Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cherry Leaf Jubilee

The little Cherry Leaf shoulder shawl is done, beads and all! This is a modified version of the one in Jane Sowerby's lovely book, Victorian Lace Today.

I made it smaller and replaced the fancy lace edging with something quite understated. I knitted it in Malabrigo lace yarn, using US size 7 needles.

Blocking has wrought its usual parlor-trick transformation. The lumps are gone. Cherry Leaf now looks open and lacy and hangs beautifully.

I'm really pleased with the plainer edge with just some beads crocheted along the edge. Its simplicity leaves the focus on the leaf pattern, but the beads give it a finished look and add some weight and drape. And their low-key polish offers a nice contrast with the slightly streaked variability of the kettle-dyed color.b

For a while, I was afraid I might be knitting a kerchief, rather than a shawl, even a small one. With just one 470-yard skein of yarn, I knit as far as I dared before binding off the upper edge. I had to guess at when to stop, wanting to end at a full repeat of the leaf pattern and reserve some yarn for an edging that had yet to be chosen.

I was still holding my breath as I was wove in the ends and readied Cherry Leaf for its blocking. Once wet and pinned, though, it stretched out to a petite but usable 53 inches from tip to tip. It's not what you'd call ample for tying in front at the chest, but it's doable, and it also looks fine with the pointed ends left hanging straight down. I think, though, that it would be just right for lapping one end over the other and closing it with a shawl pin or brooch. And I do love the shorter length. I wasn't looking for a big enveloping shawl, beautiful though that might be, but just a little light wrap for the shoulders. Pretty much what the name implies, in fact.

Why the daredevil act? Because I had only the one skein, a souvenir yarn bought on vacation last fall in the Pacific Northwest. I had no idea what project I would use it for, and little idea of how much yardage a shawl or scarf requires, not having done very much lace knitting before. But the skein was a pretty thing that I wanted to bring home, a reminder of my trip. I could, I suppose, have ordered another to supplement the first, but, with the kettle-dyed yarn, it wouldn't necessarily have matched. And only this skein has the special magic of a well-loved vacation.

Now that Cherry Leaf is done, I'm trying to decide whether to wear it myself or give it as a gift. Because it's so pretty, I'd love to give it to my mom. But she's taller than I, and I'm not sure how well this little mini-shawl would suit her. Yet I feel somehow that beautiful things should be bestowed and not kept greedily for me. Maybe the cure is to make more!

So, for now, Cherry Leaf will stay tucked away in tissue, awaiting its moment.


Bess said...

Oh my twin! That's EXACTLY how I feel too. My Orange Lace with Green Beads just begs to be given to someone I know who loves orange. But this is only my second lace shawl. And I gave away the first. And I know the answer is More Lace Shawls, right?

Yours is beautiful. BE YOU TEE FUL. Thanks for a post that left me grinning.

Robin said...

Such a pretty pattern! Beautiful color, also.