I finished Icarus, my first lace shawl project! The blocking process took some time and I can imagine how much longer it would have taken without blocking wires. Also, I’m lucky to have a spare bed for guests that can function as my blocking board. Everyone talks about the magic of blocking lace because it’s the first time you can really see the lace pattern. So true!
I’m happy with how it turned out and I think I will wear it. That’s just it – am I a “shawl person” – whatever that means? Lace is beautiful for all ages so how is it that old ladies and lace became such a stereotype? Shawls don’t have to mean ‘delicate and dainty.’ I love that sturdy lace shawl that Tasha Tudor wore and it really looks like a shawl to get down and dirty with farm chores. (Actually, the pattern was recreated by Nancy Bush and it’s sitting in my queue.) But she was an old lady so maybe that’s not a good example. What about all those young knitters that have embraced lace shawl knitting with a vengeance? According to Ravelry, Icarus, which has been very popular, now has been knitted or started by over 2,000 people! Clearly, lace shawls have become popular with all ages.
Well, knowing how to wear a shawl is the key to avoiding the old lady syndrome. I’m not going to start a new career as a supermodel, but here is an attempt at wrapping that looks pretty good to me–sort of flung loosely around the neck, ala scarf.
For great tips on how to wear beautiful lace shawls, check out this video from the staff of Knit Picks.
Lace knitting is not something that comes easily to me. I have done a couple of cardigans in lace that came out OK, but I’ve yet to finish one shawl. Shawls have been all the rage in the knitting community for some time and I think this fashion trend started due to the plethora of incredibly beautiful (and expensive) hand-dyed yarns. So many knitters had single skeins of these yarns sitting in their stash and soon patterns for gorgeous shawls needing just that much yardage were everywhere.
I just ripped out a poor attempt based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl. This is a clever shawl pattern with mathematical logic and shawl lace knitting really doesn’t get much easier than this. Even so, I struggled to stay interested in the project; it just looked like a big brown lump of – well – something one might step in out in the field. Maybe a better choice of yarn would have made all the difference.
I have picked up another lace shawl project that’s been languishing as a UFO for quite a while, Icarus, and this time it seems to be clicking. The yarn is Malabrigo, dyed a beautiful tonal color called “marine” and I can’t wait to finish it and wear it. Yes, I’m making mistakes as I go along that I have to go back and correct but it’s getting easier. Lace knitting requires constant vigilance, which means for me, a distraction-free environment, never working on it when tired, and no working on it while chatting at my craft group (or anywhere else).
Good online tutorials abound and Ravelry has many groups devoted to the subject of lace. At Knitter’s Review, you’ll find tutorials and links to all things lace: books, yarns and patterns.
Great info on proper cursing with symbols: http://fomagrams.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/how-to-curse/