Friday, March 18, 2011

Kællingesjal from 1897

I was looking for a shawl that I wouldn't be afraid to wear and work in around the house or around a campfire. So many of the shawls I see knitters do are the most beautiful, intricate, lacey things I've ever seen. Unfortunately, such feminine delights are wasted on me. I am too impatient for the things lace calls for, I don't have the appropriate personality or body shape to drape myself in beautiful thread, and I'm too rough on the things I wear. (I have holes in almost everything I own at this point)

So I opted to give the Kællingesjal a shot after browsing Ravelry. It seems to be a recreation piece from the Vendsyssel Museum in Denmark. Mette Rørbech looked at the shawl in the museum and attempted to recreate it, keeping notes and later publishing them as a free Ravelry download for the rest of us to try. I, for one, am grateful. There's something very interesting about knitting something that was used practically in the old world. I am not of Danish descent at all, but I certainly admire the culture.

Mette Rørbech (known at MttR) has a blog she maintains that has quite a few historical knit pieces which are worth a look if you're into that kind of thing.

On to knitting the actual shawl. I actually did this whole shawl (it took just under 3 weeks of off-and-on knitting), and when I finished, I stretched it out and realized it would hardly fit my little sister. When I say little, I mean in both age and size. The shawl fit her snugly. There was no chance in hell this thing would even cross my chest in a flattering way. I did 20 "tips" in the bottom lace border, which I thought was very generous. People were recommending doing a "wingspan" length of the bottom lace border, which I calculated. It was wrong. I was heartbroken.

The short of it is this: I somehow screwed up something very, very simple. I was upset about it. So upset that I didn't even want to look at the shawl, let alone think about a repair strategy.

After about 24 hours, I decided (in anger) to rip everything out, rewind the yarn, and shelve the project. I updated the Ravelry project as "frogged," posted what I did wrong, and pushed it to the back of my mind.

Until yesterday, when the project kept calling me. I've been doing the herringbone cowl in hopes of being able to use it just a bit before the warm weather. As an aside, the Blue Sky Alpaca yarn, while $18 a hank, makes the most wonderful knitting I think I've ever experienced.

I picked up some needles and I started the bottom lace border, just to see if it broke my heart to do it again. It didn't. So I kept going. And now, I feel strong enough to re-design this shawl so it actually works for me. I upped my needle size (from 6 to 10, oh boy) and I'm being careful about what "wingspan" means. I think I may lengthen the actual garter stitch body part of the shawl, too.

I guess it won't be so historical now, but I would rather it work than sit on a shelf, being all historic.

Have you ever been heartbroken over a project? Have you ever picked it back up after experiencing said heartbreak?

All photos are from the pattern page(s) of the shawl.


Kate! said...

OH, no! I totally understand where you're coming from. This happens to me all the time- and I usually end up shelving the project. I just don't have the patience. I'm excited that you're sticking with it, though. As they say, "patience is a virtue". I guess I'm just not a virtuous person.

ImplausibleYarn said...

You have so much more patience then I do when it comes to this sort of thing. I have so many shelved projects. What a great project though!

knitinsage said...

how is this beautiful shawl? i was just looking at it on rav when i saw you have a project!

is it zzzzzzz? sometimes the yarn does not suit the pattern, but yours looks fantastic!

hope all is well, and OOOH! OOOOOOH! i want to see your herringbone cowl! do you plan a post?