Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Yarn Geeking

I just started the Adamas Shawl from KnitPicks and I have a few nits to pick with the darn pattern.

I will say that I love the yarn itself. It's gorgeous, strong, and exactly right for size 5 needles for a really Shetland style lace, i.e. using a gage far bigger than the yarn works really well with it.

The pattern, though, has six specific problems, and while I can think of fixes for four of them, I have let one of them just go and the other one I'm still wrestling with.

  1. The darn thing is in stockinette, it has you PERL the wrong side rows. This means that the shawl has a wrong side and a right side, and when done you would only be able to wear one side up. So I am knitting the "wrong side" rows so I can just pick it up and wear it whichever way.

  2. The inside "diamonds" don't have a top point. You can't see that in the picture on the web, but the chart's good in that it's darn clear, so I've added a k2tog yo at the top of each of the inner diamonds. If it's called Adamas for diamond, you might as well get real diamonds inside instead of blunt pointed ones.

  3. By cable casting on the first set of stitches, you get a 'bare' spot compared to a two-stitch garter edge at the top for the rest of the shawl. Just doing two rows of garter stitch solves that one pretty neatly.

  4. The pattern calls for 38 stitch markers to mark EVERY repeat of the pattern. I hate transferring markers. I also have knitted lace enough that don't really need them to track a pattern, so I'm just leaving them off. I haven't run into a problem yet.

  5. Farosese shawls have a really nice body panel between the two triangles that makes them fit on people's shoulders better. I contemplated adding one with just the flat diamond pattern going down it instead of the two lace hole border. I finally decided not to as I'm not sure how close they came on the yarn estimate for the shawl; but I'll have to post how close it was so that next time I could add it if there is enough leftover.

  6. The edging lace is just a knit-on added strip at the bottom of the cloth!!! You have to BIND OFF ALL THE STITCHES at the end! My god. Bind-offs are the worst things to do to lace because they stiffen that edge, badly. There are a few things to do to help make it springier and it does have one of the "better" bind-offs in the instructions, but oh my god. I don't think I can bind it off at the end. I'm contemplating three ways of addressing this but none of them are exactly foolproof. That's the one thing that is driving me nuts.

All in all, though, it's a simple, pretty pattern that I rather like for a "beginner" project for me.

The other technical thing I'm going through is with the planning for the Shetland-style Orkney shawl.

The classic Shetland shawls were knitted from the lace edges in. The knitter did a lace edge, picked up stitches from the inside of the edge, and knitted down a border, decreasing both edges, and then added the center square. Then they'd do each of the other three edges and borders, and then grafted them all together to create a square.

Present day patterns for the square shawls go from the inside out, mostly because circular needles can hold a lot stitches or even knit the borders in the round, but also because few modern knitters actually knit while they walk AND they usually do it from a pattern, I think. The inside square to the borders to the edges is easier because you don't have to do much grafting or picking up. Both techniques avoid cast-ons and cast-offs as they make for shawls with hard edges that aren't cozy to wear. But I'm realizing that the traditional method has not only the portability aspect going for it (you can easily work on and carry edging and even a border section on and edging), but if I have the stitch patterns memorized already and do NOT have a pattern to work off of, by doing the edge first, I know the exact width and length of the finished shawl well before I'm done, as soon as I've finished with the edging. With the inside out method, I won't know until I've blocked the whole thing.

Which is likely why most of my old shawls, which I worked from the inside square out, were all in the five and six to even seven foot square ranges. MUCH bigger than I'd anticipated.

Nearly all the shawls I've done in the past (about 10 spaced over a time of about 15 years, plus or minus some, all but two were hand-spun) were squares. The Orkney one is going to be rectangular to get the flow of it right. I'm still debating an all-white edging or variegating the edge with the borders and center (rectangular shawls have a center section and then two borders coming from the center that are, traditionally, symmetrical), but the stitch list as I first figured it will probably happen. The thing is that I'd bought a skein of white lace yarn along with the other colors, but it turns out to be a one-ply and all the others were two. I'd bought some from knit picks, but it's far yellower than I wanted. I finally found, today, a skein of white merino lace yarn, which is very different, texturally, but exactly the color I wanted for the foam sections and has about the right gage to it. So I'm likely to at least plan it, now.
Tags: knitting, lace

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