Friday, August 8, 2014

Shawl Struggles

Back in January I bought the pattern for the Carradal Shawl on Ravelry.
It is designed by Lucy Hauge and is part of her Celtic Cable Shawls eBook.
Carradal is the first one that really caught my eye. All the ones after seem more beautiful than the next. This probably means I should buy the eBook, but I figured I should knit this shawl first!

I like the combination of the stripes at the top and the beautiful cable at the bottom. The size is appealing as well. It looks like a shawl you can wrap up in.
I'm kinda of tired of all these shawlets that are really glorified scarves! If I'm going to knit a shawl I want it to be usable. 

I was sure that I was going to use this soft yellow Ella Rae Lace Merino yarn with the lavender as the contrasting color. Some days the dark purple seemed better, but usually it was the lavender.

All these months I keep saying Carradal would be my next project. Finally, I decided it would be my now project!

Swatching commenced, and that's when the trouble began.

Neither the lavender or the dark purple was making my heart leap. I proceeded to wind and add in several other colors of Lace Merino in an attempt to find a good contrast.
I settled on the fuchsia, which was the last color I tried.

Then things went from bad to worse. I couldn't get a combination of the proper gauge and a pleasing fabric.
To get even close to the gauge in the pattern I had to go up to a US10 needle! That made a very floppy and open fabric. I can't believe it is what the designer had in mind.

Using a needle that would give me a nice fabric, even if it wasn't the proper gauge, is in theory, an option. However, I'm not sure about the math that would be involved in keeping the shawl the proper size. I don't want to spend all that time knitting only to end up with a shawl that is too small to use.

Sadly, I realized I wouldn't be able to use the Lace Merino for this pattern. My mind was a little boggled that I didn't have the proper weight yarn in enough quantity to make the larger size.

Finally, I hit on some alpaca that I bought at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. The gauge is much closer than I got with the Lace Merino, and the fabric is pleasing.
It is a single, massive, hank of silver yarn, so my shawl will be one color, but that should work out fine.

My only concern now is that the alpaca will fuzz up and obscure the cable. I guess only time will tell.

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