Monday, September 03, 2007
MS3: Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Mom
I finished the splish splash party Saturday night by blocking a 3rd shawl--the MS3 or Swan Lake Stole. Melanie really threw a curve ball to this summer's mystery knitalong group by designing the 2nd half of the stole in a distinctly different manner from the 1st half. Known affectionately (or not!) as the "wing", this surprise ending was the hot topic on the knitting boards for weeks. Some loved it, many hated it, most were somewhere in between. To my surprise (and perhaps Melanie's too) many couldn't stand the idea of a stole that didn't look the same on both ends. Yes, we MUST have SYMMETRY! In this era where there is so much asymmetry in contemporary fashion and in the knitting magazines, the strong objection of many KAL members was a bit fascinating. The debate was heated (not flaming, though) although I confess I skipped most of it by subscribing only to the "special notices" mail from Melanie. This year's group was just too big and the inexperienced knitter chat too overwhelming for me to enjoy reading the digests this time. Heck, the volume of mail was so much I wouldn't have had any time to knit if I read it all!
I started 2 stoles since I couldn't decide between 2 yarns/colors. Once the mystery clue with the wing was revealed, though, I focused solely on knitting the natural colored one. I plan to resume knitting the blue version (without the wing) now that the natural one is finished.
I opted to go ahead and knit the natural-colored stole as written, wing and all, but I had misgivings about how it looked. The first picture above shows the completed stole before blocking. Looking at the 2 ends side by side I just wasn't thrilled with it. I know what Melanie's intention was, but I just couldn't convince my gut to like it. Nevertheless, I reserved final judgment until after blocking. After all, blocking can do magical things for a shawl. While I didn't like the finished stole at this point, my mother thought it was wonderful. OK Mom, I know what to do with it once I finish blocking. Aren't Moms just the best thing ever? Even now, she still loves everything I make :-) BTW, Mom is modeling the stole. You wouldn't believe how old she really is...she sure doesn't look it! She didn't acquire her 1st wrinkles until after she turned 70...I'm sure glad for that gene pool!
Enough about Mom... back to the story of the stole. I soaked the shawl in my usual warm soapy water (it was filthy--as bad as ColourMart cones--go figure?), rinsed it well, and headed to the bed. My pre-bath calculations said the stole would fit on the bed, but I was wrong and the wing took a strange curve down the side of the mattress--oh well (sigh). I was trying to hurry and get her stretched because my Father was having a little cardiac episode upstairs and mother was panicking (unnecessarily, but that another story). I had a sopping wet shawl that I really didn't want to abandon lest I run the risk of ruining it, so I moved quickly. Once I got the point of the 1st end perfectly even, stretching the rest wasn't all that bad. Since it was my 3rd shawl of the day, I was pretty quick threading the wires by now. My Swan Lake Stole turned out to be bigger than Melanie's version, but I used fatter lace yarn and bigger needles so I expected this. The wing really wanted to stretch out more than both my bed and the straight line across the top would allow, so there was a spot near the join at the bottom that wasn't stretched quite as much as the rest of the piece. But in the end, the interesting blocking of the wing didn't matter at all.
I unpinned the stole on Sunday morning, still not feeling the love for the thing, and took it upstairs to my mother. She carefully put the stole on, making sure the join between the wing and the rest of the shawl was positioned on her shoulder just right. Then something magical happened. She tossed the Wing over her shoulder, just as she would with any scarf. The feather points danced around her arm creating a perfect frame for the lace of the other end of the stole. At that moment I saw what Melanie had been trying to convey to thousands of doubting knitters for weeks. The beautiful white Swan had triumphed. The stole looked fabulous and my mother was completely smitten by it. Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Mom, it's yours!
So, the final story is:
Pattern: Swan Lake Stole (MS3)
Designer: Melanie Gibbons
Source: Pink Lemon Twist
Yarn: KnitPicks Bare Laceweight (91g used)
Needles: Addi-Lace US 5 (3.75mm)
Dimensions: 81" x 21"
Details: Knit as written, with the "Wing", beads omitted;
Time: started July 8th, finished August 24th, 21 days of actual knitting