Should It Be That Shade of Blue?

My dear Blog, you have not been forsaken, I just got overwhelmed with work last week and weekends are generally reserved for family, making them internet-lite.

How many days has it been?

First, work went crazy, and it will remain crazy for a while. Then, the final clue of the Vernal Equinox shawl was released on Friday. Ten little rows to the sweet end. What is another 5 or 6 thousand stitches at this point? So I spent Friday evening knitting. Friends came over to be social. I eschewed being social and just knit. Actually, I was a little social. I sat at the table with them as they all played a board game, but I just kept knitting. Midnight came, I was still knitting. Snores wafted gently from my bedroom; I was still knitting while Byram slept.

Knit. Knit. Knit…Crochet? I knew she would end with a crocheted cast off. I just knew it. And I don’t know a crochet hook from a hole in the ground. I dislike crochet. I dislike the hooks. I do not crochet. The pattern did offer an alternative to the crochet cast off, but that meant knitting a few more rows, and I was not emotionally able to do that. So I found one of my mother’s hooks and went to work. I don’t know what “single crochet” means. I hope it means put the hook through the appropriate number of stitches and pull the working yarn through. If that isn’t what it means, then I did my own little magic that isn’t single crochet to complete this shawl.

The rest was just a chain stitch which I do remember from when Mom tried to teach me to crochet when I was 5 or 6.

At 4 a.m. Saturday morning, I cast off the last stitch.

It is finished.

I held it up expecting to feel that instant love that a new mother feels the first time she holds her baby in all the movies and television shows. The feeling I had as I held it was closer to the feeling I had when I held my baby for the first time: “She is smaller than she felt like she would be and should she really be that shade of blue?”

The love came on very soon in both cases. I do love it. It is very pretty and very warm. The irony of my shawl is that I completed it and the next day was 80 degrees. Yes, there were 5 inches of snow on the ground 7 days ago, but it was 80 degrees the past two days. Welcome to Virginia weather.

Now I have a burning question as to what to do with it. It is acrylic and cannot be blocked. It can be “killed” with high heat and steam with an iron. I read the tutorial on “killing” acrylic, and it sounds very scary. If you screw up, there is no going back. If you don’t like how it blocks, that is just too bad.

I do not know whether I will try and kill it or not. I think if I really do decide to do so, I will knit up some of what I have left into some pattern from the shawl and give it a test run first.

This shawl was an experience. I learned so much about the form and structure of lace. I finally began to understand left leaning and right leaning decreases, plus the double central decrease. Half way though, it felt like I was “drawing” a design in yarn. I could look at what I was knitting and almost knew without looking at the pattern what stitch came next. By the end, I did know what was coming next without having to stare intently at the pattern to figure it out, which made it very easy to discover when I had forgotten an increase or decrease and made fixing those errors easier.

If I could do it all over, I would have chosen wool instead of acrylic. I would have chosen a lighter weight yarn; probably not lace-weight, but a sock weight would have been lovely.

Pictures will follow, I promise.

The rest of my weekend was spent playing outdoors with my daughter and husband, seeing a movie in a theater for the first time since last summer (Watchmen!), and playing in my garden. I planted a fig tree in the back yarn, hoed up the garden box that had been compacted due to the weight of the snow, checked on my wilty lettuce and spinach, and got more wooden garden boxes to use for planting some of my roses and a blueberry bush. And, of course, more knitting. I decided I needed something simple and mind-numbing to get my mind off lace, so I am knitting an entrelac dish towel.

I will explain my love of short-row knitting later.


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