Thursday, September 29, 2011

Calais Shawl

In my unending desire to knit a piece of lace without five thousand miss-counts or dropped stitches, I searched on Ravelry for a free simple lace pattern...that is, one with very few pattern stitches and lots of simple repeats.  There are hundreds of free patterns that are easy but that is because most of them mostly straight knitting with a complex hem.  The Calais Scarf by Judy Marples of Purl Bumps fit the bill.  Here's the photo from her pattern: 

Isn't it lovely?  Many repeats of a small number of stitches (for those of us who can't count) plus an interesting border.  These attributes when combined with the use of only one skein of yarn made this a great project for me.

Off I went to the stash thinking of all those sock yarns I have acquired and how lovely they would look in this pattern.  While sorting through the pile I came across a skein that I actually hate and realized that it would work for this pattern.

I had purchased a skein of Araucania's Lonco Solid mercerized cotton yarn that had been hand dyed in chocolate brown.  I wear a lot of brown in the winter and thought that brown socks would be a logical choice for me HOWEVER this yarn has no stretch in it and would make lousy socks...or at least socks that would not stay up.  I had ignored good advice about always reading the label before you buy a yarn and had ended up with string for sock knitting.  YUCK!

Anyway, I have been hiding this yarn in the bottom of my basket and brought it out for this experiment in lace knitting.

Here's how my effort came out...

Yes, you can see a couple of boo boos and yes, on one row I couldn't figure out if I was knitting or purling but it's done, is incredibly soft and drapes beautifully.  This is definitely something I will wear as a decoration rather than for warmth and I love it.

Lessons learned/re-learned:

  • stitch markers are your friends
  • count twice, rip once
  • blocking wires are a good thing but finicky to use
  • nothing I own is big enough for blocking this type of project
  • there is no bad yarn, just yarn that hasn't met the right project yet

I think I will try this specific pattern again but in a traditional yarn (like a wool blend) rather than the string I used this time.

Time to go stash diving! 

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