Thursday, September 22, 2005

Shaping Linen

Can a knitting project be the love of your life and the bane of your existence at the same time? Cause I think my latest project fits that bill to a "T"!!

I refer to the pleasure of the Shaped Triangle and the pain of knitting this lovely shawl in Linen!!

When I first perused the wonderful book, A Gathering of Lace, and spied the Shaped Triangle I knew executing it's lacey beauty would be in my near future. I decided I needed a "lightweight" black shawl since afterall, I do live in a tropical climate. I had heard great things about Euroflax Linen (mostly from Kay) and had always wanted to try it. Ah, the perfect marriage of pattern and yarn, the Shaped Triangle and black lace weight linen.....or so I thought....

First off, finding a needle that was pointed enough for intricate lace and worked well with the linen was no easy task! I swatched with Addi Turbos (a horrid coupling!) Crystal Palace Bamboo circs (too grabby) Denise Interchangeables - these were very good except the needle size that produced the fabric I liked best was a #4 US (3.5 mm) and the Denise needles go no smaller than a #5! I finally ended up with Aero Gray Teflon (Aeros are the same as Inox but sold in Canada). The Aero needles are nice and pointy for the lace with soft, flexible cables and grabbed the linen just enough to tame it's slick, slippery nature -- mostly....

The shawl is knit from the center top down and the first pattern is a sort of bramble stitch so NO MARKERS could be used!! And believe me, that slippery linen had a mind of it's own! I re-knit that first section a few times too many and I became intimately acquainted with life lines! Thank god for life lines!!!

Once you get past the brambles, the pattern is more amenable to using stitch markers for landmarks so managing the linen and keeping the correct stitch count got a little easier. And honestly, it's a great pattern....fun to knit, well written, and the pattern changes throughout so there is no boredom. **Be sure to check the XRX/Knitter's site for errata because there are lots of errors in various editions and printings of the book**

The linen, on the other hand, showed it's evil nature all the way through! This stuff sheds like a mofo! There were tiny black hairs EVERYWHERE!! And during my sweaty bout with Katrina, they were all over ME! In fact, when I washed and dried the shawl, this is what was in my lint trap....


I put in the skein of yarn for perspective...that's a big, honking wad of lint there!! Almost as big as my head, LOL!!

Despite all the slipperiness and the shedding factor, in the end I have a shawl I really *love*! She's soft and light with a nice sheen.....Here, let my spokesmodel, Pumpkin give you a glimpse of the Shaped loveliness.....


And a close up of the lovely border and point....


One of the **Best** things about linen?? NO BLOCKING!! These pics are straight out of the dryer! As much as I love knitting lace, blocking lace is not for the weak....and not having to worry about blocking definitely made up for the unruliness of the linen!

Here's the ubiquitous outside, over the railing shot....

Isn't she pretty?

Specs:

Shaped Triangle from A Gathering of Lace
using approx. 1300 yards of Euroflax Paris (laceweight) linen in Black and a size #4 US (3.5 mm ) Aero Teflon circular needle.

I really enjoyed making this fun to knit and beautiful shawl and I plan to make it again someday . In fact, I have some dark teal Koigu picked out already because I am eager to see the contrast between the resilient wool vs. the very inelastic linen. I also a plan to use linen again but not anytime *real* soon, hehehe....


I'm really happy with the finished product and I heartily recommend her to anyone looking for some lace knitting with a bit of a bite!

Have a good week and think good thoughts for our brothers and sisters in the path of Rita!

And thanks for all the sweet birthday wishes!!

32 comments:

Kris said...

Nice work! It looks wonderful.

How was the birthday?

snowballinhell said...

Gorgeous! That's really beautiful, Deb.

Wow, you could probably knit yourself another cat if you spin the leftover lump of linen from the dryer. ;-)

Pumpkin is, as always, adorable.

Sonja Poor said...

This is truly beautiful. I'm sure the linen will wear long and wear well. How wonderful! Enjoy.

Heather said...

OMG! that is beautiful. I have that book, and I think I need to get it out.
The color is great too. Is the linen soft?
I'm laughing at your wad of lint.

AmyP said...

That's lovely. It looks really light and airy. I've just requested A Gathering of Lace from my library and I know I'm going to have fun looking through it!

Liz said...

It turned out absolutely beautifuly! I love it! And the lint, holy cow...It's a wonder the dryer didn't catch fire.

Dianna said...

I had always wondered about linen. I love knitting vicariously through blogs! One day, perhaps, but at least I can go into it with open eyes.

You did a beautiful job, hurricane, lint, brambles, cat and all!

Sharlene said...

Its like you pulled a small black kitten out of the dryer! I would never have thought linen would shed so much! The shawl looks great though. :)

Agnes said...

WOW ... (this wow has to be capitalized!) it is divinely beautiful! The black is very suitable for this shawl, I think. Lovely lovely ... another masterpiece, I think.

Beth said...

The word for today is surely "perseverance." There's No. Way. I could have done that. It's absolutely gorgeous!

margene said...

Gorgeous and no blocking!? You do good work, grrlfriend.

Alison said...

Gorgeous, Debi! And no blocking! I am so jealous because, let me tell you, it was a royal pain in the backside to block this one. (Actually, I'm just not fond of blocking, so all of them are pains to block.) Wonderful job.

Kim said...

OK, that's just beautiful. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

Very, very nice! I'm afraid I'm getting a long list of shawls I want to do. And the black will be stunning! I'm especially impressed that it looks that nice without blocking! I hate blocking, but love the results.
Dorothy (Missouri Star)

Jacky said...

Pumpkin looks ever so handsome next to that shawl. I mean...that shawl is so beautiful next to Pumpkin. Oh heck, chirrrrrp to Pumpkin and kudos to you!

Ada said...

It's absolutely beautiful!!

New York City Mouse said...

Oh. My. God.

1. It's spectacular--and after all that grief i still think it's the perfect match of yarn and pattern. They are MFEO!

2. You put it in the washer?

3. And then the DRYER?

*NYCMouse breaks out in nervous hives.* Debi, you are a brave, brave woman. And a great knitter!

Christina said...

Wow, lace knitting in black with slippery yarn. That is extreamly impressive. The shawl is stunning!

Rebekah said...

She's beyond pretty, she's gorgeous, oh and Pumpkin too. That is so neat about linen, not having to block, I like That! I may just have to dry some of it myself, my LYS just got in a nice stock of linen.

Teresa C said...

The love of your life and the bane of your existance? Sounds like my kids :).

Seriously, that is a lovely shawl. I'm pulling the book back off of the shelf...

La said...

Ah! Now I see why you haven't been in Yahoo IM. You've been completely taken over by a gorgeous bit o fluff, and I'm not just talking about P. That shawl is beautiful. I have a love-hate relationship going on right now and it's name is Peacock Feathers Shawl. I actually had to run a lifeline, if you can believe it!

Emma said...

That is absolutely gorgeous ! A truly beautiful piece of knitting.
No blocking you say ?... I have,from the lovely Kay,some Euroflax,just waiting for me to get knitting !

Marguerite said...

That's beautiful.

I've got that book, guess I need to get it out and take a look.

Donna S. said...

Wow, Debi, that is beautiful. Still think that is more than I want to attempt yet!!

Nancilyn said...

What a wonderful adventure and what a wonderful reward! Your lace is beautiful and amazing considering the fuzzy blob you started with. Enjoyed visiting your blog.
Nancilyn, an Amplista

Shelda said...

It's gorgeous, Debi! I've always wanted to knit a shawl out of linen myself. It was fun to read about your adventure. I love the photo of the dryer lint. It's almost like there's an animal there!

What does the shawl look like with you wearing it?! Inquiring minds want to know!

susan said...

Just spectacular, Deb! And I'm with Shelda. Let's see you modeling it.

Catherine said...

Wow,that's gorgeous! Is it still shedding now that it has been washed and dried? The sport-weight I've been using hasn't shed like that, I'm wondering if it's because the laceweight is finer, it has more fine ends to shed? Just a theory.

Sandra Knapp said...

Your shaw is absolutely gorgeous. Much credit to you because I would never have the patience, and probably not the skill either, to make such a wonderful shawl.

Lorette said...

That is gorgeous! You rock...I've knit with the Euroflax in the sportweight and thought that IT was difficult!

claudia said...

That is a beautiful shawl. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Debi, I think you just convinced me to try knitting my shawls in linen. Wow, what a beauty! That is really wonderful and no blocking too. Glynda B.