knitting

First Frost Shawl

A year ago I made a crochet lace shawl, using Exquisite Lace from the West Yorkshire Spinners. It’s a marvelous Falkland wool enriched with mulberry silk, and I’ve been looking for the right pattern to use another skein I’d bought last year, in light mint green. I’ve hesitated between many different shawls and scarves, but in the end I chose a Drops Design pattern called First Frost, because: 1) I liked it, 2) it required just under 800 metres which is exactly the length of 1 skein.

This pattern is rather simple – yes, it’s lace so it requires some attention and focus, but it’s also very repetitive so it’s easy to memorize each row after a brief check in the diagram. I’ve been knitting it while working (whenever I didn’t have to type), one row at a time, and it went much faster that it might seem. The yarn is very thin, but the needles used (3,5 mm) are larger than I’m using now for a fingering weight project, since lace looks better when it’s a little more loose and airy (after obligatory blocking of course!).

Speaking of blocking, it’s absolutely necessary – maybe even more than in crochet lacy projects – to open the lace up and really show the pattern. But this shawl is so large that I had to use the bed to block it, as no other flat surface was big enough! So at first I’d soaked it well and dried it on a rack dryer. When it was still a little dump, I stretched it and pinned it to the bed, adding some starch spray. I had to close the bedroom door to keep the cats outside, which of course made them spend the entire afternoon meowing at the door, because we always keep them open and they hate when anything changes.

I need to invest in a bigger foam mat, but most of all, in a spare room I guess πŸ˜‰

This yarn is different from most other lace yarns I’ve ever used. It’s very soft and “puffy” or “airy” – when it’s not stretched it actually looks more like light fingering weight, but then after blocking it gets much thinner and like a proper lace weight. It seems to trap the air between the fibers and I think that’s what make the shawl actually warm despite being lacy and delicate. The crochet shawl from previous summer was in fact very useful in the winter months, and kept me warm even on cold days.

I have so many shawls and lace projects in my Ravelry queue, and I keep adding more. I found out that I enjoy lace knitting much more than colourwork, which is a surprise, because I haven’t been the biggest fan of lace in my wardrobe before I started crocheting and knitting. But these days I find myself more and more drawn to patterns with lacy details, and I’m planning to buy some cobweb, 1-ply lace yarn in the future to try something more challenging. I also have a book about Shetland lace knitting and while most of those shawls still seem too intimidating, I want to give them a try some day. So I think this project was a nice first step!

15 thoughts on “First Frost Shawl

  1. That’s a beautiful shawl! The color of the yarn fits the project’s name too. πŸ˜‰ It’s hard to believe that the shawl is warm despite appearing so thin and lacy.
    The blocking was something! (Yes a spare room would definitely be nice for this one. Something that I keep dreaming of for my artsy side, heh…) Did the cats pretend like nothing was ever wrong the moment you opened the door? πŸ™‚
    And you won’t believe the coincidence, but I just finished composing a blog post that ends with how I want to knit lace more these days. Guess the bug’s going around. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anita! If it’s a lace-knitting virus or bacteria, than I hope the epidemic won’t stop anytime soon;)
      The cats run into the room when I opened it to check every corner and make sure that everything is fine. All cats are neurotic, but I think mine are even more umm… special πŸ˜‰
      Also, the extra room for my yarn, with a rocking chair, really good lamps, blocking mats and maybe an additional space for a sewing machine (my dream, but I just really don’t have space for it!) is my dream as well!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Coincidence or not, but lace knitting, a spare room (my own studio!) for yarn.etc and a sewing machine you mentioned in reply to Anita are on my mind, too ! Or could it be that crafty spirits dream alike πŸ˜‰ Awesome shawl, and the colour you picked matches its name perfectly !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! With that colour of yarn, how could I use any different pattern, right? πŸ˜‰
      I guess there comes a time in a crafty person’s life when it’s not enough to just keep the yarn and other important things stuffed somewhere on a shelf or in a box, but a real studio is needed πŸ˜‰ Hopefully this is a dream that can come true for all of us!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So pretty! You have way more concentration than I do — not to mention a much younger short-term memory!!
    Is your blocking mat all one piece? Mine is actually made of sets of nine 12 x 12 inch pieces of interlocking material. One set creates a 34 x 34 inch square (86.3 x 86.3 cm), and I have two sets, so I can make a mat as big as I have pieces for and a “flat surface” (read “floor”) to put it on. When I’m done, they disassemble and stack into a small area which makes storage easy. You can get many shapes of “mat” by how you put them together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mat is the same, but I’d need another set of 9 pieces to make it big enough for this shawl! I could reassemble it to make it either long enough or wide enough, but not both.

      Like

  4. Kat! This is a work of art! So beautiful, well-done!

    I laughed at the stories of your cats meowing with the door closed – Apollo also hates when something changes in his routine. Pets are too funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊
      Pets make life interesting, don’t they? Mine love routine and hate changes. When we replaced a wardrobe with a new one and moved the oldvone to another place in the bedroom, Stella spent many nights crying where the old wardrobe used to be, unable toand sleep from that stress. I seriously thought she wiuld end up on antidepressants! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is just gorgeous! And what an interesting detail about the yarn being puffy and trapping warmth! Makes me want to find some and try it out. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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