Thursday, March 02, 2006

the stats edition

Well, the shawl has now been test-worn (thanks Blueadt, and I didn't really mean to wrestle you to the floor to get it back), and confirmed as warm, if just a tad sheddy.

From tip to tip, relaxed after blocking, it measures 80 inches across, and 30 inches top to bottom (just over 2 metres, and 76cm for the metric crowd).

It took 16 balls of Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud (a fair trade yarn from Bolivia) in Chocolate (a shy 8 balls, with the extra for joining) and Oatmeal (nearly all of 8 balls), or 2096 yards, or 1920 metres, and weighs in at 800gms, or 1.7lbs, knit on 4mm/USA6 needles. In other words, it is rather large, but then I am only 5'1".

I based the shape on the Litla Dimun Shawl, from Cheryl Oberle's 'Folk Shawls', used Bridget Rorem's Lace Alphabet from Piecework Magazine May/June 1998, and the gusset patterns were from Barbara G. Walker. I consulted Myrna Stahman's 'Shawls & Scarves', 'Faroese Knitting Patterns: Knitted Shawls' translated by Marilyn van Keppel, and the Faroese Shawl pattern, again by Marilyn van Keppel, in Meg Swansen's 'A Gathering of Lace'. And the final, invaluable, source was Carol Connors' webpages on Faroese Shawls and Lace Knitting. You see, a truly collaborative effort. (Oh, and thanks as well to some friends who might have been rung at odd hours of the day, and had to listen to me babble incoherently about how you calculate the size of a right angle triangle, how to calculate gauge, and how to estimate the amount of yarn needed - all of which I got badly wrong.)

The yarn itself was fairly well behaved, although the chocolate was quite fragile when you unwrapped the 2 strands to spit splice (and it took a lot of spit too). Oddly, the oatmeal colour was more robust - because it was undyed? - but also more unevenly spun. Still, I was more than happy with the yarn for this shawl, as I wanted something that hinted at the rustic.

The inspiration for the colours and shape came from the film Babette's Feast, which I watched, again, a few months ago, and realised that knitter is now part of my identity. But the overall inspiration was Yarnharlot herself, and all the knitbloggers I have 'met'.

Finally, thank you all for your kind comments - when I started blogging, I told myself I didn't care if no-one visited, or if no-one commented, as I was writing to get over my fear of the hard, physical, written down word, rather than the ephemera, and easily forgettable, of the spoken. But as I've moved around the blogosphere, stopping in on others, sometimes staying, sometimes moving on, sometimes even commenting myself, I've realised that there is a real person looking at a computer screen somewhere else, and that this is all a conversation. And words themselves are fine and dandy, but the real treasure is that there is someone to talk with. (But if you don't comment, don't worry, I love you too - and I know you are there, because my stat counter tells me so. And if you've commented and I haven't replied, it is because blogger won't give me your email address, and that I am often useless.)

Finally, finally, that is the closest you will get to seeing a photo of me, so count yourselves lucky. (Puplet took the photos, by the way.)

And finally, finally, finally, brownie points and cleverness to Mary-Lou - and have you seen what she got a gold for! - for having picked up on the church bell reference in the motto, which she privately identified as having been pinched from Dorothy L. Sayers 'The Nine Tailors', a tale of murder, mystery, and campanology. (Lord Peter Wimsey, be still my beating heart.)