Despite the fact that I've knitted a pretty decent amount of lace to date, I've not knitted any of what I would call “proper” lace – something that has lace work both sides. Because I'm a sucker for punishment, I agreed to knit a sample for Ruth of Rock + Purl that was not only proper knitted lace, it was also to have beads and be knit with 1,000 metres of lace weight yarn.
I am officially a crazy person.
Then the yarn and beads arrived and I couldn't wait to see the finished object. Lilac merino/silk lace with funky square shiny beads? Yes please!
I broke out the lifelines, teeny tiny crochet hook and cast on.
And I knitted, and knitted. This particular shaw was to be side to side, so each row involves knitting from three charts, two of which have lace both sides, one sort-of, but not really. The first few repeats flew by and as usual, with each row getting longer and longer, it began to take more time.
The below picture was taken when I had done about 3/4 of the increases in terms of number of rows and it was lovely to start to see the whole thing coming together.
The more I knitted, the more I understood the name Ruth had chosen – 'Libelula' means 'dragonfly' in Spanish and I could see how the body of the shawl would resemble this post-blocking.
Knitting this shawl was a master class in using lifelines and reading my knitting. Despite having double lifelines, I did get caught out on occasion and there was more ripping than I would have liked. Frogging when there are beads in the knitting is not fun 🙂
A really effective way to work though a shawl of this scale is to set a mini-goal and mine was to try and do at least a half repeat every day – after which I'd insert a lifeline. More often than not I managed it and despite going away for work for a full week with no knitting and going to visit family, I managed to knit this in about 11 weeks.
Upon blocking the shawl, we happened to be blessed/cursed with a rather large amount of unseasonal snow, which gave me a great photo opportunity before sending the shawl off to Ruth. I know that you know that this means lots of pictures 🙂
This is the money shot!
Love this close up:
I was so paranoid about this falling off the washing line into the snow. It was a windy day and still snowing as I took these pics!
I don't even want to think about how many beads are part of this shawl 🙂
I know finally feel like a proper knitter! That I can tackle any project I set my mind to. This doesn't explain why, despite Knit to Flatter I'm still a bit scared of garments, but will tackle them nonetheless!
Libelula is exclusive to the club it's a part of for the next 12 months, but you can still go and fave/queue the pattern (HERE!!!) and sign up to the newsletter so that you get an alert for when it's publicly available. It's perfect for one of those beautiful hand-dyed lace skeins that I know you all have in the stash. While I used a semi-solid merino/silk blend, Ruth knit her sample in a gorgeous multi-coloured pure silk that you can see on the pattern page. I only used 76g of my yarn – and knitted 12 full repeats of the increase chart. You could very easily make it larger or smaller depending on your yardage/bead availability which is one of the great things about it being knit side-to-side.
Don't let the complexity put you off! Just focus on it stitch, row and chart at a time. It makes the MOST beautiful finished item that you'll be proud of for years to come 🙂