Way back in June I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for thirty years and asked if I would consider knitting a shawl for her upcoming first grandchild.
I don’t normally take commissions for something like this, but she asked so nicely and was so obviously a fan of my work that I decided to make an exception and agreed on the basis that this would be my evening project. You know, the kind that you pick up for a couple of hours every evening so your fingers have something to do whilst watching TV.
The baby was due in early October, which meant I would have to get cracking as three months is not very long in shawl-knitting terms, and I estimated that about 60 hours of handknitting would be required. I had no problem choosing the perfect yarn – the softness of Alpaca combined with the smooth quality of silk made this the obvious choice.
A laceweight yarn, the silk adds a subtle sheen and would make an incredibly light and delicate shawl.
I ordered 4 skeins in “Wedding White” as the gender of the baby was to remain a surprise, and off white would be ideal. Each 50g skein contains 439 yards of yarn so, although I hadn’t yet decided on a pattern, figured that 1700 yards should be plenty.
Look how fine the yarn is!
It all got off to a bit of a false start because I wasn’t happy with the first pattern I chose and had to unravel it and start again from scratch.
A bit more research resulted in the purchase of this lovely pattern by Sirdar – the circular design, rather than the square one.
And so the lengthy process began!
It soon became apparent that I had VASTLY underestimated the time and quantity of yarn that this beast would consume!
After 60 hours over 2 months, I was about two-thirds of the way through the main body of the shawl, and it took both boys to hold it up for me to take a photograph.
I just love how gossamer-fine it is and how you can see right through.
I also had to order another 2 skeins of yarn which took another 2 weeks to arrive before I could continue.
With the body of the shawl finished, I moved on to the pretty bit – the show-stopping lacy border, which was an absolute joy to knit after all those rounds of stockinette.
You can see the pattern beginning to develop here.
Despite being over a week overdue, the baby had now arrived…..but I still hadn’t finished the border.
It was a baby girl!
Eventually, all the actual knitting was complete and ‘all’ I had to do was to join these two piles of knitting together.
It ended up being several evenings worth of work, starting with pegging the border evenly to the centre section and then sewing ithem together.
Wet blocking was the next step in the process, whereby all 120 points had to be pinned out to their final shape.
I commandeered The Boy’s bedroom and banished them for two days while it dried, pinned to a combination of three towels and the carpet!
When it was completely dry, I took it downstairs to try and photograph it as the contrast against the oak floor showed up the pattern more clearly.
There wasn’t enough spare floor space!
Here’s a close up of the edging after blocking – such lovely lacy detail.
By screwing it up in the middle, I managed to take a photo of the whole shawl – it really is massive!
It looks lovely here, draped over the arm of the sofa.
Off it went in the post and I waited a nerve-wracking few days before hearing that it had reached its destination safely – what a relief!
Very soon, some photos were sent to me of the shawl in use, and I have permission to share them with you on the blog.
Do you want to have the final stats of this mammoth project?
– 2760 yards of yarn
– 137 hours of knitting
– 161,852 stitches
Would I do it again?
In a heartbeat – only next time it will have to be for MY grandchild because it was so hard to part with after all that effort!