Two Sticks And Some String !

This is me, an opinionated, politically progressive Canadian Lace Knitter who's lived and worked in western Canada, and on the east coast of the USA; a multi-skilled person who's been recently re-elected to public office, has a Class One driver's license, a human services professional in direct service, middle and senior management positions, and a MOM!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Azalea Doily - to - Shawl

I had purchased some wonderful silk thread from Eve Kriss at The Silk Tree, on Granville Island, in Vancouver, in March of this year. I knew I wanted to knit something for ME (for a change!), but wasn't sure what it would be.

About three weeks before the Lethbridge Fair (called Whoop-Up Days!), I was leafing through my substantial (gloat) lace knitting library, and saw the Azalea doily. Hmmm ... fodder for my silk and sticks, methinks!

(Marianne Kinzel's Azalea Doily, from the First Book of Modern Lace Knitting.)

So I did some (very) rough calculations, and figured that I needed to start on the ninth round, except rather than making it circular, I would knit five of the six repeats, using the "pairs" of leaves on each side of what would be the front of the shawl, as the border. So I cast on the appropriate number of stitches, and sorta/kinda followed the chart (ugh) for the first couple of sets of leaves, and then put the book away and flew by the seat of my pants.

I had four skeins of silk (and I'm SO thankful for my winding swift, and the great guy who held the skeins while I wound them up with the swift .. thanks, sweetie!). They were close in weight, but not exact, so I wasn't sure how much of a shawl I was going to get, preferring to guesstimate rather than calculate. I knit until the fourth skein of silk had what appeared to be less than one repeat of an entire leaf pattern, and then decided that I wanted to cast off and preserve the look of the leaves along the edge, rather than have to knit an edging on, or have a straight edge.

So I did a weird cast-off which kept the leaves intact along the edge. Then I poured about
three inches of nearly-boiling water into an old Tupperware chicken-keeper (remember the good old days when Tupperware was about food storage, and NOT about being trendy??). Into the hot water I dumped three packages of Cherry Kool Aid (the unsweetened kind, sorta like me ;-) ... swished it around a few times, and the tossed the shawl into the container. I swished it around a couple of times, and left it in the container over night. By the time I got up in the morning, the mixture had not only cooled off completely, but the shawl had absorbed ALL the colour from the cherry Kool Aid! I rinsed several times, and not even the tiniest bit of dye came out of the shawl.

Sooooo ... I squeezed the shawl out in an old white towel (and still no colour bled out!), tossed the shawl over the shower rod curtain, and went to work.

That was the morning of the last day of entering items into Hobby World .

And the deadline was 6:00 p.m.

And I got off work at 4:00 p.m.


So after work, I rushed home, took the shawl off the shower curtain rod, and eek! It was still damp!

Into the dryer it went, for about three minutes.

While it was there, I took a length of blue satin ribbon (under the heading of "any port in a storm"), ran it under a black permanent marker, took the shawl out of the dryer, fed the ribbon through the seed stitch around the neckline on the shawl, wove in the ends of the silk thread (where I'd joined the skeins), tossed the whole thing into a bag, and drove like a mad woman to the Fair Grounds (it's about 5:15 by now).

(You can see the blue ribbon along the left side of this picture, woven into the seed stitch border.)

I managed to get it to the fair grounds on time, along with the remainder of the total of 10 items I entered.

The ne
xt day (Thursday, August 17), I went back and saw my First Place Ribbon on it.

If only the judges knew just how little planning went into that shawl, and particularly compared to my Lily of the Valley tablecloth entered, which didn't even get a Third Place ribbon!

I'm not complaining. Honest (those people hadn't even SEEN lace knitting before).

I was very pleased with the way the cherry Kool Aid had coloured the silk. It's visible in the last picture, a
very gentle easing in and out of the cherry and the original blue, to an almost black. And there was a bonus to the Kool Aid dye job ... the shawl does not smell like Cherry Kool Aid, nor does it have that funky silk smell.

And this is the shawl, on display at the Fair. There happened to be a mannequin-type form hanging around, so I grabbed it, draped about 6 metres of the gold fabric around it and across the table, and proceeded to set up my display. Pretty cool, eh?

It's Not Lace!!!
This is my current project ... a Sasha Kagan designed vest crawling with beetles (although Dorne says they look like wood ticks .. heheh ... and I tend to agree) for my stepmother's youngest daughter who owns The Bug Zoo, in Victoria, BC. Anything bug-themed is good, and when I happened to show Gerry (my stepmother) the pattern, she fell in love with it, and then wondered aloud if there was anyone who might knit it so she could give it to Carol for Christmas.

Bingle Jells, Carol (not that you'll read this). I'm hating (HATING!) the knitting, but I'm happy (ya, right) to be doing it for Gerry, my stepmother, who I really (REALLY!) like a lot.

Yes, I know the picture is upside down. The ticks ..... errrr ... beetles are actually easier to see that way.


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  • At Sun. Sep. 17, 06:44:00 a.m. PDT, Blogger Conan the Knitter said…

    Not Lace??? Who are you and what
    have you done with Louise?!?! LOL
    But the silk shawl (who woulda thunk it?) is lovely! Kisses!


  • At Sun. Sep. 17, 04:32:00 p.m. PDT, Blogger knitsteel said…

    Thank you for posting the details and the photos. It's even more beautiful up close.

  • At Thu. Sep. 21, 04:19:00 a.m. PDT, Blogger Leigh said…

    Rosemarie, I am sooo impressed with your lace knitting. Your comment was very encouraging to me, many thanks. I love dyeing with koolaid, though I've never used it on silk. Congratulations on the ribbon. Well deserved.

  • At Sun. Oct. 08, 02:35:00 a.m. PDT, Blogger Kathleen said…

    Catching up on my reading. Your azalea doily shawl is really beautiful. I am really impressed by the way you converted it too.

  • At Sat. Aug. 04, 08:40:00 a.m. PDT, Blogger WendyE said…

    Gorgeous Shawl and I wish I could knit like that and do it by "the seat of my pants"! Wow!

    Had to laugh at your "wood ticks" comment, that 's just exactly what I thought when I first saw it and I wondered who'd be able to knit that pattern. I'm glad you found someone who will appreciate the look! Shudder! I'm grinning!

  • At Mon. Aug. 06, 04:35:00 a.m. PDT, Anonymous susan said…

    Just saw it, and I love, love LOVE that azalea lace. Impressive bind off solution!


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