Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Swatching Birch

For Project Spectrum Elements Earth, I'm planning on the Birch Shawl by Sharon Miller (Ravelry link). I knew it was going to be dark green, both because of the theme of PS Elements, and also as a nod to the leaf lace pattern. But I didn't want to use the recommended Kidsilk Haze - I'd like to avoid knitting with mohair as long as possible. I decided to use this project as an excuse to try a lace yarn I hadn't used before, and decided on Morehouse Farms Merino Lace in Hemlock green.

On Earth Day, I swatched the lace pattern. I used the Fern Leaf Lace from Barbara Walker's first Treasury, as it's the same pattern without built-in decreases. I used US size 8 needles, as the original pattern called for, and love the result:

The yarn is single ply, so feels fragile. It's not as soft as other yarn I've been using lately - there is a lovely rustic-ness to the yarn that is perfect for the pattern. I've never used such large needles on such fine yarn before (it's thicker than other laceweight I own, but thinner than the fingering weight I'm used to using), and so have never knit something so "holey."

I have 880 yards, and want to make a generous shawl. Thing is, you cast on the long end and knit up to the point (which means the finished lace pattern will "hang" in the opposite direction of what is pictured above). So if I want to make the shawl bigger, I have to cast on those additional repeats and hope I don't run out of yarn.

Luckily, Fig & Plum has already knit this shawl in this yarn, and she used approximately 770 yards, so I've got a benchmark to start from. I'm thinking about casting on 20 extra stitches for two extra repeats. If anyone had any advice on how to know if I can fit two extra repeats in 110 yards, I'd love input.


The Happy College Knitter said...

That swatch looks lovely in that yarn/color. I cringe at the thought of casting on that many stitches to begin with, but on the other hand, I've currently hit a wall with my shawl project at hand. I find it discouraging that every single row it ends up getting larger than the one preceding it. Sigh. At least your way it will get quicker as you finish up!

LizKnits said...

Wow that swatch looks great in that color. It's going to be a fabulous knit!

Dave said...

I don't know anything about yarn requirements, etc., but Kiri looks just about the same, and it starts at the point and works the other way, so if you did run out of yarn, you could just rip back a repeat.

Pattern available in the sidebar at: