March On or Week 9

12Shawls in 2012

So, as promised, a daylight picture of my Laminaria in all its finished glory. Still not a great picture – and certainly not doing justice to its fabulousness – but at least it gives you a better idea of the size and colour of it.




Regular readers here, and followers on Twitter, will already be aware of my efforts to maximise my skein of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace with StashDown2012 in mind while making Laminaria. As mentioned before, the designer gives a chart for what percentage of yarn you’ll need to do another repeat of the Blossom Chart and the edging. My problem with this is that it didn’t relate the figures back to what 100% was. It meant a significant difference in yardage needed depending on whether 100% was:

a) the total amount of yarn I had used so far – I could easily measure this by weighing the remaining skein and subtracting from the total

b) the total amount of yarn the shawl would need – a more abstract figure and only measured by means of a bit of algebra.

c) the total amount of yarn I started with – I got a lovely comment from Rubysasha that advised me this was the answer (Go have a look at her blog – she makes the most beautiful lace shawls. A knitter with such breath-taking skill.)

@Clarabel assured me (b) was the answer and, since she’d knit this pattern before, was more likely to be correct than me. After mulling it over for sometime I realised going with her logic (b), instead of my logic (a), meant that one repeat and the edging would take more yarn and thereby I would be less likely to run out of yarn. All credit to wanting to maximise yarn for Stashdown but nobody wants to run out during the cast-off!

So I worked away, weighing my yarn at the end of each repeat of the blossom chart and doing my algebraic calculations. In the end, I figured out I could do 10 repeats in total of the Blossom Chart and the edging with 1% to spare. As it turns out I had circa 5g or yarn left over and my shawl weighs circa 111g.

Now, a curious thing has happened: I based my calculations on the ball band which indicates that it has 4oz of yarn or – by my calculations – 113g. The ball-band also states that the skein contains 1000yds. Weirdly, the Ravelry database says that a skein is 85g (3oz) for 1000yds. My skein definitely weighs 4oz. So, which is correct? Should the Ravelry Database say 4oz = 1000yds or do I have 1.3 skeins and therefore 1300yds?

Why does this matter? Well, firstly coz I’m a pedant! But mainly because I don’t know whether I have knit 1000yds or 1300yds in stashdown. For now, I’m going with the latter.


Viola dress from LK Bennett above and Malabrigo Lace, Emerald Blue below


With one Lace-weight project done and dusted I’m quickly moving on to the next: Summer Affair by Carol Feller from her eBook Wearable Lace. I’m using Malabrigo Yarn Lace in Emerald Blue, which (supposedly) has 430m in a 50g skein. I cast-on last Monday and my cake currently weighs 39g, which means I have knit 95m in the past week.

You would think after all the new Estonian Lace stitches I conquered doing Laminaria that I would be Queen of Lacework but this pattern is just not going into my head, so it’s slow going. My knitting buddy, Bootie, has knit this before and assures me that the rhythm begins to sink after repeating the chart the 2nd time. I hope she’s right.

Knitting with Malabrigo Lace, however, more than makes up for my inadequacies. They don’t call this yarn Mmmmmalabrigo for nothing! I have a specific plan for the FO – it’s to go with this dress I got last year:

I’m pretty confident the colourway will be a good match.


While the course has finished up, @MaryLD invited us to her studio this weekend to continue working on our quilts if we wanted to or just to hang out, if we preferred. I couldn’t make it over though and, since she was looking forward to hearing about my London-trip, I’ll use this heading to fill you all in. (Also, since my sewing machine is still broken, I have no recent to show quilting to show.)

First off, the picture below is the lobby of the hotel we stayed in – Millennium Bailey Hotel. A bit Downton Abbey, don’t you think? It was right across from the Gloucester Road Tube station – which is on the Piccadilly Line – which comes from Heathrow – which we flew in to. How fantastic was that? So handy you’d swear DH planned it 🙂


Millennium Bailey's Hotel, Kensington

Our main reason for visiting London was to see the Golden Spider-silk display in the V&A. It did not disappoint. The fibre that can be produced by the Golden Orb spiders is just astonishing for its fineness, colour and strength. I don’t know if you can make out the thin line from the bobbins of golden thread at the top of the following picture? Well that’s some of the spider silk, supporting a 200g (or 7oz) weight! See the colour? That is the natural colour. Can you imagine what webs of this are like? And I mentioned fineness. That thread that you can hardly see? I’m not actually sure if that is a single or if it has already been plied into the 96 ply thread that was used to weave the fabric of the cape.


Spider silk, naturally golden in colour, supports 200g weight

The next shot is of the tassels at the end of the shawl, which was displayed with the cape. It gives you an idea of the fluffiness of the fibre.


Tassels on the shawl show how fluffy the fibre is

The next picture shows the embroidered design that covered the cape. While I didn’t love the cape as a garment the woven fabric and the embroidery were beautiful. The accompanying shawl was woven with traditional relief patterns and – to my mind – showed superior skill.


Emboidered design on the finished cape

We spent the rest of the day in the V&A and I took some really atrocious pictures of lots of interesting things that I will spare you from suffering. That evening we had dinner at The Pig’s Ear in Chelsea – which I recommend – and afterward I spotted this Crochet Table in the window of a design institute (I think!) down the road. Basically, it’s made from crochet motifs using cotton, and then assembled in a box shape and stiffened with epoxy resin. A google search reveals it was designed by Marcel Wanders in 2001.


Crochet Table retailing in Chelsea at £1,559

I did make a trip to Liberty and acquired some gorgeous fabric, which is intended for a baby-quilt in my near future. Another blog-post in my near future, too, I think – assuming my sewing machine is up and running.

Gems from the Web

I’ve gone on-and-on enough, already so just a little gem this week courtesy of @elana, @rozanna_banana and @theelfyone who came up with a knitters’ blessing on Twitter during the week.

In line with the traditional Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

We worked out the following:

May all your SSKs be left-leaning
may your tape measure be always at your side
May your stitch count remain constant; and no stitches dropped – unless it’s meant to be otherwise
and before you cast-on again,
may it all block out.


3 Responses to “March On or Week 9”

  1. doogarry Says:

    Wow! Love the Laminaria. Real labour of love. I have some Mal Lace in Emerald Blue too. Great minds, eh?

  2. Sue (wrapNturn) Says:

    Thanks for posting the knitter’s blessing and making sure it didn’t get lost amongst the tweets. It is a classic.

  3. chanecia17 Says:

    Laminaria is beautiful. I absolutely adore the color! Maybe I should knit one for myself. Kudos to you for attempting 12 shawls this year. 12 of anything would drive me batty.

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