Poppy Progress: 10/09 Decision Point

I completed the seventh body repeat last night. According to the pattern, it is time to begin the border. According to me, this shawl is looking very small indeed. It is time to reach a decision – and elect either to complete the shawl as written or to knit on and make a larger one.

I know that the shawl will be larger than it looks – I made a Swallowtail and was agreeably surprised on blocking it. Yes, it was a small shoulder shawl but not unusably so. I do need to bear in mind that cashmere doesn’t block as well as wool, of course, so that’s a factor in the decision. On the other hand, the Swallowtail was cashmere too, and that worked out just fine.

The Kelpie is holding out well. I’ve used, to the best accuracy and precision of my scales, just 28g of my 50g ball, leaving 22g. My spreadsheet reckons that I am 68% done, and 32% of 50g is just 16g … so I have plenty of yarn to finish the shawl, no matter how tiny the ball is looking just now. (The pattern calls for 448 metres of laceweight, Kelpie offers 470 metres, so that would seem to confirm my measurements.)

There is a second ball on the way, from when I was going to knit on larger needles and was worried about having insufficient yarn. It’s a hand-dyed yarn, with all the adorable irregularities that implies – and Natalie did note that each skein of this colour was a little different to the others. But it hasn’t got here yet and I have no idea how great the difference will be.

Two choices:

  • A. Just finish the shawl as written, breathe  a sigh of relief, move on and knit another small shawl from the second ball
  • B. Wait for the new ball to arrive and see if it’s a workable plan to extend the shawl with it, if not – fall back to plan A.

I suppose that there is a Plan C – assume that all will be well and knit on as though Plan B was going to work.

What I am thinking is that the two balls can be joined at the Border Transition stage. I can knit the first ball into extra 12 row repeats until done. Then add in the new yarn to knit the border, where any colour change might well appear deliberate (hoping and praying that the second ball is darker, not lighter, if it does differ from the first.)

One thing to factor into the decision-making: I am already dis-enamoured of the body repeats. It gets more and more difficult to maintain the stitch count as the repeats increase. In fact, I am finding the whole thing a bit of a slog and am tinking far too often. Perhaps it is the natural time to move on to the border.

But it does look very small indeed. The pattern reckons it should block to 27″ by 56″ – but the cashmere may have something to say about that.

Overall, I know that I am happiest in my decison making when I am fully informed and have all the facts at my disposal. This leads me towards delaying my decision until the second ball arrives. On the other hand, I am an impatient soul and eager to be finished, which suggests that I’d be happiest of all just completing the shawl today. Which would of course leave me with one extra and rather expensive ball of cashmere on my hands – to sell, trade, gift, or transform into another of Evelyn’s little shoulder shawls. Just don’t ask me to make a third Swallowtail!

  • Days: 6
  • Repeats: 7 of 7
  • Rows knitted: 111
  • Rows left: 20 (as written)
  • Stitches on needle: 327
  • Stitches knitted so far: 18,271
  • Completion: 68%
  • Lifelines: 3 !
  • Yarn used: 28 grams
  • Yarn left: 22 grams

Your comments, dearest reader, are warmly invited. What would you do in the circumstances? If your suggestion includes gifting you a ball of deliciously Paprika-red cashmere yarn, make it a good one and you never can tell…

While I await your input to my decision, I’ll knock off a few rows on the green DK shawl project.

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One Comment

  1. SpinningGill
    September 10, 2009

    Having seen the colour of the shawl, I’d trade you something for the second ball and say finish the shawl as written! 🙂

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