Friday, August 9, 2013

Bee balm lace

   I just finished a lace shawl that reminds me of the common bee balm flower that grows with abundance in our Midwestern prairies.
I used the Ostrich Plume stitch pattern on page 278 of Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. It looks complicated, but it's one of the easiest lace patterns I've ever knit. Three rows out of four you knit stockinette and the lace row is easy to memorize. I added a border of 5 stitches in garter stitch to keep it from curling.
   When knitting is in progress, the lace looks pathetic. Kind friends avert their eyes and do not question one's sanity. It's lumpy.
Below you see it during the blocking process, pinned to a sheet on top of my bed. The sheet is so I can see all the pins and remove them all. I used an entire box, doubtless hundreds. Using lots of pins reduces the waviness of the edge. Unblocked, the shawl measured 4 feet by 14 inches. Blocking made it magically grow to 5 1/2 feet by 19 inches. (1.7 meters by .5 meters) Because it is so thin a yarn and open an pattern it dried in a couple of hours, even in the summer humidity.
I am looking forward to wearing it. It's going to the opera!
Knitty gritty: I used an Italian yarn, Cashwool by Baruffa in lilac. It's 100% extra fine merino with 1350 meters to 100 grams. Apparently this yarn is no longer available in the US. This particular yarn went back and forth to Costa Rica not once but twice!