Monday, September 20, 2010

Finished Uh-Oh

Long ago and not so very far away, I bought the yarn and pattern for the Swirl Shawl (Rav link). It was the first time I bought not only the yarn a pattern called for but also the exact colorway used in the pattern. Anyway, I think it was on the joint PhillyKnitters/Ravelry yarn crawl and, as I recall, I was sicker than a dog...

Anyway, it seemed like a nice, portable project. Each hexagon was a little project in itself and made for measurable progress. Instead of crying out "one more row", I'd demand the time to finish one more hexagon! After I got through the first set of hexagons, I could knit the decreasing pattern in my sleep. I'm not a fast knitter, but I could finish one hexagon, from cast-on to bind-off, in about 30 minutes, making it the perfect TV-knitting. It was long enough for a sit-com, but not so long that my hands would grow tired or my mind start to wander.

As spinning and quilting became more and more prevalent in my crafting life, I set aside the shawl and stopped working on it for about a year. I'd pack it on trips with the intent to work on it, but it would just sit in my bag, taking up valuable spindle-space. Then, this August, I decided to finish up some in-progress projects. Not only would I be able to clear some things off the needles, but I might even come up with a nice, new handknit for Rhinebeck! Score, and score.

It only took a few weeks to finish the shawl - when I stopped working on it, I was 80% done. Sunday morning, while lounging about with my Mom, I bound off the last hexagon, wove in the last of the ends, snipped the excess yarn, and gave the shawl a nice, warm dunk in Eucalan. Then, to help make the hexagon swirls really pop, I set about pinning and blocking the piece. And that's when I put the Uh-Oh in the FO...

IMG_2103


It doesn't look bad in that photo, but what you can't see is the first half of the shawl and the three hexagons that unraveled as I blocked and pinned. Each hexagon is worked from the outside in, often with picking up stitches on 2 or 3 sides of the adjoining hexagons. So, the unraveling would start at the center and if I were a more skilled knitter, I'd be able to save the hexagons without completely unraveling each one.

Here's a close up on one unraveling as I blocked:
IMG_2104


It's kinda hard to see, but my problem is factoring in both the yarn overs and the decreases when fixing the boo-boos. I've fixed two since blocking the item yesterday, but I've also found another one, bringing the total to 7. At first, I couldn't figure out why this was happening, but then I realized the tails I'd woven in for the center bind-off were too short for the zealous blocking I'd performed - what was adequate for a scrunched up, unblocked tangled of yarn was severely inadequate for my expected results.

My plan is to fix the remaining hexagons and then go back and secure the center of each hexagon. Then, I'll reblock and, hopefully, will then have the finished object I've been wanting. Still, mistakes and post-blocking surgery aside, I'm really pleased with how this project turned out. The yarn is gorgeous, especially in brilliant almost-autumn sunlight, and I cannot wait to wear it!