Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cherry Blossom Harmony

Brrr, that wind feels cold. I think I'll put on my shawl.

You see, I finished the Cherry Blossom Shawl last week. It took five days to finish the border, which was not my favorite part. I much preferred knitting the body, cruising through the long, endless rounds of knitting with no purls. The lace repeat for each row was easy to memorize, and was followed by a plain knit row. That made for over 750 stitches (in the outer body chart, fewer in the inner ones, of course) I could knit without consulting the chart. My use of frequent stitch markers helped me to knit the entire body without any mistakes. However, the border was knit back and forth over six rows of 7 to 9 stitches each. I memorized the border chart (eventually), but lack of concentration meant confusion about which row I was on (it just wasn't practical to use a row counter for such short rows). I made mistakes that had to be tinked back out. Towards the end, I made a mistake that nearly did in the border. I'll tell you about that in my next post, when I critique the pattern and talk about the blocking.

The blocking was the same lace blocking miracle you've heard of elsewhere. It is worth all the knitting just to have the mind-changing experience of seeing a 32" springy, cushy mass of knitting evolve into a 42" circle of air and color. The shawl still has a cushy feel and retains enough body to hold the pattern and points., but now it drapes and floats in the wind.

I was pleasantly surprised at the size. I expected that knitting a lighter-than-lacweight yarn on needles several sizes smaller than recommended would produce a smaller shawl. It did, but only a couple of inches smaller than the pattern size. Considering that it took only 875 yards of Jojoland Harmony yarn, at a cost of $9, this shawl is quite a bargain. It is quite versatile--it works as a cloth for my small table,

and fits me as well.

Does my pose look strange? I was pretending to pick crabapples from our tree. (That's a farce--they're not really edible, even after cooking, so I leave them for the deer.) I had the full shot posted, but this cropped one focuses more on the shawl, which is really my focus here. Look down at the bottom edge and you will see the transition from the rosy-peach to aqua-blue. That color change, which evolves slowly around the border, was the reason I hesitated to knit the border in the same yarn as the body. I thought the color changes in the yarn would produce stripes. Instead, as I finished up the body, I realized that the short repeats would stretch the colors out more. The border started out aqua and changed ever so slowly to purple and finally to rose. The final bit was peach trying to change to gold. Before it got there, I had to join it to the aqua beginning, making one little bump in the smooth color changes.

I'll explain this and other bumps in the shawl knitting next post. For now, I'll just enjoy gazing at the shawl, and finish this with the stitch counts. I'm putting this at the end so that those that find the numbers too boring, or too daunting, can skip it.


A Cherry Blossom Shawl has a total of 54,528 stitches; 440 in Chart A, 9,800 in Chart B, 36,864 in Chart C, and a mere 7,424 in the chart for the border. I took 20 days to knit the body of the shawl, knitting on it for two to three hours each day, and another 5 days to knit the border (with an hour or two of knitting each day).

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9 comments:

Wool Enough said...

Congratulations on finishing. The shawl looks terrific. And I admire the pattern. It has enough detail to look pretty, while still having enough overall regularity that it looks good however you drape it.

Sam said...

It is beautiful. I can't even imagine how much work went into this, but it was well worth it. Lovely, lovely, lovely :)

Wool Winder said...

Gorgeous! I especially like the border--it was worth the effort.

theminx said...

Wow - beautiful! And less than 900 yards of yarn? That's impressive.

vlb5757 said...

That is just amazing! I was stunned at the number to stitches you talked about. I think that might be beyond my ability. It is so beautiful and the colors look like they blended out very well. What a stunner.

jane said...

Your shawl is beautiful! Well worth all that time on the border! Jane

MRS MJW said...

Your shawl looks so light and airy.

Robin said...

Looks like just a wisp! Beautiful!

Gunn Elin said...

Wow! This was really wonderful! And it must have been incredible hard work. Well done!