|Mizutama Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian|
I am very pleased with the result, if not the process. I'll speak to that process more in my next post, but for now let's just say, you won't be seeing a lot of new lacework in my knitting queue anytime again soon.
A luck would have it, Andrea and Sara were as intrigued by this pattern as was I - so much so that they suggested a mini KAL, just the three of us, to make a trio of candy-coloured spring offerings.
You will hear from those ladies, about their experiences, in their time so please stay tuned.
I will say, it was tremendously pleasant, in the midst of some maddening knitting, to know that I had company. We even bought our yarn together - for colour coordination! So there's solidarity in this knit-along.
About The Yarn
You know that I'm perennially positive about Madeline Tosh yarns, but I'm not really feeling this Merino Light. It's a single-ply yarn with lots of natural variation in thickness. I didn't find it weak (though it did get thin in some spots) but I did find it uneven - and stupidly splitty (a nightmare with lacework). It also dyed my hands for days. If you read the reviews of the yarn on Ravelry, you'll find a polarized community. Many corroborate my issues. Some experienced much more extreme cases of the same. Still others love this yarn to bits and don't understand what all the fuss is about. I think the batches vary wildly. In worst case scenarios, people haven't been able to wind the yarn without breakage or matting, so I suggest that you have your skeins wound at the store. Then, if you find there's an issue, you won't have trudged it all home.
Having said this, Sara loves Tosh Merino Light and she's used it many times. Moreover, how often can you make an item out of one skein of yarn, for $25.00? I cannot quibble with the colour, which is flat out gorgeous. I just hope it doesn't continue to bleed. (It didn't dye the water as much as I thought it would, given the amount of pink on my hands.)
The yarn blocks quite easily and well. It doesn't become a puddle of growing stitches when submerged in water. I used blocking wires and pins, which are non-negotiable if you want to achieve a triangular result.
For the most part, the finished fabric is even but there are a couple of errant stitches that seem to have kinked themselves out of place. I'm trying to ignore them.
About The Pattern
It's a good, clear pattern, though it does have a very strange way of instructing how to make the first polka-dot (if you use the bottom up method). I cannot fault the directions but I had endless issues with the stitch pattern - even as I forced myself to focus! Every other row I seemed to gain or lose a stitch at either end. It was maddening given all the mental effort I expended to ensure this wouldn't occur. I finally realized that it didn't matter. The issue wasn't visible as long as I caught up on the next row (I always did) and it didn't impact the polka-dot placement. Very fatigued at the end, I did actually fuck up the polka-dot alignment on my last lace repeat. Let me tell you, that's 2 hours I'm never getting back. With lots of sweat and concentration, I did pull it back from the edge. The benefit of such a repetitive pattern is that you start to understand how it works, how every stitch interrelates to all of the stitches around it. Unfortunately, this insight comes with hours of ripped back rows and half rows (a serious bitch when such a fabric).
Note that I used a smaller needle size than recommended, as I knit loosely, and I didn't want the stitches to be loose. There's already enough negative space happening in this shawl - it needs structure in its stitches. The result of this, compounded by the fact that I had 420 yards of yarn (vs the 455-475 yards that the pattern advises), is that my shawl is 2 repeats shorter than the pattern suggests and seems to be on the small end. It's not too small, but I wouldn't want it any tinier.
About The Finished Shawl
It's super pretty, peeps. Very feminine, but in downtown way. It falls beautifully and it gives a good amount of warmth for its weight. I can imagine wearing it with everything from jeans and a t-shirt to a skirt ensemble or a dress. If you like making lacework scarves, do not delay. No doubt you will benefit from having this in your wardrobe. It's great transportation knitting as the 4-row repeat is easily memorable (if not followable) and it's portable.
So, what do you think? Would you make it? Would you wear it? Does the colour appeal? Do you think a candy-pink shawl is nuts? In a good way? Let's talk!