A little progress, and some great tutorials to explore

Japanese Feather Scarf progress

As you can see in the above picture, there has been some knitting. The scarf is now about halfway done, despite a significant mishap involving Little Fox and both cats that required ripping out several rows, picking up dropped stitches, and splicing the yarn in three places. It’s lucky for me that the Malabrigo Laceweight is super easy to splice since it’s a softly spun single. It’s also really lovely. This is my favorite laceweight I have worked with thus far. It is soft, fuzzy, subtly variegated, and I am completely charmed with it. Little Fox and Willow have colds, so there has been sniffly, achy, miserableness that has needed extra mothering. Since reading is one of the few activities readily compatible with comforting a sick toddler, there has been a plunge into knitting books, a whole bunch of knitting books. I’m thinking a series of book reviews would be appropriate blog fodder for sometime soon. At this point, suffice it to say that I love my public library system. I’m still fantasizing about colorwork, and also about spinning. I’ve been playing around with charting using Excel, thanks to Marnie’s fabulous tutorial. Marnie’s tutorial series is really amazing, and if you are doing some designing, whether for some form of publication or just for yourself, I bet you’d learn something new from these. For me, there’s probably enough material there to keep me playing around for a year or two.

How to Wash and Block a Circular Shawl

1. Weave in all the ends using duplicate stitch.
2. Fill washing machine with warm (not hot) water.
3. Dissolve a small amount of gentle shampoo (I just use what I use for my own hair) or wool wash (such as Eucalan or Soak) into the wash water.
4. After turning off the washing machine to prevent agitation, gently lower the shawl into the wash water, and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.
5. Carefully set the washing machine to “Spin” and allow it to go through its spin cycle, stopping it when you stop hearing water draining from the machine.
6. If you have used shampoo and the shawl requires rinsing, lift the shawl carefully from the machine, refill the machine with warm water, turn it off to prevent agitation, and gently lower the shawl back into the clean warm water. Run the spin cycle again as in step 5.
7. Spread out a clean blanket on the carpet or a guest bed, and spread the clean, damp shawl over the top of it.
8. Place a single pin in the center of the shawl.
Shawl Center
9. Tie a loop in a piece of cotton thread or string, and measure out the desired shawl radius (this is half the desired circumference, in my case the radius was 30″). Mark this length with a knot in the opposite end of the string.
10. Place the loop around the center pin in the shawl.
11. Use the knotted cotton string to measure out the position for pinning each point or scallop of the shawl, starting with each of the four compass points. Placing each pin in the knit fabric adjacent to the yarn-over will make soft open eyelets and scallops instead of harsh points.
Edging being blocked
12. Continue pinning each point, placing pins at the 1/8 points, the 1/16 points, and so on, until all the points have been pinned out. Take breaks from time to time to prevent injuring your back or knees. (This process took me about 2 1/2 hours, so plan accordingly.) Now is a good time for taking pictures.
13. Leave to dry for several hours or over night, until shawl is completely dry.
Shawl blocking
14. Remove pins, careful to ensure that none are left in your carpet or bed to be found later by unsuspecting persons.
15. Admire your completed shawl. Happy twirling, and self-congratulatory remarks are acceptable, and, in fact, encouraged. Consider that it took you months (or possibly years) to reach this point, and enjoy your success. It will help you to have the motivation later to embark on another one.