I blocked shawls yesterday but more on that later. I love the shawls after they are blocked so I block them and I pay attention to the blocking process. But I dislike the process itself. It is iterative and one has to fuss with the details. Exact measurements, straight lines and precision count. But the end result is well worth it.
Back to the stole, I started over on the size 9 needles and continued on happily. I enjoyed knitting this pattern because it has enough variation to make it interesting. The cables are a nice alternative to the lace. I finished the center section and got started on the first side panel. I had done a yarnover at each side edge to make it easy to pick up the sts for the side panels. Now, given I was not knitting in the same direction, there is the rows to sts ratio to be considered. But lace gets blocked, and is usually knit on much larger needles for the weight of the yarn and this tends to even out the ratio. Besides, if the side panels are wider, it is not a big deal. It makes it easier to throw over the other shoulder. So I was planning to alternate a yarnover with each picked up st. This looks like a line of faggotting - the traditional lace pattern with a k2tog, yo or vice versa.
I had carefully calculated the number of rows on the center section to result in the correct number of sts for the side panel (with the alternating yarnovers included). Therefore I was puzzled when I found that I was a few sts short of the number I needed. Remember how I said I'd messed up? Well here it is. I forgot that I needed to do a half repeat at the end to make the center section symmetrical. If the cables are A and the lace is B (look at the photo of the swatch for reference), the pattern is represented by the following sequence:
The shawl needs to have the following sequence which begins and ends with the same one that it started with.
B A B A B
A B A B A
B A B A B
A B A B A
B A B A B
Not only do we need a half repeat on the side to make it symmetrical but we als need a half repeat on top. I forgot that basic rule. Darn!
But all was not lost. Since the difference was only a few sts, it is easy enough to increase on the row after the pick up to get the correct number. This is a fudge that I do all the time when picking up sts. I pick up just as many as I need for the pickup to look good and then I adjust on the following row/round to get to the correct number. It saves a lot of ripping and redoing which only stretches out the sts and makes the pickup look loose.
Once I had that, it was easy going all the way to the end. Again, the side panels mix lace and welts of reverse stockinette with stockinette which makes for a nice variation in the knitting. Neither gets too boring. I also planned the side panels so that I bound off the center section and continued the pickup for the first side panel. Then I wet-spliced yarn to the CO end and continued the second panel so I only had 2 ends to weave in when I was done.
All but the blocking. That I will save for next time but here's the finished shawl - unblocked.
Here's a closeup of the center section and a side panel - also unblocked.
Here's the view of the center and the entire side panel.
Blocking details and pictures of the finished, blocked shawl come next. You can see how the whole thing looks wrinkled and unfinished - like an un-ironed shirt. That is what blocking does. It is the equivalent of ironing.