Saturday, February 24, 2007

Candles flaming brightly

Not long ago, I bought a couple of cones of 100% silk 2/28 lace weight yarn from ColourMart's new website. The price was particularly good at the time ($US12 per 150 g cone, including shipping anywhere in the world) as Richard was testing out the new website and was keen for people to test it out. The colour of the yarn turned out to be a bit less red and quite a bit more pink than I'd originally hoped it would be when it arrived on my doorstep -- one of the joys of buying yarn like this over the internet ;) -- but it was a really fabulous colour anyway, so I went searching for a project that would bring out its best.

And then Knitabulous, temptress that she is, posted about the 'Candle Flame Shawl' she has been working on using Debbie Bliss 'Pure Silk' and I was sold.

Now, Knitabulous can't be expected to take any of the blame for what follows, as it's really not everyone who would look at the work in progress photos of her lovely shawl, read about her safe, slow, languid knit which gets worked on when there is a need to meditate, and then immediately leap to the conclusion that a pattern originally designed to be knit with Lambs Pride Bulky yarn on US 10 knitting needles would be just perfect for some 2/28 lace weight silk yarn. That requires a very special way of thinking that most people would quite rightly refer to as madness.

So, out came the two cones of lace weight silk yarn, my 2 mm Addi circular needles, and the pattern for the aforementioned Candle Flame Shawl, and not too long afterwards I had produced this...


Just in case it's not obvious from the photos, I'm knitting with two threads of the yarn held together...


... which is producing just the right fabric density on the 2 mm needles.

And after a few more days work, my shawl looked like this...


... and I can definitely say that the cone spindles were one of my better knitting accessory purchases, as they are making it really easy to knit the yarn straight off the two separate cones.

To show some of the stitch detail better, here is a close up photo of the front of the shawl...


And of the back of the shawl...


Even though it isn't strictly speaking reversible, I think the reverse side of the candle flame stitch pattern used in this shawl is actually quite attractive too.

After quite a bit more work, my shawl had grown considerably.

Here is the front view...


And the back view...


It's entirely possible that this shawl is another one of the distractions which has kept me from posting to this blog over the past few weeks. ;)

At the point shown in the last two photographs, I estimated that I'd knit about 25% of the final shawl, and the rows were already 433 stitches long, which means there will probably be double that number of stitches on the needles by the time the shawl is finished. Eek!

I still have to decide upon the edging to use along the top edge of my shawl, as I really don't think the original 10 stitch garter stitch border is going to work well for this much lighter weight version of the shawl.

I've actually done a couple more pattern repeats over the past few days and there are now 467 little, tiny stitches sitting on my needles.

And I definitely need to wear my glasses when I'm working on this project. ;)

I'm really enjoying working with this yarn, and I'm so impressed with the way the knitted fabric is turning out -- it has a fabulous drape, and is as silky soft as lingerie fabric -- that I've gone ahead and bought some more of it for future projects. At $US16 for a 150 g cone with 2,300 yards of yarn on it, and with such stunning colours currently available, it really was impossible to resist. :)

And just in case anyone is wondering what has happened to my 'Swallowtail Shawl', it is now off the needles but is still waiting for me to clear enough space somewhere in the house so it can be blocked...


And yes, those black threads visible in the photograph are the life lines still in place -- I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to removing safety nets. ;)

For anyone who has been keeping track -- The last row before the shawl was cast off was 503 stitches long, and I had around 17 g of the 'Sea Silk' left by the time I finished. Unblocked, the shawl is approximately 74 cm long measured down the centre spine, and 152 cm wide measured across the whole top edge. I'm feeling quite confident now that it will block out quite nicely to the size I've been dreaming of.

I actually knit the final row and the cast off of my 'Swallowtail Shawl' after I had started work on the 'Candle Flame Shawl', and was surprised at how much like logs the 4 mm needles felt after the 2 mm needles, even though I'd only been working with them for a very short time at that stage.

There has also been some re-stocking at Purl Yarns, which prompted me to buy these...


Two hanks of Lorna's Laces 'Shepherd Sock' in the 'Lakeview' colourway, and two hanks in 'Blackberry', both of which I have been looking out for for a while now.

I also took the opportunity to order some balls of Kaalund 'Enchanté' in the 'Wisteria' colourway for myself when I placed the telephone order for Lois' yarn at Kaalund.


This is another of those colourways that my digital camera doesn't appear to be able to do full justice to, but I hope the photo gives at least some idea of what the yarn looks like in person.

While I was putting together Lois' final Secret Pal 9 package, I paid a visit to The Wool Inn at Penrith.


While I was there, I found some balls of Kaalund 'ClassicTwo' in the 'Tropical Berries' colourway, which I have earmarked to be used for knitting one of the shawls featured in Issue 2 of Yarn magazine. I was also shown some Mi Inca 100% Baby Alpaca yarn in a fabulous teal colour, which insisted on following me home down the motorway. And of course I had to buy a couple of the Colonial rosewood circular needles (a 4.5 mm and a 5 mm, both in the 24" length) to try out for myself too.

Just in case it isn't obvious already, I don't believe in the whole yarn diet thing which appears to be so popular at the moment. Call me crazy, but I'd actually like for there still to be some yarn stores around by this time next year. ;)

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12 Comments:

At 8:17 pm, February 26, 2007, Blogger Kate said...

sigh - reading this post is just like going to my LYS (which just happens to be the Wool Inn) and looking at all the lovely yarns - real yarn satisfaction. (I won't call it yarn porn because it's too nice an experience) I am lucky to own a set of the Colonial rosewood circular needles and I find them as smooth and sweet as a nice hot chocolate.

 
At 7:38 pm, February 27, 2007, Anonymous dawn said...

I've come to this post via colourmart's group. Both of your shawls are lovely, and I'm very interested in the silk shawl (I have some gorgeous colourmart silk waiting in the wings), it looks gorgeous!

 
At 11:37 am, February 28, 2007, Anonymous Michelle said...

your shawls are gorgeous!! i'm planning on knitting my first shawl soon!! i'm so excited but scared at the same time as i've never knitted anything with thin yarns before!!

that kaalund yarns looks really pretty!! never heard of them before!!

 
At 4:14 am, March 03, 2007, Blogger tellen said...

I found your blog through the ColourMart and I love your Candle Flame Shawl! I knit that same shawl last summer out of worsted weight Malabrigo merino. I love it in the thicker yarn but I must say, I think I love it even more out of the small yarn. :) Nice job!

 
At 11:03 am, March 13, 2007, Blogger mehitabel said...

Your Candleflame is truly beautiful! I've knitted the pattern in several different yarns, and it always makes up nicely. I've played around with the top border, and now do the 9-stitch garter border, just because I couldn't find anything else that worked as well. I'll be interested to see what you come up with!

 
At 9:27 am, March 15, 2007, Anonymous Kerry said...

Your Candleflame shawl looks beautiful. I was interested to see it as I am knitting a candle flame shawl from a Knit Picks pattern. I'm using 2ply Bendigo laceweight wool and 3.5mm needles so it is not as dense looking (which I like) as yours. Also the KP shawl is rectulangular, so only 97 stitches on the needle ;-).
I bought some Colourmart last year and am looking forward to using it.

 
At 7:51 pm, March 16, 2007, Blogger Rose Red said...

Your candleflame shawl is just gorgeous! I've earmarked this pattern too, after Knitabulous' post!!

 
At 4:16 am, March 22, 2007, Anonymous secret scarf pal said...

Just dropped in to say a little hello, from your secret scarf exchange pal! Your shawls are to-die-for gorgeous! Hope my humble scarf knitting can please you by comparison---your work looks flawless! :)

By the way, I'm left-handed as well...funny how much time we spend turning the whole world around as we go!

I'll peek in again soon to see what mischief you've been up to.

 
At 11:08 am, March 24, 2007, Anonymous secret scarf pal said...

Oh, by the way....I thought I heard somewhere that you aren't a pink girl! That is one lovely pink shawl you have going there.... ;)

 
At 10:36 pm, March 26, 2007, Blogger Shelley said...

Here from ISE4 blog. Your shawls are gorgeous, and I really like your candle flame one! I agree with you in that the back looks good too!

 
At 12:28 pm, March 27, 2007, Blogger knitabulous said...

Your candle flame is beautiful! I love this stitch pattern so much, it's not too hard and you get such a wonderful result. In awe of the thousand stitches on the needle at the end, email me a pic when you're done?
I'm going to the wool inn in two weeks, we should have a coffee.

 
At 9:40 am, March 28, 2007, Blogger Bogie said...

Beautiful beautiful work! I've been a member of the Colourmart Yahoo!Group for a while, have ordered the sampler, but have yet to place an order for any quantity of yarn. Your shawl may just motivate me to place an order. What size needles are you using for the candleflame shawl?

 

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