I realized I never did a post re casting on the Birch Shawl, just one about swatching for it. So here it goes (but, be forewarned, it gets angsty):
I wanted to make the shawl a little on the big size, but as a top-down shawl, you have to figure out how many stitches to cast on in the very beginning, and I had trouble doing so. I asked for math advice here and on the Ravelry Lace Knitters group forum, to no avail. I don't want to knit Kiri (I want the shawl knit straight down, as opposed to sideways down with a dividing line of two yarnovers down the middle). I don't want to knit bottom-up, because that turned the lace pattern on its head, and I prefer it with the leaves hanging down rather than pointing up. Yes, I'm picky, but I'm knitting it so I can make it exactly what I want.
In the end I decided to cast on 319 stitches, which is two more repeats than the pattern calls for. I figured that if I used up more than half a skein in those first two repeats, I could frog and cast back on with fewer stitches.
You see where this is going, right? I'm about a repeat and a half in (which has been at least six hours of work, probably more like eight), and my gut tells me I've used more than half of the first ball of yarn. I don't have a scale to weigh it and know for sure. (I suppose I could take it to my LYS and get it weighed.) And, of course, I don't actually want to rip out all that work that looks so lovely now that I'm here.
I could order another skein of yarn, most of which I wouldn't end up using. I could rip and cast back on with 10 fewer stitches - I'm pretty sure I have enough yarn for that. Or, you know, I could pick an entirely different yarn. (Yup, here's the angsty bit).
I really like how it is knitting up. I've never used yarn this fine on needles this large, so it's much more "holey" than I'm used to, and it looks lovely. It's going to be an airy, light, wonderful shawl. But, as Project Spectrum Earth project, and one that I'm calling "Rustic," the truth is I envisioned something much earthier and heavier. Look at this Birch knit in Felted Tweed. Or wouldn't it be lovely in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light? (Although they don't have the dark evergreen color I have in mind.) But I don't really want to go out and buy new yarn when I already bought some specifically for this shawl.
In any case, this lovely shawl is now in time out while I ponder my options. (And, um, if you'd recommend a nice DK-or-sport-weight rustic, earthy, tweedy, evergreen green yarn, I'm open to suggestions.)