Saturday afternoon. Outer Spectacle Island, Sebago Lake, Maine. Sitting on a rock, working on my shawl in the late afternoon sunshine, surrounded by good friends and crisp autumn air.
I worked until my fingers were aching that night, and I bound off the next morning. I plunged the shawl into the cold lake water ...
gave it a good, hearty shake ...
and pinned it out on the forest floor to dry in the dappled sun. It was a much earthier blocking than my shawls usually get (usually it's a pampering in lavender wool wash and a careful pinning on the bed) ....
but it did the trick nonetheless! Here's a close-up of the outer leaf lace before blocking:
And after blocking, with the leaves fully opened up. The magic of lace blocking never fails to amaze me!
And with that, the shawl is done. And I'm in love with it.
It's taken nearly a year to get to this point (many, many months of procrastination and vague planning + one month of actually knitting), but I think it was worth all the effort it took to re-engineer the pattern. It makes for a much softer, organic flow to the lace.
And I even fell in love with the color by the end! I'd been struggling with the girliness of the yarn -- Madeline Tosh Prairie in "Mulled Wine" - but I have to say it was beautiful in that afternoon light.
And in a poetic twist, that little island was a treasure trove of honest-to-goodness pink leaves: oak, maple, Virginia Creeper, highbush blueberry.
I've decided to give this shawl to my friend Amy, who taught me to knit and whose family house was on this tiny island with pink leaves. If my Rhinebeck quest works out, I should have the yarn for the final shawl by next weekend. It'll still be a while to knit the shawl again, polish the pattern, and release it ... but I am so looking forward to have this pattern out there in the world!
It's high time for an update on my overly pink shawl. It's getting voluminous enough that most of the time it looks like a big blob, all scrunched up on the needle.
But spread it out, and it blossoms into foliage!
I'm really happy with how it's turning out. I've spent a ton of time re-engineering the increases: rather than the stark doubling rows of a traditional pi-shawl (which you can see in the original version), I've worked the increases into transitional lace sections.
The only thing that I'm not thrilled with is my yarn choice, or more precisely, my colorway choice. The yarn -- Madeline Tosh Prairie in "Mulled Wine" -- was an impulsive buy in my local yarn store, whose soft indoor light made the yarn look decidedly less pink. The yarn is nice and springy, but the color is just way too girly to look autumnal. And every time I pull it out, I find myself singing a campy rendition of the song "Strawberry Wine," which is terribly annoying. So ... we'll see ... I think it's a beautiful color, just not for this shawl, and maybe not for me.
Once the pattern is all finished, I may dye the whole shawl a deep, warm, earthy brown with black-walnut hulls, which are ripening in this season.
Oh!! And I almost forgot: I've decided to go to Rhinebeck on a quest for the ultimate yarn for this shawl. Let me know if you'll be there too!