Friday, February 15, 2013

Mom's Polaris

When I went to visit my Mom over Thanksgiving, she surprised me by taking me to a Local Yarn Store just around the corner from the house.  She wanted me to pick something out for myself, but instead I had HER pick something out so I could make a shawl for her!  She has loved my Polaris Shawl, and I had planned on making it for her for a long time.

Initially I was going to make Polaris in Lace weight and I planned to add 4 extra repeats of the chart.  This should also end up making the shawl deeper because there will be extra short rows.  However, now I have a worsted weight yarn (Blue Heron Rayon Metallic).  I have 233 g of yarn, more than the ball was supposed to have so I know I have 550 yards.  I decided to increase the number of repeats by 2 and to go up to a larger needle size.

To supplement the yarn with gold flecks, I will use Toho Round 6/0 crystal/gold lined beads.  This time, I will use tiny crochet hooks to add the beads to the yarn.

I cast on 409 (361 + 2*24)  for a total of 17 repeats onto size 11 needles with the backwards loop cast on method.  I will then P the next row with size 8 needles and knit the rest of the shawl on size 8 needles.  Beads are always added to the stitch before knitting it.

I love the colors and the sparkle of this yarn, but I do not love the texture.  When you hold the hank, it feels soft and cool, but it is a bit rough and scratchy to knit with.  

I regret using beads on this project, or at least using THESE beads.  Since the yarn has a gold shimmer throughout the gold beads do not add anything and are lost in the pattern (see above photo).  With a normal yarn, the beads would add hints of shimmer even if they did not stand out colorwise.  It is a shame you cannot really see them, but I will continue adding them.

Notes during Construction
  • After row 5 (7 rows knit total) 201 g remain.  32 g consumed.  This is just over 4 g per row.  There should absolutely be enough yardage to make the whole pattern, but the short rows may need to be cut a tad, well, short.  I may have made a huge mistake by adding two extra repeats.  We will have to see how things go.  
  • after row 6 - 197 g remain.  4 g per row is pretty accurate.  worst case scenario... it is a cool scarf.   
  • After Row 12 - 172 g.  14 rows knit, 4.35 g per row.  Well, consistency is good.  34 rows left, would require about 150 g of yarn.  This is good, since we know that the yardage will decrease as the rows increase.  I think I may add in a decrease a little bit sooner.  
  • After Row 16 - 155 g.  I am starting to feel worried, but looking back at my last polaris, the lace chart consumed ~75% of the yarn.  I keep reminding myself that the ABSOLUTE worst thing hat happens is that I have to frog this project.   
  • After Row 21 - 136 g remaining.  Half way through the lace (23 rows total, 46 rows total for lace) just under 100g consumed. I am much less concerned now! 
  • I decided to move the centered double decreases to Rows 31, 37 and 43 between repeats.  This gives one extra set of decreases, thus reducing the stitches for the short row section even further.  
  • When I hit row 33, I was confused by the number of stitches still remaining when I had a revelation.  The new YO is right above where the last YO was placed. I discovered this when my first center stitch was one st too far to the left.   I hope that I didn't mess things up too badly.  90g remaining. 
  • After row 46 - 55 g remain.   K 5 sts past the last SSK or K2tog before turning in the short rows.  (start by knitting 5 sts past center stitch, then knitting 5 past the other direction and turning again.  
  • 18 g remain before the last P short row.  After this row, 16 g remain (which means each row from her on out will take ~2 grams.)   201 stitches after the short rows, which is also consistent with needing 2 g per row since we started with 409 sts.  
  • I decided to skip the beaded rows 1 and 7, and do rows 3-6 of the top lace before binding of project.  The math works perfectly.  9 + 32* 6 = 201!  Since I have plenty of beads remaining, I decided to add beads to the center stitch on row 3, and on the first stitch of the row 5 repeat.    They may not show up, but at  least it will give a little hint of detail that can be seen up close.
  • Before Bindofff, 9 g left.  Darn, I would have had enough for 2 more round of the real lace pattern.  I decided to go ahead and knit rows 7 and 8 of the lace.  (With the beads)  5 g left before bindoff now.  
  • 3 g remain after binding off. 

I wet blocked the shawl for 30 min before pinning it out.  Surprisingly, the yarn bled a fair amount during the soaking.

I blocked the shawl aggressively, and even needed to place some books on the mats so they wouldn't curl up.  However, once the shawl was done drying, there was still a lot of stretch and it felt like I could block it even more aggressively.  I made a video of blocking this shawl, but still need to edit it and upload it to YouTube.  (Knowing me, this video will be released in 2-3 months.)

Even though I did not love knitting with this particular yarn, I loved creating this shawl for my mom.  I cannot wait to see her again so I can give it to her!