The first post-stash project is a wedding shawl for my friend Elisabeth. I couldn't find a pattern for a rectangular shawl that had 1) a leafy open lace, 2) wavy edges, 3) no knitted-on edges, 4) no picking up stitches. I even widened the search to include patterns with provisional cast-on, but no luck. So I set about making up a new shawl pattern. The center panel was easy enough, since it came straight out of a Barbara Walker's first Treasury. After many swatches and froggings, I found a lace pattern that turns out wavy on all four sides, that I could use as the border all the way around. I made up and perfected a Greek Key lace pattern to incorporate along the sides of the center panel. I dorkishly made a lovely excel chart of the shawl, to make sure all the math worked out. I even swatched!
I blithely started knitting away, rather pleased with myself. Imagine my horror when I used up an entire ball of yarn on just the border of one short edge! I had gotten four balls of Rowan Kidsilk Aura, since most shawl patterns called for 3 balls, and I wanted one extra. At the rate I was going, the shawl would turn out shorter than it was wide. I checked my math. I checked my swatch. I looked at other shawl patterns. And then it hit me...I should have blocked the swatches! Grr, stupid swatching!
So I blocked the swatches, and realized I needed, erm, 40% fewer stitches. Also, there's no way I can fit in the Greek Key lace without having really weird proportions, so that got cut out. And I started over (old one on top, new on on bottom):
Oh yeah, didn't you know? Kidsilk Aura can't be frogged because it's drain-cloggingly fuzzy and sets into a permanent web as soon as each stitch is done. So not only do I have to start over, I don't even get to have the joy of ripping out the first one. Oh, and I may have to turn all the LYS's upside down, looking for another matching ball of yarn.
At least the second shawl is looking better. I usually use wood/bamboo needles for lace for some extra "cling," but I couldn't bear the thought of taking the first shawl off the needles, so I used a new set of metal circs that I got as part of the Black Yarn Swap. And they're so much better! They're sharper and can get through all that MFing fuzz, and pick up all the little twisted stiches (Does anyone enjoy p2tbl?). I'm a metal-needles-for-lace-knitting convert now!