Thursday, August 5, 2010

Half-done shawl or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the picot bind-off

Half of my first shawl is officially finished! Actually about 55%, but who is counting? (Well, me). This shawl is a little weird in it's construction. It's worked from a provisional cast-on from the middle outwards to each side.

The upshot is, I had to bind-off when I was half-way done. Of course, I auto-piloted into the chained bind-off. It's usually my bread and butter, but ugh it just looked terrible here. Redo. I went though my good ol' bind-off repertoire and realized that one that I had deemed stretchy and lovely but never actually put into use was the picot bind-off. I had previously deemed it too 'twee'. Hell, if it's not appropriate to be twee on a lacy shawl, I'm not sure it ever will be. I used my own tutorial and to my surprise it was actually kind of useful (!!).

I like it! It gave me a lovely ruffly edge. I can't wait for the other half to be finished!

But first, I would have to take out the provisional cast-on. I used the method recommended and provided in the pattern I was working from, which was referred to as 'a provisional cast-on using the continental method' (?). Whatever you say, Martha. Once I got the hang of it, it went quickly and I really liked it. Taking it out--another story. Guys and gals, I spent three hours getting this thing correctly on the needles. I've been accused of being a perfectionist in the past, but the correct term is 'crazy person'. I'm not sure if I'm going to be using her method again...I should try it on something easier and see if I can figure it out for myself. Directions on how to take it out might have been useful....

So why, might you ask, is all of this provisional casting-on and such necessary? The lace pattern used for the shawl is called "Wings of the Swan", and working from the middle has the effect of "centering the wings when the stole is worn". Uh-huh. I've never been more embarrassed than when my wings weren't centered. Very glad I put in the extra effort.

Can you tell where the center of the wings is? I can't. Maybe all will be revealed as it gets bigger (I hope).

Remember this little angel?

How is that even comfortable?

After my morning shower yesterday, I come down to find this beast chewing happily on some white yarn. After a minor heart attack, I found that he had politely broken the yarn from the shawl and left the shawl itself completely alone.

He's got good taste in yarn, I suppose. He had to have gotten onto a table and pushed a book off of it to retrieve it. My mom bought me a shirt recently:

Almost right, except the ball of yarn should be in his mouth instead of the needles.


  1. LOL at your dog ...but that is one pretty shawl :-)

  2. The shawl looks great! Good job that the dog managed to only bite the yarn but not the shawl. My kitty has been making cobwebs in the living room with a ball of yarn that he keeps stealing from the closet. Fortunately, he never seems to go for the WIPs - which is probably best for his health. Haha.

  3. Your shawl is gawgeous, dahling!

    I can't wait to see it all finished.

    You can probably spit-splice the yarn back together, though, I would be a little hesitant with the dog spit. Ewww! ;-)

  4. Very polite of him indeed! My sister just got a puppy a few weeks ago and it's actually made her stop leaving stuff on the floor of her room (which has made my Mum very happy, she'd been trying to achieve that for years). I mistakenly left my shoes within his reach and they duly got chewed, but I survived. I'm not sure either of us would've survived him chewing on my yarn!