.

Here is the shaping of the faroese styling. After a bit of the blocking.

And, the horrifying mess before getting it all pinned out.

This is the point where I do a lot of praying. Such a blob of twisted and interlaced thread. Who would imagine that this blob would be a thing of beauty?? This is why knitting lace makes me a superior human being. ;) Who else would have faith that the thousands of hours knitting have not been in vain? Who else would have faith that the thing will not fall apart when taken out of the sink? Who else would dare to wear the shawl, fearing that it would be caught on an errant nail, or a twig, or a sliver of wood?

Only a knitter would have faith and daring to make, block and wear a lace shawl--and not put it away in a drawer wrapped perpetually in tissue paper. Which is why I did not give the shawl to my mother. I couldn't part with it. I thought she would save it "for good", fearing to wear it lest it get caught, tangled or harmed. I plan to wear this shawl as soon as the Wisconsin weather gets a bit warmer--when I can throw it casually over my shoulders and have it billow behind me as I walk outside. With a carefree toss of my head, I will reply to compliments with, "Oh, this? I made it!"


betty said...

oh my God, Gail, what a shawl!! congratulations, this is incredible, i can understand why are you feeling so accomplished right now!! :)

kate said...

It is stunning, Gail! Well done indeed. Wear it with pride! (Love the ocean colour as well.)

Hilde C. said...

It really is beautiful! I'm sure you will end up tossing your head a lot when you wear it :-)

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

Gail that is the most beautiful piece I have ever seen. Yes, you have achieved something spectacular and you know it, which makes it all the better.

And I do so applaud your intention of wearing it everywhere and displaying it and loving it and using it. It's a reminder to all of us to haul out those 'too good to use' pieces!

Joy be yours in the wearing of this, now and forever.

Lorette said...

"Almost there"??? Honey, I think you've arrived at lace perfection. That is just beautiful!

Diana said...

It's gorgeous and you should be proud!! You'll get tons of compliments. No, don't stick it in a drawer for safe keeping. It deserves a showing!!

all you knit is love said...

Oh Gail! That is spectacular!! The border you added really"ups" the whole thing even more. You have every right to feel like a superior human being...a shawl like that gives you super-human status, for sure :)

(And I wouldn't even try and look for the "mistakes". It looks pretty perfect just the way it is.)

Sandy said...

Your shawl is beautiful. I also agree with your previous post about needing many differnt types of mittens for WI winters. I live in Green Bay and have several kinds for different temperatures and activities.

Anonymous said...

¡Hola compañera swapetinera!
Abro encuesta en el cajón de los swapetines para que me echeis un cable para elegir color. Gracias por la ayuda. :)

Hi friend!
Could you help me to decide on the color of my socks? (For the swapetines, of course :))
Your work is wonderful. I am amazed at what you are capable of knitting!

Nutsue said...

You can be proud of it. It's awesome!

Prunila said...

Hola Gail!
ha ha ha very good post, you are a superior knitter :)))
Yes, this is a master piece, amazing!!! I hope you can show up soon as spring is here already.

Mary Jane said...

you said it, it takes faith! Beautiful result brave woman!

rosine said...

Ohhhh it looks so beautiful, so light!

by the way your article about la droguerie made me laugh, do not worry even for french like me, la droguerie a money trap, i could spend hours there just to look at the beautiful treasures they have. I love to knit and i nealry only use their wool, not cheap but i have no wool left, always the perfect weight:)

hope my english was not too horrible to understand!
a french reader