Monday, 6 June 2011

Taking pride in my work

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!



I might knit another one... one day...

23 comments:

Gina said...

A THOUSAND sts? I mean, yes, it is beautiful, stunningly so, but A THOUSAND STITCHES????? Holy Mother of Goddess!!!!!

Deb said...

Absolutely stunning!

Rani said...

Wow. W.O.W.!!!!!

Jacky said...

And another one - WOW!!

minniemoll said...

Well done for finishing - it looks amazing!

I keep toying with the idea of doing the smaller version, but I don't think I could face another big one - I only finished the first one through sheer bloody-mindedness, I wasn't going to be beaten by it! And I did miss out the final repeat, that was just an increase too far...

LynS said...

This is unbelievably beautiful. Exquisite.

Rose Red said...

It is such a thing of beauty! I imagine younare sp glad you persevered! Truly gorgeous!

tea and cake said...

My goodness! What a most beautiful shawl - why would you want another one? It is simply stunning.

Rosie said...

What a stunning shawl. Congratulations.
I love the colour, which shade is it please?

Amberpearl said...

Ohh that's gorgeous. It is on my favourites list and hope some day to do it. In light of your comment I think this would have to wait until I get 2 other large shawls completed. I've already had to take a couple of time outs on those.

Nikki said...

oh my!! that's stunningly gorgeous! Good Job!

stash haus said...

Holy *$&^#*@)#!!!!

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!

RooKnits said...

It is absolutely stunning, but you have put me off ever attempting one - I would NEVER finish it!

Valentina said...

What a gorgeous shwal!!! I lime it very much!!

Rosie said...

Amazing shawl and what incredible perseverence.

Stephanie V said...

Absolutely beautiful! Worth every stitch.

suse-the-slow-knitta said...

fabulous, and so pleased that you didn't lose your mind while making it!

Z of ZKNITZ said...

It looks really good. Like a work of art. A shawl is one of my next projects after my socks.

But me, however, I am looking for something really, really, really, simple.

Rachel A said...

It looks amazing Jane! If you are anything like me you will have a big grin and inner smugness whenever you wear it! So glad you finished it

Anne aka Arlene said...

I would like to let you know that I feel deeply honoured that you have been so brave and had the staying power to finish this shawl. I hope you will wear your beautyful shawl with pride :o)

*whispering* I was not far away from the bind-off, when I noticed a very bad mistake. I couldn't ignore it. The shawl should be displayed at Knit Nation 2010. Eeeek! I had to do an "open-heart surgery" which you can see here if you like: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/arlenes-world-of-lace/1347503/301-325#313

Anni said...

it's stunning. Definitely worth it.

Magic Cochin said...

OMG! Amazing! I'm about to embark on a lace project - not quite as ambitious as that though.

Just popped over to say I love Cranford Mitts, and even managed to cobble together matching socks :-)

Celia

ClaireEJ said...

OMG! I have this ready to cast on and it keeps going back in the queue plan. Yours looks fantastic! I am more inspired to knit Hyperhyper now!