Sunday, June 10, 2018

That's a Wrap

I finished up my Orenburg Style Wrap this weekend.

I made this out of Filatura di Crosa Superior laceweight yarn, a blend of cashmere, silk and merino that is a joy to knit with. Tinking back? Not so much. Once it's knit up, it's pretty snaggy and hard to undo. But still, well outside my usual knitting wheelhouse and fun to try. It's so soft. And so light. The finished shawl is about 44" long and 21" wide. The whole thing weighs 43g, or 1.5 oz.

The construction was new to me. It starts with a crochet chain provisional cast-on from which one of the outer edge patterns is then worked, but incorporating short rows so that it comes to a point. This forms one of the corners. I never quite got the stitch count right while doing this for the first corner, although the exact same instructions worked fine on the other three, so the problem was definitely user error. After the first corner is complete, the lower edge is knit and another series of short rows creates the opposite corner. Then stitches are picked up from the edge just created and the whole piece is worked completely side-to-side, with both the interior panel and the other edge strips being made at the same time. On the far edge, short row corners are created similar to the first edge, but instead of picking up stitches, the new edge picks up live stitches from the last row as it's knit. I wasn't really clear what was going on for a while - a diagram would have made this easier for me.

The original pattern says the finished wrap should be roughly 30" x 65". It suggests 3mm needles, but I found that my 3mm needles were too dull for all the K2togs required for this, so I borrowed some sharper needles that only came in 2.5mm. It seems that this .5mm difference translated to quite a bit of a difference in width and length. Mine just drapes over the shoulders -- it doesn't hang down into the crook of an arm. It might work well as a lightweight neck scarf if doubled up.

I'm amazed at how warm this fabric is. For not weighing much, it sure traps in the heat. I had to be careful to keep it to the side rather than in my lap or else it got quite uncomfortable. I'm also impressed with design choices that make this pattern quite accessible. Unlike the Niebling lace patterns I've made, Natalia Shepeleva's design doesn't fuss with the directions that decreases run. That is, you don't have to match a left-leaning decrease with a corresponding right-leaning one. The decreases aren't really part of the design, other than keeping the stitch count balanced with yarnover increases, so it doesn't really matter. And, it's garter stitch lace! That is, it's completely reversible with no "wrong" or "right' side. I had to really concentrate to not purl on what I thought of as the "wrong side" during the first few rows.

Although there is no right or wrong side visually, it helped to think in those terms for the purposes of tracking my way through the charts. For any given row with a side chart, a diamond chart, a center chart, diamond chart again and side chart again, one of the side charts was always one row in front of the others, meaning that the beginning of the "row" wasn't actually at the beginning of the row. Not sure is this is the way it was supposed to be, but it's the way my turned out. As long as I kept track on the charts, I was fine. And after a while I was familiar enough with them that if I got lost, I could find my place again with just a bit of counting.

Up next I'm thinking of making a cotton sweater I've had my eye on. I've got the yarn and I've been swatching. Before I got the pattern, I thought that perhaps it was a slipped-stitch pattern, but now I find it's a cable pattern. So this is going to take a bit longer than I thought. Probably won't get it done in time for an upcoming trip, but I'll try.