Swallowtail Shawl

I’ve had the perfect purple lace sitting in my stash since I received it as part of the DKC Fairtrade Dishcloth Swap two years ago. Beautiful purple Manos del Uruguay lace, a blend of silk and alpaca that is just divine. It’s been waiting in my stash until I found the perfect pattern to make the most of the 400m. So when I was left with only a stockinette jumper on the needles at the start of January and the DKC suggested a KAL for Swallowtail I leapt into action, winding my heavenly little skein up.

That Saturday I cast on and knit the budding lace section in two days. I knit very fast when I’m stressed! I weighed my remaining yarn to see if I’d have enough to do the extra bud repeats for a larger size… but the answer was no. I decided that I would do the nupps in the pattern to expand my knitting skills repertoire. At first I was very slow at it and couldn’t knit them on the bus. With some practice I soon sped up and even managed to tink back a nupp I’d put in the wrong place! The pattern suggests 5-st nupps which turned out quite flat and invisible so I’ll be following the advice of the lace-gurus on ravelry and knitting 7 or 9 stitches in my next nupps. I cast off on the Thursday with 10g remaining. I realised then that I should have knit another lily of the valley repeat, especially as the shawl turned out really small. More of a necktie than a shawl really! Thankfully the yarn is so pretty I’ll happily wear it anyway! I have really enjoyed seeing how all the other participants got on with the pattern, some using heavier yarn, some modifying the pattern, some using beads. The twitter hashtag is #SwallowtailKAL if you’d like to see.

With what I learned from Swallowtail I decided to do a little maths on triangular shawls – which I’ll post about next time. What I learnt helped me to make the most of the yarn for my most recent shawl so that it used up all but a few metres of the skein. I love seeing how big a difference blocking makes:


I also found this really cool widget for keeping track of how much I’ve knit to help with Stashdown. In January I knit 1.6km, which is exactly balances the 1.6km of yarn I bought this month!

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