18 March, 2006

Birch lace shawl done!

(This post has been edited... a picture has been added)

I finished Birch this week. I love it, it's like a soft cloud around my shoulders and so warm.

The finished shawl has a very nice drape

My Alice Starmore pose

It will be for special occasions only, because I already got it caught in the zipper of my wallet when I wore it to the grocery store... Ooops!
The yarn is lovely, so light and soft. I can see why it's so popular. One of my dogs playfully attacked it, so I have to be careful with how I carry it. Apparently it reminded somebody of a fuzzy squeaky toy being waved in front of them, but there was no damage done. If the pictures I took myself are not that great, it's because it was so cold out this week, and I couldn't stand to be out taking pictures with bare hands for very long. Hmmm, this is getting me thinking about future fingerless gloves to knit...

With this picture I am trying to show both the stripe effect which was the result of knitting every other row with different dye lots, and also how the garter stitch version looks as opposed to the more usual stockinette version.
One problem with the stripes was that I had to carry two colors along the side instead of one. I don't usually like doing that, because it causes the threads to lock into a firmer knot along the selvedge. Also, it's a double thickness of yarn on one edge, so that edge has a little more firmness to it than the other. While I was working I was worried that it would not look good, but it's not noticeable at all. It's really hard to get a picture of the color effect, but it does give more depth to the fabric, and I am very happy with it.
I think the garter stitch gives a little more softness to the texture. It also makes the fabric reversible.

Project specs:
Birch from Rowan Magazine 34
Yarn - Kid Silk Haze in color Pearl 3.5 balls
Tension - 15 stitches to 10 cm with 5 mm needles
Pattern modifications - the tension in the pattern is 20 stitches to 10 cm, but I wanted it more open so I used 15 st/10 cm.

I decided I needed I small portable project, so I have started a scarf using bamboo yarn. The pattern is called Snowdrops. I got it from one of my knitting stitch encyclopedias, but I am already experimenting with changing it. I am not so happy with how the double decreases are working out, they are making a lot of big bumps. Could be because this is not such an elastic yarn, it's a lot like cotton. The yarn is very smooth and has a good sheen, and I wanted to use a lace pattern which included areas of stockinette to capitalize on that smoothness. I have also been working on my yellow and green Norwegian sweater, and even though I love knitting lace, it is a relief for my fingers to feel some nice springy wool again.


  1. Oh I think it's lovely! No wonder I feel that your Birch looks a bit larger than those I've seen before ...
    I am now knitting the Sampler Stole from A Gathering of Lace. Just went past the first repeat of the central panel ... everything has become much easier.
    I would really start Birch after I finish Sampler Stole ... especially after seeing yours.

  2. oh wow! birch looks absolutely wonderful. i've made a birch shawl myself but i think i like yours better. the white colour makes it look kinda dreamy and soft. just delightful.

  3. Your birch looks beautiful! I can just make out the stripping-really lovey effect.

  4. it's beautiful! reminds me that i need to block mine again. it's about the size of a hankie now ;-)

    love the landscape pic!

  5. hege, the pictures are gorgeous. i'm really tempted to go visit you this summer. spend a few days, go to the beach, but of course, knit and sew.

    i'm definitely starting birch once we're all settled down.

  6. haha - thank you for the plethora of comments! I have to admit to staring at the fairisle picture a lot, too. Something about the pattern is really memorizing. I've been taking a break from it the past few days because I know that the minute I pick it up I'm going to forget about all of my other responsibilities.

    The top knitting quote is from Marion Meade's book "What Fresh Hell Is This". It's about Dorothy Parker, who was a huge knitter. It's REALLY good. I highly recommend reading it. Never heard of Dorothy Sayers, but I'll definitely find some books by her. I like Agatha Christie because they're so fun and easy to get through - a nice relief from all my schoolwork. I'm almost finished with all of the Miss Marple ones so I'll be glad to have another author to check out.

    I could have sworn that I commented on your Birch shawl, but now I don't see my comment anywhere. Anyway - it's gorgeous! I prefer the garter stitch version to the stockinette, I think. The color variations are so wonderfully subtle. I really like it.