And, believe it or not, I've been doing some actual knitting too!
In a previous posting, I mentioned that I'd have to find myself a new project for summer, as almost all of my current projects have significant mohair content and are impossible to work on when the weather is humid. Well, the lure of the Hand Maiden 'Sea Silk' combined with Evelyn Clark's 'Swallowtail Shawl' from the 'Interweave Knits' Fall 2006 issue has proved impossible to resist. How I wish I could say that this combination was all my idea, but there are already several completed Sea Silk 'Swallowtail Shawls' out there, and even the choice of the 'Ocean' colourway isn't original. Well, it just happens to be what I have here, and I'm going to go with it as I love the colourway.
So here it is after 9 repeats of the 'Budding Lace 2' chart...
While this may look like the point I was up to when I left the last get together at 'Rubi & Lana', it's actually 'Swallowtail Shawl' Mark II, as I decided the next day that I'd like to go up a needle size to US 6 (4.00 mm) needles, so I frogged what I'd knit up to that point.
And here it is after 13 repeats...
And after 19 repeats...
... which is the point I'm stalled at now. Before I proceed, I have to make a decision, and as you can probably see I've threaded a lifeline through the current row as I'm not sure I trust myself to make the right decision.
The original 'Swallowtail Shawl' is actually more of a scarf than a shawl...
... but what I want is a shawl you can really wrap yourself up in -- I'm knitting it in 'Sea Silk' after all, and I think that's something I'm really going to want to be wrapped in. ;)
I've done the calculations, and to enlarge the shawl and still keep all the patterns correct, you need to work 5 extra repeats of the 'Budding Lace 2' chart (19 repeats in total) and one extra repeat of rows 3 to 12 of the 'Lily of the Valley Border 1' chart after completing the 'Lily of the Valley Border 2' chart (3 'Lily of the Valley Border' repeats in total).
However, now that I've completed the 19 repeats of the 'Budding Lace 2' chart, I'm not entirely convinced that even with the extra rows of the 'Lily of the Valley Border' and the 'Peaked Edging', plus a really good blocking of course, that the shawl is going to attain the dimensions I'm dreaming of. I'm actually tempted to work a further 5 repeats of the 'Budding Lace 2' chart (24 repeats in total) along with an extra repeat of the 'Lily of the Valley Border 2' chart just before working the 'Peaked Edging' chart (4 'Lily of the Valley Border' repeats in total).
So... What do people think? Would I be crazy to do this? Am I under-estimating how much the shawl will increase in size once I work the extra edging rows and block it? Do I even have enough floor space to block the shawl properly once I finish knitting it if I make it this big? ;) The overall smallness of the original shawl really does have me worried though.
Before I move on to talking about the other project I've been working on, I should mention that this is the project I've decided to use to try out my new KnitPicks 'Options' needles. So far, I've been very impressed. I've only had the needles start to unscrew once, and that was because I really hadn't tightened them enough in the first place, and it hasn't happened again since I've made sure to really tightened them properly. The finish on the needle tips I have tried so far (US 5 and US 6) has been every bit as good, if not better, than the finish on my Addi Turbo circular needles, and the needles have had a really nice feel to them as I knit my 'Swallowtail Shawl' with them.
I chose this project to try them out as I'm using a yarn with little or no give to it, and it's a lace project. So far the sharper points of the KnitPicks needles are making this project a much more enjoyable knit than the 'Lace Modular Shawl' I knit a year ago using Artyarns 'Regal Silk' on Addi Turbo needles was. It's even a lot easier to unknit the centred double decreases when I make a mistake, thanks to the points of these needles. Sliding the stitches from the cable to the working area of the needle is also a lot easier than it was for similar sizes of Tulip bamboo circular needles -- which was the reason I was prompted recently to switch to using straight needles for my 'Pacific Ocean Stole', as moving the stitches from the cable to the needle was a major undertaking at the start of each row. As for the cables themselves -- I've tried a few of them out now as I've changed the cables to a longer one a couple of times now. Over all, they've been really nice -- they uncoil without even having to run them through hot water -- and the only problem I've had so far was that one of the cables had some residue on it which needed to be removed to enable the stitches to slide without snagging.
So far, I'd have to say that I'm really happy with this purchase. :) It's been so much better than my experience with the 'Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles' has been to date.
Which leads me quite neatly to my 'Pacific Ocean Stole'...
... which as you can see has been progressing, albeit quite slowly -- I work on it when the weather permits. I've now completed the 10th pattern repeat, which I think will turn out to be somewhere around the halfway point.