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Stick a chopstick

in it; the Kimono Shawl (from Cheryl Oberle's book Folk Shawls) is done. I was absolutely terrified that this would spring a leak with aggressive blocking - the yarn is exceedingly fine merino, and it caught on rough edges of my fingernails once or twice. I settled for running cotton yarn around the perimeter, giving it a brief soak in wool wash, and easing the pattern into bloom rather than blocking very tautly.

The difference between the blocked and unblocked fabric is still pretty remarkable. I really think this is why I'm so fascinated by lace - that near-miraculous transformation. Same reason why I love butterflies, and babies, and, uh...Shrinky-Dinks.

I'll have some better images later, hopefully.

This was a very quick knit, taking about 10 days from caston to blocking, and not being an exclusive project during that time. I only did 20 repeats instead of the prescribed 25, but at about 62" finished length, I don't think anyone's going to be too upset. It was a cheap little project, too - it cost exactly $16.00 to make, with one 1600yd (100g) hank of Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro, a laceweight 100% wool. There's even enough left over (about a third of the hank) for me to try some fine-gauge felting experiments.

This one will be my mom's Christmas present; I'll probably make two more to gift to the other Ladies Of A Certain Age in my life. Hooray for preparedness!

And hooray for starting new projects -

I am OBSESSED. I've never actually worked with 100% alpaca before - I can't believe what a pleasure it is just to feel this stuff run through my fingers. DROPS alpaca. Sky blue and cream. Swoooon.


the highly coveted and very popular Union Square Market Pullover from the current Interweave. I love everything about this - the way the severity of the lines are tempered by the softness of the yarn; the beautiful technical details like the buttons along the shoulder seam; the simplicity of the hem facings, the unusual sleeve and neck treatments...alas, I don't know if I could, given hours of reflection, come up with anything that could possibly be less flattering on me than the high neckline combined with the double-thickness detail. The last thing I need is anything that draws attention to my chest - and high necklines tend to make me look like I've got a second chin hovering around my armpits. I thought about altering the pattern in a number of ways...but I really like this sweater as designed, and do think that the flap goes a long way towards making the geometry of the thing work. I really wanted to knit it as written.

It's a good thing that it'll look great on my (similarly sized, but considerably less busty) sister.

A tip for invisible caston - instead of using waste yarn, use the cable of a smaller size circular as your foundation. It's stable enough to prevent your stitches from twisting - and when you get to where you need to knit the stitches, they're already on the needle. Totally sweet.