FO: Swallowtail ShawlFinally! Please note: these photos were the first time I've ever used the self-timer on my cam, so excuse the less-flattering-than-I-normally-aim-for photos. Also, this is my first real lace project, so there are a ton of photos.
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn A. Clark, in Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Yarn: Lorna's Lace's Shepherd Sport, in colour Navy
Yardage: Just over 2 skeins, at 200 yards each. The recommended yarn comes in a 437 yd skein, and I imagine you'd use every last bit of that. As it was, I started the third skein on the next-to-last yarn, so if I'd used a size smaller needle I probably could have made it with just two skeins.
Yarn Source: Bought at Three Bags Full on opening day. Visit this store; it's fantastic!
Needles: Denise Interchangeables, 5mm (US size 8).
By this I don't mean it was slow as a garter-stitch scarf; rather quite the opposite. There's three patterns, really: the budding lace that makes up the majority of the body, the deadly lily of the valley section (more about that below), and the adorable peaked edging. So there's a nice blend of comfort and change - you've got just enough time to memorize a pattern (it takes me FOREVER to memorize lace, incidentally) and then you're swept up into something new. I like this, incidentally.
The yarn is cute, though I regret the colour. Everything I own is in this steely-blue colour, not to mention knit - I have two sweaters' worth of yarn in this blue, not to mention my Picovoli which I finally finished seaming last night. (More about that in a couple days.) That's four different projects right there (including the shawl), and oh yeah, it's all different yarns! I don't even realize this stuff in the store, then I get out and say, "Hey, don't I already have this yarn?" Le sigh.
Anyway, this was the first time I've ever knit with Lorna's Laces, and I see why people love and loathe it so. Breathtaking colours (I have two skeins of sock weight in the Argyle colourway waiting impatiently in the wings) and super soft. On the other hand, superwash; I'm finding that superwash anywhere than on my feet - and sometimes even then - feels kinda funny. Also, I'm afraid it may be starting to pill - yes, already - but it may have just been stray yarn fluff. This might surprise, but there's a lot of stray yarn fluff in my room.
The needles felt fine, but that wasn't a big surprise as I love my Denises passionately. The big issue was the sizing, and I think I picked the right size with the 5mm points. I wouldn't ever go bigger in proper lace: there's a reason it's traditionally done with itty-bitty thread. A few days ago I tried a Kiri Shawl in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and it was just a sad gigantic thing.
This pattern is fantastic, and I really enjoyed it - bravo to IK staff on the lack of errors (as far as I could tell). The only part I didn't like was in the damnable lily of the valley pattern, with its p5togs. Grrrrrrrr. Purl five together? Who does that? Craziness, I tell you! It's just damn fiddly. I eventually wound up p5tog-ing when I could, and improvising my Lazy Purl Decrease(tm) when I couldn't. Basically, just slip two or three of the stitches to be decreased purl-wise, purl the two or three sts still on the left needle together, then pass the slipped stitches over one by one. I couldn't tell the difference between the two methods, because as far as I know they still move the stitches the same way.
So would I make this pattern again? Possibly. It moves fast (excluding the blocking saga, I knit this in 6 days), and my aunt has asked for me to make her one. Plus shawls are just so pretty! I really recommend this pattern.