So it’s not a Friday, but I couldn’t wait any longer: I needed to talk about my pride and joy, my graduation-to-next-level-lace-knitting, my biggest knitting triumph of the year so far. I finally, after one week shy of a year, finished the Duskwings shawl, just in time to gift it to my wife for our legal-wedding anniversary.
This exceedingly mild spring is perfect for layering a worsted-weight shawl like this over light, cute tops that have been languishing in drawers all winter.
I ended up using all but the tiniest leftover bit of the 630 yards of yarn I’d bought, and I literally knitted one of the tips I picked up just for this shawl nearly into pieces. I also had quite the adventure when it came time to block this beautiful monstrosity. For those unfamiliar with the term, blocking is the process of using moisture, pins, and a large flat surface to coax natural fibers (especially wool) to reset their “default” positions to your ideal. It’s especially important with lace, and with garments; before this shawl was blocked, all the feathertips curled up dramatically, and it was easily almost a foot shorter in length from the cast-on edge to the bind-off. I’m glad I blocked it… but I definitely had to completely rearrange a closet in order to spread the shawl out over sheets covering the entire walk-in-closet floor to pin it out to the appropriate size!
Closeup views of the lace patterns: first the long flight feathers along one ‘wing,’ then the smaller feathers up at the shoulder.
Once I had the shawl blocked, it was much easier to see all the mistakes I’d made. After carefully securing one dropped stitch I hadn’t caught in the knitting process, I spent a lot of time staring at the ‘shoulder feathers,’ or the primary lace motif for the first third of the shawl’s length. As I talked about in my WIP entry for this shawl, I struggled a lot with that lace motif… and it shows. Going back to review other people’s shawls knitted to the same pattern, it became fairly obvious that the original design intended to produce regular, even diamond shapes before breaking into the long feathers. The Duskwings have irregular, organic lines faintly hinting at diamond-like organization, chains of yarnovers (the open spaces in lace) trailing off and doubling along each other like mussed, overlapped contour feathers. As it turns out, Kai vastly prefers the chaotic imperfection I accidentally introduced to the design – it does rather suit her personality and approach to life. (Now if only I knew how to vary the design intentionally…)
Wings are ideal for hugging little pumpkins, and suit Kai’s style perfectly.
I feel so relieved to have finally finished something that was such a massive challenge, and, in the end, such a massive success. Of course, this means I have to dive in headfirst into new challenges in my favorite niche of the knitting world: keep your eyes peeled for a post coming soon about my newest attempt at stretching my lace skills. And, of course, like I mentioned before, I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t already bright-gold yarn waiting in the background for me to be ready to cast on this pattern once again, and see how much better I can do the next time around. A different fiber, a slightly different needle size, and a very different skill level should make the same pattern into a perfect complementary set of wings for myself.