Just over a month ago I decided I was going to knit a shawl for my swap partner in the Night at the Movies swap through Swappers Anonymous. It sounded like a great idea going in. I needed something to represent Gone With the Wind - one of my partner's favorite movies. What better than a red ruffly shawl inspired by one of my favorite dresses worn by Scarlett O'Hara? The pattern was Multnomah and the yarn was Cascade Heritage Paints in the 9926 colorway. Beautiful and soft and squishy - I was in love. If only I knew about this colorway's evil past... but more on that later.
This is certainly the largest knitted project I've ever tackled and I've only completed something crocheted in this size once. I really didn't think about how long this was going to take, but I was excited to get started. The first rows just flew by! I started knitting it on July 13th, and by the following week I was this far (including lack of knitting time on vacation):
When I started, I thought all that garter stitch was soothing. It's much better than miles of single crochet, but after a while it got to be quite tedious. Right around the time I was getting really bored with it, I got to change to the rippled edge. It was a great change in pace and I got to learn a new knitting technique. Go me! Bella liked it too :-)
Then disaster struck. In one evening I had to rip out the same row 3 times because I was totally distracted by an episode of Burn Notice then I ran out of yarn on the last row. I knew my shawl would hold up the shipping date of my swap box (it was due to ship July 31st and by now it was Aug 10th) so I had stayed up late to finish it so I could block it then ship it out that Friday. Can we say complete meltdown? Word of advice, staying up late to knit after a frustrating day is a BAD IDEA. By this point I was freaking out, posted a panicked plea for help in a couple of my groups on ravelry then attempted to sleep. I was so stressed about the shawl that I only got about 2 hours. Oy. I spent the next day in a horrible mood and spent all of lunch ripping out the last 4 rows. At this point I should have listened to the majority of advice and just cast off then, but I was determined to get the last repeats in. I joined some blue yarn in hopes of bringing out the blue splotches, but it clashed horribly and made it look cheap. Did I follow my instincts and rip it out right away? No - I kept knitting. On the last row I was still in a horrible mood, the blue made the shawl look worse, and I ripped those rows out again. Then I rejoined the red and cast off like I should have before. That evening I went to knitting group where I finished knitting it, and one of the women told me about how this colorway is cursed. It's beautiful yarn, but this is the 3rd project she's known of someone who has had problems using this colorway. One project involved a ton of mistakes and the other became a tedious never-ending scarf. Fair warning to anyone out there wanting to use this colorway.
Now time to block the shawl! This was the first time I've ever blocked knitting so it was a learning experience as well. Bella was "helpful" in keeping the shawl flat too. Since my lace blocking wires hadn't arrived yet (darn that ground shipping) I used dental floss to keep the lines straight. Not the best plan ever, but it mostly worked out ok.
I completely finished it on Saturday, brought it to work Monday to show it off, then shipped it out today. So much work for a complete stranger, but I'm sure she'll like it. I've never been happier to give away one of my creations though. I never want to see the damn thing again.
So what did I learn from this adventure? Gauge swatches are crucial! I don't know if I was knitting too loosely so I ran out of yarn, or if there just wasn't enough there. I also learned that if I'm going to do something insane like knit a shawl for a swap, I need to give myself LOTS of time. Also, I should just stay away from all things Gone With the Wind - I hate the movie with a firey passion, so why would I think knitting something inspired by it would be a good thing?!?!
Time to get back to some crocheting...