Saturday, May 13, 2006

And the Winner Is . . .

Completely disregarding Sylvia’s insightful comment that the shawl she made from the Icelandic laceweight yarn feels like "a cloak of fire ants," I decided on the Icelandic for my Langsjal Johonnu. The yarn was gifted to me by DH, who also bought me the Three Cornered and Long Shawls book, and it’s been waiting in the stash for a while now. So, the die is cast.

To counter some of the scratchiness (which I don’t deny), I decided to use a much larger needle size than the one called for in the pattern. After working up several swatches, I decided on a 5mm (U.S. size 8) needle. I also chose a metal needle after reading Sylvia’s remark that the yarn was very "grabby."

Based on the size of my swatch, I also decided to alter the pattern by eliminating two repeats of the border pattern. Accordingly, I cast on 92 stitches instead of the 130 called for in the pattern.

Here’s the first border:

My tentative measurements indicate the finished stole will be about 24 inches wide. That’s only 1 inch narrower than the finished dimensions of the stole in the pattern book, which has two additional repeats. Go figure.

My initial reaction to the yarn . . . Yes, it’s slightly scratchy but I’m really enjoying knitting with it. I think it was wise to use a large needle.

Another observation about the yarn . . . there is no way I would characterize this as laceweight. Each 50g skein has only 250 yards of yarn and with the large, 5mm needle, I am getting a nice, open lace that’s decidedly not sloppy. I can’t even imagine knitting this at a gauge tighter than the one I’m using. The garment would have the attributes of a suit of armor.

I’m off to start the center panel . . . . . . .

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Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.