I have always admired Veera Valimaki's knitting designs, ever since I spied her Striped Study Shawl, I thought, now there's a lady who can turn a simple idea into something special.
She has loads of patterns and a HUGE following, but it has taken me until now to jump on this fast moving wagon!
Everyone I know seems to be either casting on/off or in the process of a shawl called Colour Affection, and though I don't usually go with what's popular, I found that this design really grew on me, the more and more I looked at it. There are just so many possibilities, choose lace weight or sock/fingering weight yarn, take up your needles and select from the universe three colours that speak to you the most and go for it.
Mind you, the last bit seems to have flummoxed a few, three colours...sounds so simple, but three colours...which three colours? My favourites? But do they contrast nicely and make you feel all warm and fluffy or do they hurt your eyeballs? Where do you even begin? Then of course, once you have picked your colours, you have to choose the sequence, which colour goes first and so on...Argh...People have been fretting and frantically cursing in yarn shops countrywide over this.
My choice was kinds easy. I was going to buy new yarn, but with nice sock yarn rolling in at nearly €20 a pop, I didn't think that a €60 shawl would be seen in my future for a while. I did however have some Drops Alpaca Lace that I had bought at the Knitting & Stitching Show in Dublin last November, in grey and red. So all I had to do was find a third contrasting and dashing colour.
As you can see I chose Off White. The Grey is a nice light and unassuming grey that cuddles up to the Scarlet, which is the most perfect red to my eyes. The silk combined with the alpaca makes the yarn soft with a beautiful sheen and it did me good to look at it every day, it was like a little pick me up.
The shawl itself was knit with a 3mm needle and used up 682 yards of yarn combined. It took me 13 days to complete and obviously the last few rows took the longest (hence the tongue in cheek name of Colour Affliction, this is not mine but the genius of someone else). As I had knit with lace weight I had over 400 stitches in those final rows, which turn some people off. They don't bother me, a Shetland Shawl knit in the round could have over 1,000 stitches per row (pshaw, show off!)
The trouble arose when I soaked my lovely new shawl in the bathroom sink with some handwash. The red bled into the off white and the water was a bright scarlet wash.
Even with rinsing the pink tinge remained and I hoped that when it dried it wouldn't looks so dramatic. Nope...
So now I am left with a pink, grey and red shawl, which still looks nice, but wasn't what I intended on making.
I also had some questions about the blocking process and the curved line of the bottom of the shawl. Usually I have points on a straight edge that can be easily blocked by blocking wires, but this is a smooth but curved edge. The lace loves to be stretched, but in doing that I unintentionally made little peaks along the bottom.
Someone kindly suggested that I use string to block the edge to get a smoother finish, which I can see working to a point, it would probably still leave an indentation. It may relax out after a few wears, so I'm not really worried about it.
As as aside I used kfb (knit front and back) to make my increases and there was no puckering after blocking. My shawl measures 18" x 60" roughly.
Now to get some wear out of this pretty :)