75) The Peacock’s Progress

It's been a slow but intense couple of weeks for the Peacock Shawl.  Two important milestones in a shawl's growth have been met:

  • It now looks like an amorphous blob on the needles (though the colours are still just lovely; and yes, this is another Bad iPhone shot – both overexposed and out of focus, sorry!):

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  • Each row now takes Quite Some Time to complete.  Getting 'just one row' done in an evening is no longer a feeble effort.

It's a hallmark of 'increasing' shawls that they seem to go almost too quickly at first, but slow down exponentially as you continue.  When you've finished half the rows, you're only a quarter of the way done – which is one of the reasons why estimating the yarn requirements can be so tricksy.  (The other is that this is handspun, and therefore not guaranteed to have the same grist throughout).

I did a careful weigh-and-calculate when I got to the crunch point, and found that, far from having nearly enough yarn to complete the shawl, I had about the right amount if I cut two rows of feathers from the middle section.  So that is what I am doing – I am now on row 147 out of what will be 234, so I'm about two fifths of the way there; reassuring, because I haven't started the second (larger) ball of yarn yet:

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(An almost acceptable iPhone photograph?  Actually, I think it just looks half decent in comparison to the others.  It's still very flashy, not exactly in focus and has a strange yellow/green colour cast.  Ahh, well…)

The transition into the next shawl section has been slow going.  This is partly because I'm having to invent the edges of each row.  Because I've 'skipped' sixteen rows, and the pattern is a twelve stitch repeat, the motifs aren't in the same place, relative to the edges of the shawl, as they are in the original design.  In short, I have four (or is it five?) extra stitches to deal with, four times in each pattern row.  Four times because there is the beginning and end of each row, plus the pattern is interrupted for the central 'spine' in the pattern.  I could just knit them, but that's not my style; I'd rather incorporate them into the pattern in the best way possible.

In at least one case, I got it completely, spectacularly wrong (well, I was out by a stitch), and had to tink back three quarters of a row and re-knit.  I'm nearly back where I was.

Last night I dreamed there was a third ball of silk to use. I was quite disappointed by the time I woke up.

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