Thursday, August 2, 2012

Venomous Tentacula

Venomous Tentacula has been in my queue for a long time. When I received the pattern in a RAK (random act of kindness), I knew that I had to cast on immediately. I purchased some Malabrigo sock yarn in the color Solis and broke out my size 7 knitting needles. I decided to leave the beads out the first time I knit this pattern because I couldn't really tell how they would add to the look.

I chose size 7 needles so I could make the yarn stretch a bit further (I may not be able to do as many repeats, but I will get a size I like.) I like the density from other shawls I've made with fingering weight yarn and size 7 needles. Also, I couldn't really see any of the beading in any of the pictures on Ravelry, so I decided to just cut them entirely from my project.

This is my first time knitting with a Malabrigo yarn. There is more variegation in the yarn that I expected from the color on my order, but I think it makes the yarn even more delightful for this project.

Knitting the newly cast on stitches is a little slow, but it is easy to keep track of your pattern progress without using any kind of marker. I was a little concerned about the gaps that formed, and I didn't see much difference when I twisted stitches as suggested in the pattern. I test blocked the first few sections of the pattern and found that these gaps became invisible, so I stopped twisting stitches for the rest of the project.

I love the suggestion to keep track of the amount of yarn you have left. This will allow you to make the biggest shawl possible out of whatever kind of yarn you have.

Notes from the Pattern: Increases
  • 98 g of yarn before I cast on (long tail cast con)
  • 91 g remaining after 4 repeats.
  • 87 g remain after 6 repeats.
  • 82 g remain after 8 repeats. (16 g consumed)
  • 77 g remain after 10 repeats. (Δ5 g/ 2 repeats) The side edge measures 9.5" without any blocking. The lacy edge is well over 12" (again, without any blocking.)
  • 71 g remain after 12 repeats.
  • 65 g remain after 14 repeats.
  • 58 g remain after 16 repeats. (It looks like I will do 18 repeats before starting the decreases.)
  • (After row 3 on round 17, I only have 68 sts before the marker. Given my calculations, there should be 69... Looking down the shawl I don't see a missed increase. One stitch off won't make a huge difference in the overall shawl, but I need to make sure I remember all of the increases! Looking down, it looks like I forgot the increase somewhere in round 14. This isn't a huge deal, since you cannot tell unless you look REALLY hard. I think that this mistake will keep the end symmetric with only 3 sts left before the marker when I bind off during a round 6!)
  • 54 g remain after 17 repeats. I will try to sneak one more in....
  • 50 g remain after 18 repeats. There are 74 sts before the marker (I only had one missed increase!)

Notes from the pattern: Decreases
  • 47 g remain after 1 repeat (#19 overall). 70 sts remain before marker.
  • 44 g remain after 2 repeats (#20 overall)
  • 37 g remain after 4 repeats (#22 overall). 58 sts remain before marker.
  • 32 g remain after 6 repeats. (#24 overall)
  • 26 g after 8 repeats. (#26 overall) 42 sts remain before marker.
  • 22g remain after 10 repeats (#28 overall) Throughout the whole decreases, I have been confident that I was going to make it to the end, but now I am really feeling good since 2*10 repeats left = 20, making at LEAST 2 g remaining.
  • 17 g remain after 12 repeats (#30 overall.) 26 sts remain before marker.
  • 13 g remain after 14 repeats (#32 overall) 18 sts remain before marker.
  • 10 g remain after 16 repeats (#34 overall) - 20 sts remain before marker
  • 7 g remain after binding off.
  • I ended the 18th decrease repeat after row 5. K across row 6 (no binding off) and then bind off on row 7. I used a stretchy bindoff (K, Ktog tbl) in place of row 6 so it would match the cast on edge better.

Blocking made a HUGE difference with this project, and not just for the vines. Without blocking the sideways garter stitch was tight and made the shawl really tiny. The ruler on the above pictures may be a little hard to see, but the shawl really bloomed when it was pinned out.

Ultimately I'm glad that I didn't add beads to this shawl. I still cannot really see where the beads would go, and there would be so few that it wouldn't really add much to what ended up being a really easy pattern to follow.