The Year of Knitting Lacily: October Update

Well, September’s challenge shawl turned into a real challenge after all! I have been knitting Mrs Tumnus by Eskimimi, and I have to say that the pattern was a joy to work, the chart and instructions clear and precise, and the finished effect of the shawl is lovely.

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The first thing I found challenging was the cast on; when I read “cast on 417 sts” my heart sank a little! I have failed times without number to count and recount lengthy cast-ons accurately, so this time I placed a marker after every 50 stitches and just rechecked each section as I completed it. It took me two evenings to cast on! The pattern does not advise which cast on method to use, although Eskimimi’s web notes recommends long tail cast on. I didn’t think I had enough yarn to risk wasting it overestimating the tail so I went instead for a reasonably loose cable cast on.

The chart covers the border only, and consists of 32 rows, with some pattern stitches on alternate rows; so basically there are no real “rest” rows in between the pattern rows, at least for the first 25 or so rows. I managed to knit just over one row per evening!

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The final challenge was whether the yarn would be enough. The pattern example used 370m of 4ply; my skein of Yorkshire Rose BFL has 385m. It would be tight, but possible. The pattern says to use 4.5 -5mm needles. I chose to use 4.5mm to ensure that the yarn would not run out. I failed. I could have perhaps taken steps towards the end to conserve the yarn, but I wanted to see exactly how far it would reach; I found out it reached to two-thirds of the way along the cast off edge! Luckily, I have another skein of the same yarn hand dyed in a slightly paler yellow, called Sunflowers, and so I used that to complete the cast off. I needed just 3g of Sunflowers!

This is a truely lovely shawl and an interesting pattern, with an unusual construction. Next time I make it – and I feel sure there will be a next time – I will ensure I have enough yarn.

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Technical notes
Pattern: Mrs Tumnus, by Eskimimi
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Cinteotl; small amount of colour Sunflowers to complete
Needles: Addi metal 4.5mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: minus 3g!
Finished dimensions: neck edge 115cm, neck to edge (widest) 42cm

October’s challenge
This month’s shawl is Lila by Gillie Parsons. Another crescent shawl, with a lovely lace edge and a stocking stitch body. It is another shawl knitted from the edge up to the neck, so involves a lengthy cast on. Oh, goody! I still have a sizeable stash of Wharfedale Woolworks sock yarn to choose from, and the colours I have are lovely – the dark steely blue of Panacea, the lush green of Gaia, the rich blue of Galene, or the variegated autumnal Crab Apples. I think I am going to go with the plummy purple Eirene. I like the fruitfulness of this semi-solid yarn, and it will be just right for wearing in November and December, reminding me of the deep velvet of a winter’s night. It would look lovely with some strategically placed silver beads perhaps.

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