I experienced a major learning curve on my first venture into shawl knitting. My only prior projects were the very basic one-skein "Two-step shawlettes" that I knit earlier this summer. Leah Thibault's "Alaria" is the real deal. A triangle, three-chart beauty, but a tad complicated for a novice to the lace shawl. I jumped in way too quickly and a little over-confidently and I won't tell you how many times I frogged a number of rows -- which is neither quick nor fun when knitting lace patterns. But I am persistent, if not quick, and finally -- crying uncle at the umpty-ninth frog -- I added several stitch markers. Duh! It went much better and much more quickly after that. I could see the logical sequence of the rows and the transitions from chart to chart flowed smoothly. I began to see why knitters get hooked on this shawl thing.
First here's a look at the original from the Quince and Company website so you can see why I fell in love with "Alaria."
My photos are much less professional and much, much less artistic --in fact they are not artistic at all -- but here is my first "Alaria":
The yarn is Quince and Company's "Tern" in the color Kelp. The color is hard to capture. In some lighting it looks green, other lighting more gold and I like that, kind of a chameleon color.
Don't look too closely! Notice in the photo on the Q&C website that the pattern calls for nice strong points. As the instructions suggested I used a needle two sizes larger for the bind off, but still my edge didn't have nearly enough ease to make the points. The next time I will go up three or four needle sizes. Yes, I could have ripped out and bound off again but I was ready to be done with this one.
If you look closely at this kind of blurry photo I am wearing the shawl wrong side out. I have no explanation other than that I took it late in the day and only realized the wrong side out thing as I uploaded the picture.
The photo above is a truer depiction of the color.
This shawl is off to surprise a special friend in time for the cold weather to swoop in. She loves me and won't think a thing about a few irregularities and the lack of points.
I really enjoyed knitting with Tern. It is a high quality yarn for a reasonable price. The Quince and Company website is outstanding and I could work my way through each one of their well-selected designs. They are timelessly classic with a new and modern feel and their yarns are basic workhorse yarns in a very appealing color pallet. However, I do wish they were available at my LYS. I know that it helps the small manufacturer to keep prices down by selling directly to the consumer. But I also know what it is like not to have a LYS to squish the yarns and see the real color before buying and to receive personal help from the experienced knitters who work there. I hope that as Quince and Company grows they will be able to offer yarns on a wholesale as well as retail basis.