This is where committing to a year of finishing projects really pays off: when one has a very long and somewhat tedious lace edging to execute. The sheer repetitiveness is a guarantee that one will pick up any other project, or cast on for something new, rather than spend one's precious knitting hours on a task that won't be fully rewarding for days and days. There is no doubt in my mind that this project would have been allowed to gather dust for most of 2016 if I hadn't had my Monogamy Epiphany back at Stiches West.
One other thing this project had going for it was the sheer pleasure of handling this divine yarn, a nice contrast to my other steady date of the moment, cotton denim. And the bonus advantage of not requiring a thorough scrubbing off of blue dye from my hands after every knitting break.
I started this shawl last Fall, reclaiming the yarn for an other lace UFO, one that could clearly not be saved from the curse of murky pattern directions on the designer's part, resulting in utter lack of enthusiasm on my part. Still, I had fallen head over heels for the yarn, Isager's Strik Alpaca 2, a blend of alpaca and merino which combines the advantages of both and feels a bit rustic yet perfectly soft. The weight is really closer to fingering-weight than to lace, but my older eyes and hands can't even think of handling lace on its own anymore, so a light fingering-weight yarn is ideal for my purposes these days.
This square shawl is big and probably best used as an afghan. It isn't fluid enough to be worn easily but I am sure it will see plenty of use once I figure who to give it to. Meanwhile I'll happily keep it around the house and pull it out for show and tell.
It's an old Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern that knits up quickly and addictively, until one reaches the edging, that is. My copy of the pattern is the one included in the old Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves book but I know that there are other versions out there. The typically brief directions are reasonably easy to follow: the center square is knitted diagonally, then one picks up stitches to knit the side bands and finally the edgings. EZ points out that the pattern begins, and ends, with just two stitches, with no need to cut the yarn off anywhere along the way.
I made my shawl larger than the one in the pattern by knitting a larger center diamond, which meant of course that I picked up more stitches along each side and finally that I had many more repeats of the edging to execute. Interested knitters will find all my modifications in the project notes which I just posted on Ravelry.
As you can probably tell, giving a good photographic account of this shawl is a challenge, and the photos only hint at the lovely simplicity that attracted me to the pattern. I find that I am drawn to lace that isn't too lacy, and to geometric edgings rather than scalloped ones, and this fits the bill perfectly.