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Or the story of what happens when you decide on a Thursday that 440 metres of yarn should be a shawl by the following Tuesday…

This purple yarn

 ball of purple yarn

goes very well with this fabric.

bright flowers, red, purple and blue

This purple yarn used to be a scarfy-kind-of-wrap that went very well with this dress.

bright flower dress

But the scarfy-kind-of-wrap grew longer and skinnier and I frogged it, intending to knit a shawl instead.

**********

Fast forward a year and you get to where I was last Thursday – the moment when it dawned on me that I really did need that purple yarn to be a shawl by Tuesday*.

The yarn is Lana Grossa Puntino, a sport-weight/5-ply cotton, and I thought it would be perfect for a Daylily Shawl by Judy Marples (spinnyknitter). I admit to having felt slightly anxious at the prospect of knitting a lacy shawl in under a week. I decided to compromise and knit a shawl with a stocking stitch body and a lace border. So off I went. I cast on and followed the shaping for Daylily. It’s a semi-circular shawl which should stay put quite nicely.  I knitted as fast as my fingers would move.  Forget enjoying the process or the ‘journey’; this was simply a race to the finishing line cast off!

Sometime on Saturday, after I’d knitted three ‘blank’ repeats, I began to feel uneasy about the whole project. Daylily Shawl has its own border and here I was wanting to do a panel of daylilies and then what? I thought the shawl would end up looking bitty if I had a section of stocking stitch, followed by some daylily vines and then finished with the more solid border of the pattern. What I needed was a straightforward lacy edge. Thankfully, inspiration struck… Haruni!  Many people have modified the pattern and knitted a stockinette body with the flower edging but Emily Ross has written up Stockinette Haruni as a separate pattern.

So I’d reached the home stretch. Or had I?

My shawl was a semi-circle, and Stockinette Haruni is triangular. I decided to omit the larger flower at the centre and just work the other pairs all round. I did a sneaky decrease to get an even number, and cracked on with the flowers.

Eleven rows later, and it was clear that Something Was Not Right. One front point was growing into a flower and the other on wasn’t! Close examination of the pattern instructions revealed I had failed to account for three stitches (marked helpfully in yellow) that should mark the other point. I.e. knit the repeats and then knit the yellow squares once more. Sometimes more haste does mean less speed. Time to rip back. Oh were those rows long. And I needed to ‘find’ three extra stitches. Time for a little fudge!

Fortunately, attempt two was straightforward on the knitting front, but my yarn was decreasing at a rather alarming rate. This called for more fudging. I stopped the increase rows one row short and then jigged the first decrease row to account for my petals being narrower but the spaces in-between being as stated. I carried on knitting. With the final row completed, I needed to deviate from the pattern again. I replaced  the multiple-stitch decreases and chain loops with a stretchy cast off.

My yarn had kinks from its former life and there were uneven stitches, particularly in the body of the shawl. But it’s winter here and I believe cotton can take a while to dry. I decided to try a steam pressing first and see whether I liked the result. Thankfully, I did. Just stretching the fabric with my fingers while applying the steam iron evened out the knitting to such an extent that I was confident I could make the flowers look good too. I went for a smooth edge and just opened up the flowers, one by one.

So when did I finish? Monday! So yes, you can decide on a Thursday to knit over 400 metres of yarn into a shawl to be worn the following Tuesday… but it’s not something I’d generally recommend!

purple lace shawl bright flower dress with purple shawl front view

* Why Tuesday? Tuesday was the day I was attending a so-called Archibald Dinner. A special event at the Art Gallery of New South Wales with a private viewing of the finalists for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. You can read more about these prestigious prizes here.

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