Swallowtail, the gateway drug

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Much virtual ink has been spilled on the little matter of those triangular or rectangular knitted items containing deliberately placed holes. Multitudes of blog posts devote themselves to expounding on the agony and ecstasy of knitting lace shawls. The excitement of embarking on a joyfully frivolous project, the tedium of finding oneself in the middle of knitting a single repeat in increasing iterations twenty times, the awe at the beauty of the finished product, the pain in discovering an error two rows of hundreds of stitches back, the delight of the magical transformation that comes from the careful application of some water and pins…lace knitting seems unmatched in the depth and range of emotions it can elicit from both the knitter and the spectators. I used to be puzzled by the obsession over lace shawls, the way those holey pieces of knitting held sway over a large percentage of the knitting population who made one after another. Sure, they were pretty, but how could these elaborate and impractical labor of love’s be so addictive? Now that I’ve finished my first shawl, I think I finally get it.

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There’s no concrete reason, nothing you can point to and say “this is why.” All I know is an attendant joy as I K2tog, YO, and ssk’ed my way across the rows, feeling happiness at knitting with the only goal of creating something beautiful. And all I know is that little thrill when I unpinned the shawl from blocking and admired its newly gained drape in the sunlight.

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Yes, I think I understand what the fuss is all about now. And I think I’m addicted.

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To sleep, perchance to dream…of knitting more lace.

The technical details:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, Evelyn A. Clark Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Yarn: 1 skein Handmaiden Seasilk, Sangria
Needles: US4/3.5mm
Blocked dimensions: 55 x 24 inches


Anonymous Maud said...

Your shawl is beautiful!, both colour and the knitting. Iwish you luck with the next lace prodject!

11:19 PM  
Anonymous joy said...

Beautifully done! The color is still very vibrant. :-) Guess we'll be seeing more shawls from you!

11:31 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

So beautiful!! I insist you wear it to Ratatouille.

11:35 PM  
Blogger hege said...

Marie, it's just gorgeous! The colors are so beautiful and your work is wonderful. I love your photos, too, you take such great pictures! I really think lace knitting is the most fun, most addictive. I just started back up on my Victorian lace scarf, I had forced myself to put it down to finish some other things.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Wow, it's gorgeous! I'm waiting to finish a project or two before casting on (again, sigh). You chose really nice yarn!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

Positively divine! Congrats!

9:33 AM  
Blogger Faith said...

I'm a full-blown lace fan because of this pattern. You did a wonderful job! Mind if I link to it?

12:06 PM  
Anonymous francoise said...

I think you don't understand the magic of lace until you have a go yourself... This shawl is beautiful indeed. Well done Marie! Hope to see many more from you now...

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Nora said...

I love this post. Your photos and shawl are exquisite. Well done Marie.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

so so so very pretty

1:41 PM  
Blogger Philippa said...

I think the joy must be in creating something for no other reason than beauty, and in being skilled at something challenging and intricate and creative - and the alchemy of blocking. It's really beautiful, I would definitely have persevered with a knotty skein for that! Hope you find somewhere to wear it. xxo

2:35 PM  
Anonymous jessie said...

The shawl is beautiful, and your post should be an essay in the back of a knitting magazine.

3:26 AM  
Anonymous nova said...

It's beautiful!! I love knitting lace.

10:15 AM  
Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Stunning! I love lace. It's so satisfying to make something so beautiful.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous anna said...

Beautiful! I made the same shawl in the same yarn, and it draws compliments wherever it goes!

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Veronica said...

Your shawl is absolutely beautiful.

2:52 PM  

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