Monday, 5 March 2012

The KAL Begins!

Today was the official start date for the Lily's Slice of Pi Knit-A-Long (KAL).  I've been itching to get started, which seems a bit crazy considering I was the one who set the start date!  However, the wait is now over.  We have our participants and it seems like a nice group of people.  I have had online contact with most of the participants and one is a friend from the real world.

We've already started blethering in the thread I created on Ravelry, in fact we are now on page 5!  I think this bodes well for the future chattiness in the KAL.  A few of the participants are bloggers.

sunshinegirl3's blog is called Kismet's Companion.
Susie99's blog is called Useless Beauty Designs.
CJMacGregor's blog is called Josie's Misadventure's in Knitting.

Have a look, as these are all blogs I regularly read, and all three make attractive things and also have interesting things to say.

The rest of the participants are not regular bloggers, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better throughout the KAL.

In order to keep to my official start date, I cast on my project this morning.  I am using 4 ply (fingering weight) yarn instead of the recommended weight of 2 ply.  I want to try making a heavier version to see what it looks like, and to see if fewer repeats of patterns are required to keep the shawl to a sensible size.

4 Ply Lily 01

I think it is looking pretty good so far!  I'm using the same size needles as I used for the 2 ply versions of the shawl and whilst it is denser than the lace weight, I think it makes the lace patterns more visible.  It will be opaque than the gossamer look of the lace weight version.

I have finished Chart A now, which is the Gull Wing pattern given in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac: Projects for Each Month of the Year (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) for the February Baby Set.  I felt that was an appropriate first lace pattern for this shawl as it's shape was was inspired by the Pi Shawl which also appears in the book.  The original Pi shawl is a circular one, whereas my version is a half-pi or semi-circular style, but it uses the same principles.  When I knit this first Chart, each time it makes me tip my mental hat to a knitter who has inspired so many other crafters.

4 Ply Lily 02

Plus, this stitch pattern is so very pretty, it was hard to resist putting it in to my first shawl pattern.

I have also started the first few rows of Chart B.

4 Ply Lily 03

You can't really see the pattern yet.  This chart has twice as many stitches in it, so I'm pretty sure that it is going to take much longer than a couple of hours to finish this section.

In case you are wondering, the yarn I am using for the main body of the shawl is Posh Yarns, Sylvia 4 ply, which is 50% merino and 50% silk.

Posh Yarn 01.jpg

The above picture gives the best representation of the colour of the yarn.  I have two skeins of 400m each in this colourway, which I hope will be enough for the main body of the shawl.  I am using BabyLongLegs Semi-Precious 4 Ply for the ruffle.

Semi-Precious 02

Again, this yarn is comprised of 50% merino and 50% silk.  The colours really seem to work together well.  I love both of these colours and will definitely be keeping this shawl, as it will be thicker than most of my other large shawls, and in a colour that I wear a lot of.  I really hope that this shawl works out well in this weight of yarn as it might encourage more people to have a go at a design which is not that complicated. A lot of knitters are scared of lace weight yarn, so introducing an example of what the shawl can look like in 4 ply is a good idea for the pattern pages.

Now I've cast on for this third version of my shawl, I am still excited about the design and I am going to really enjoy the knitting process with my KAL colleagues!  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


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