Now, this is a lovely shawl. The pattern draws on Estonian lace patterns, which are gorgeous to begin with, and arranges them in quite a dramatic way. There's a small starburst pattern, a larger one, and then the dramatic swoopy edging.
Here's the transition from the larger starburst/flower pattern into the edging... it flows really nicely. And it's simply a very, very nice pattern. The initial flower pattern is incredibly easy to memorize, and the larger one isn't that difficult, either (perhaps particularly if you're a loose knitter, as I am).
Now, what's really amazing is how much it grew in the blocking. When it first came off the needles, it was about 56 inches from tip to tip, and about 25 inches from nape to point. Plus all textured and ruffly. Now, actually, even here this kind of looked cool.
But then I blocked it--and I blocked it hard. It's actually a slightly tricky pattern to block, because it doesn't make a smooth triangle. The different patterns are all slightly out of gauge, in a way, and so it doesn't just grow out from the nape evenly (it's a shawl pattern that starts with a few stitches at the nape, and grows out and down), but ends up flaring.
See? There have been those who compare the final shape to the Cylon ships from Battlestar Galactica. Those people are not wrong. Even here it goes like that, even though I tried to combat that a bit. I went down a needle size between the first and second patterns, in order to minimize the irregularity of the shape of the finished shawl (what can I say? I like regularity).
I am, in the end, extremely pleased by this. Somehow it feels like the most formal of the lace shawls I've knit. I think it's a combination of the shape and the weight of the yarn. The other triangular shawls I've knit (and there are only two) have been either much plainer, or in a thicker yarn and thus more muffler feeling. And stoles, even in a fine lace weight, always seem scarf-like to me. But this, with the fineness of the lace and the triangular shape and the pointy edges... this screams "lace shawl!" to me in a way the others don't necessarily do.
2. Latvian mittens (my own pattern), knit in Limbažu Tīn, which is yarn I bought in Riga last fall, on size 0 needles, begun February 12, finished February 28, 2010 (these were my main Ravelympics project):
OK, these were so much fun.
Despite the fact that the (very few) votes in my last questioning post moved toward the red with gold design mittens, for some reason I ended up drawn to the cream with colored design version. Except that when I cast on for the first mitten using the pattern I'd originally drawn up, it was so far too big that... well, it might have worked for a muff. But a mitten? No.
So, I went back to that amazing webpage with all the pictures, and refigured various things. And this is what I came up with.
Construction-wise, this was pretty simple.
I cast on 56 stitches using Judy's magic cast-on, with a second size 0 needle. I joined to work in the round, knit four rows, then did a row of k2tog,yo for a pretty edge, knit four more rows, and then joined the hem by knitting together the stitches off the two needles (i.e., the main working needle and the second needle that had just been hanging there for a while).
That's what it looks like on the inside.
Then I knit up in pattern until I was ready to put in the thumbs. I didn't bother with increasing for the thumbs, because when I look at the pictures of actual Latvian mittens they don't seem to have thumb gussets. Basically, when I got there, I used a bit of waste yarn to do like an afterthought heel space for the thumb--I knit stitches on waste yarn, moved them back to the left needle, and knit them again with the working yarn. Then when I was done with the whole thing, I went back, pulled out the waste yarn and put the revealed live stitches on needles, picked up a few stitches to close the gaps that form at the sides, and knit up.
The other thing... I just did a pretty basic set of decreases for the pointy top, decreasing every other row. I kind of wish I'd started them a little later and done them every row, for a less pointy top, but they're fine as they are.
I blocked them on a piece of cut peg board. My mom thought of this, and my dad cut the piece for me, and it worked really well.
I love them, even if I finished them just as winter seems to be ending. Ah, well. I've worn them twice anyway.
3. Another Braided Ball, using scraps of Knitpicks Merino Superwash DK, and sock yarn, on size 6 needles:
There's not that much else to say about this, other than it continues to be a super cute and super clever pattern. This time, because I had not enough khaki knitpicks yarn left, I striped it with a self-striping sock yarn (Lorna's Laces, in pinstripe), held doubled. I actually really like how the strips came together.
4. The question for the future.
So, I have for quite a while thought that I want to make a cardigan version of the Venezia sweater. Except with different colors. Now, I initially decided that this was going to be my ravelympics project, but I failed to order yarn in time (or, rather, I failed to pay for fast enough shipping for the yarn to arrive in time).
Here's what I originally thought I'd do.
These are colors of KnitPicks Palette, a fingering yarn that seems to be a good substitute for this kind of colorwork. Basically, the original pattern has dark blues shading to pale blue/green contrasted with creams darkening to gold. That creates the slight striping effect. I thought I'd try for the same, except with browns darkening through oranges to gold, contrasted with creams darkening to a brown tweedy green. (My interest in this color combination has everything to do with a scarf I bought in Riga, which is oranges and browns highlighted with a tiny bit of green. These are not colors I thought of putting together before, but it turns out I really like it.)
So, I ordered these yarns, and then sat down and swatched. And it's not... quite... right.
Now, I actually like the colors, but the current arrangement isn't right. I think the browns to gold part works fine (plus, how can I not like a set of colors that includes masala, turmeric, and sweet potato?) But the creams to green just doesn't work. The second to last color is too dark, and makes the pattern fade away, and the whole thing seem too striped.
Because I am a dork, I futzed around (BADLY) with photoshop and mocked up what this might look like if I extended the cream color up through where there's now that dark tan color, leaving the green in the center because that was kind of one of the guiding thoughts behind the whole thing.
I think this works... right? It's a different look than the original, not just because it's a different color family, but because it's ... I don't know, just, different. But more or less I think it's OK. The question, though, is whether the green works or if I should go for the dark tan there instead. That would be more of a transition from the cream, even if it would be a different feel.
Hmpf. I'm undecided. And I'll have to buy more yarn, whatever I decide.