on the needles

Monday, May 22, 2006

Shadow Shawl

Ta Da!

I finished it on Sunday - ends all woven in and everything - although I haven't trimmed them yet because I haven't blocked the shawl yet. I'm not sure the shawl really needs blocking. I think the only thing blocking would do is make the picots stand out a bit more. But illusion knitting sometimes flattens out a bit too much when blocked - so I'm thinking I probably won't block the shawl at all.

The action shot:

The colors don't show up well in these photos at all. The light was waning outside but I was excited to get some pictures taken so I grabbed hubby and we gave it a try. I will take some better ones later. But you get the general idea from these - just add richer color in your imagination. :)

The Stats:

The Pattern: Shadow Shawl by Maureen Mason-Jamieson

The Yarn: 4 and a half skeins of Silky Wool #08 and almost 5 skeins of Koigu P301

The Needles; Addi Turbo Circs size 7

Time to knit: About two weeks.

What I learned: How to picot! I'd never done it before and it was a bit scary at first. But I'm a picotin' pro now. The decorative chain stitch edging was a first as well. It looks really good - I'm definitely using this effect again!

The knot patrol found two knots - in one skein each of the Silky Wool and the Koigu. The knots were in the first two skeins I wound up. I was like - "Oh COME ON!" because I've used tons of Silky Wool without finding one knot and didn't expect to find one in a skein of Koigu either. Fortunately, the beginning wasn't a pre-view of how the whole project was going to turn out!

I thought the pattern was a little confusing as I read through it but not as I was knitting it. Does that make sense? The beginning of the shawl was very fiddly. I had to rip out and start again three times to get it going to my satisfaction. I think it was because there is just so much going on in such a small space! But after the shawl was started it was smooth sailing. It is very easy to "read" the knitting as you go along so you don't need to consult the pattern after a little while.

In eggy news:

I tried twice over the last week to get a look at the eggs in the evening so that I could candle them again. But neither Godric or Minerva would budge off the nest to let me have a look. It was so cute! I have access to their nest through the top of the nesting box. I opened up the lid and they just looked at me. I even gave them a gentle nudge but nothin doin'. I guess they are too used to me to be frightened off of their precious eggs.

Finally Sunday was cage cleaning day. I do all the daily maintenance over the week but the weekly total overhaul usually happens on the weekend days. It takes me at least half an hour to scrub down everything and replace it. So it's a fairly major upset for the birds. Usually they are pretty calm through cleaning day but ever since the eggs arrived everyone has been a bit more jumpy. And it only takes one nervous birdie to get the whole flock riled up. I decided to take advantage of the situation and candle the eggs - even though it was daylight and I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to see. So I got out my little flashlight and - wow! - three of the eggs were bright pink! No doubt about it - they are live ones. I took the rest of the eggs out and into the bathroom so I could double check them in the dark. Sadly it was clear that none of those were developing into babies. :( So now the parents-to-be are sitting on their three live eggs quite happily. It may work to their advantage to have a small clutch of babies for their first parenting experience. At least I hope so! I'm still living in fear of the dreaded chick tossing.

This coming Friday should be hatching day - so keep your fingers crossed! I think hatching and the first few days after are the hardest on chicks and parents. Some finch wisdom says that Gouldians are terrible parents and others dismiss that as nonsense. I guess we will see. I'm glad the whole process doesn't take too long because the anticipation would kill me! :)


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