Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pulled It Off Without a Hitch

It was so easy to type that title and so difficult to actually do!

But first, some vintage crochet:

This all-wool afghan lived in my cedar chest for many years. Its clearly vintage colors go with nothing in my house. Never have, never will, but nevermind!

It's wool and scratchy, and smells (still) strongly of cedar, and did I mention that the colors don't go? (It matched a chair in my Growing Up Home--I'll leave that to your imagination!)

And look closely for a lesson in Dye Lots and why it's a good idea to check all the labels and buy enough and then buy an insurance skein or three.
Okay. Enough of the critique. My mother made this one before I was born. So there! It's on the back of the downstairs sofa and is just right for covering legs and feet when I'm feeling too cheap to turn up the heat.

And Pi is finished!

I cannot stop gazing at it in admiration.

Did I really do that?

To which I must say a resounding, "You sure did, Buccko!"

I am genuinely amazed at how it looks all blocked out on the pool table. And yes, I know that "bounce back" fibers will bounce back over time. And I truly wish that I had bitten the bullet and used wool, but the intended victim recipient, will be born to parents living in what is euphemistically referred to as "base housing" perhaps, where laundry facilities can be iffy.

And so, and thus, the need for both "bounce back" and "laundry hardy."

Here's a close-up of the lace.

And here's how it all came to pass:

I started in the center with a cast on of 9 stitches and followed the basic pithy directions for the Pi shawl in Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann with the geometric notion that every time the radius of a circle doubles, so does the circumference (translation: every time the distance from the middle to the edge [radius] gets twice as long, so does the outer edge [circumference]). Thus, once the center is established, every time the number of rounds doubles (3, 6, 12, 24, etc.) so must the number of stitches in the round.

EZ accomplished this by increase rounds of k1, yo to create lacy eyelets, and so did I, but k1, M1, or k1, backwards loop, or a kfb in every stitch would work just fine, too.

Once I had some working space, I added lace motifs that fit both the number of rounds I would be knitting before the next increase round and the number of stitches available (multiple of 3, 6, 9, 12, 4, 8 all would work at some point). This is where having a library of stitch dictionaries comes in very handy. I am the proud owner of several.

When I reached the point where the radius was almost 20" (and I was starting to panic over the amount of yarn that was remaining, or rather, not remaining--see previous post) I decided to begin the border (see previous post also for the angst this caused). I chose a lace edging that was knit lengthwise and had an appropriate number of rows --in this case 8, because I had 576 stitches on my needle and 576 is evenly divisible by 8.

(Okay, I started with a wider border with 12 rows, but if you've been following this saga, you know what happened next, and the time after that. Let's just pretend that I started with the border I finished with, okay?)

Bottom line.

What was left when I finally cast off by joining the last 5 stitches to the 5 cast on stitches (yeh, next time I'll mess around a little more and cast on provisionally and graft. Bite me!) was this little ball, smaller than a golf ball (and much lighter).

It's exactly 6 yards long. I could not have cut it closer if I tried! (And believe me, I tried!)

(Well, actually, I could have, but you would have heard me scream all the way to wherever it is you are reading this, including those of you in Israel, Romania, and Australia when I ran short.)

Parting shot. Can you read the scale?

3 grams!


Pattern: July from EZ's Knitter's Almanac: A shawl--allow me another digression as I comment that Elizabeth could not possibly have imagined the widespread knitting this particular pattern would get when she named it. Otherwise, she would have called it something like: The Most Spectacular Bit of Shawl Engineering Known To Knitterkind.

Needles: Size 7. Even though it is lace, I wanted it to be somewhat dense and not really "holey."

Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love (454 g put-up if anyone is counting-- I used 451 g) worsted weight acrylic

Lace Motifs: from a variety of sources


Your Pi shawl is gorgeous, but oh so close to running out of yarn!
You really did a beautiful job on the Pi shawl. Bravo!! I hate it when I get so close to running out! You are an inspiration to us all!
I would really like to say something, but I'm just overwhelmed. It's gorgeous!
That Pi Shawl is certainly beautiful!! I have that book from Elizabeth Zimmerman, I'm gonna have to pull it out and try that after the month of June has come and gone, when my life settles back down (hopefully anyway).
That's just gorgeous. I need to make me one of those!

Uh, or not. There's the math involved ...
Brava, Ann - it's gorgeous! Nice job, and nice explanation of the process.

Nice job Ann! It looks wonderful.
GORGEOUS!!!!!! What an artist you are!
Beautiful job (as always!) Ann.

Oh and I've tagged you for a meme!
The Pi is really beautiful! That is one lucky baby.
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