Every now and again a project comes along that makes us step outside our usual comfort zone and stretch ourselves to the limit of one aspect or another of our knitting skills and endurance. I want to tell you about one such project. Some time last year, my friend Rachel did a test knit of a new pattern, the Hypernova Shawl by Arlene's World of Lace. It was spectacular,yet simple in its construction, elegant chevrons radiating out from the centre into a shawl shaped like three quarters of a circle. I already had the recommended yarn, Wollemeise Lace-Garn in a shade with just enough movement to emphasise the chevrons so it was only a matter of time before I cast on...
As with all projects that start at the centre and work their way out I whizzed through the first few repeats. The set up required some concentration but once I had the chevrons in place I was away and knitting....and knitting...and knitting.
I think if anyone had actually told me at the beginning of the process how much knitting is involved in this shawl I might never have cast on. If anyone had told me how difficult it is to correct an error in a double yarn over on the bias I might never have cast on. The minor errors that I made whilst learning this lesson kept jumping out of the fabric to taunt me but I was committed now. Weeks turned into months and I was still knitting. I would take the shawl away for whole weekends undistracted by any other project and I was still knitting. More and more stitches piles onto my circular needle. Rows started to take half an hour, then three quarters of an hour... Every increase round added another sixty stitches to the needle. By the time the cast off round came around there were the best part of a thousand stitches in every row. The cast off itself took a good three hours to complete.
Of course, if you are amongst my friends and knitting neighbours none of this will be news to you. I may have whinged a little.. I may have flounced off a couple of times and embarked on a few instant gratification projects... I may have expressed doubt that anyone could possibly complete this project and retain their sanity... I may have required a loyal band of friends giving me a countdown over the final twenty rows, offering donations to P/Hop in return for my perseverance.
But then I blocked it...
Even though I have knitted lace before and am used to the transformation that blocking brings I was not prepared for the difference between the crumpled bundle of blue yarn and needles I had been carrying around for months and the thing of beauty it has turned into.
Just look at it!