Every end has been woven in, the shawl has been left for a gentle bath in some lukewarm water and some citrus Soak hand wash and then pinned out – each swallowtail edge point drawn to length an left to dry overnight, and finally my wedding shawl is ready.
This isn’t its final, grandest entrance – I shall have to wait nearly a whole year for that; but for now I know that I have my hand-knit shawl ready for the big day. Several hundred metres of laceweight Merino yarn and a few hundred beads, two weeks of evening knitting and my hand-knit for the wedding is complete.
The lace patterning is relatively simple and un-fussy, a simple circular motif that is repeated at a staggered interval, but the transition from the single YO eyelets to the mid-size motifs through tot he main patterning is nicely achieved, easing from the plain stockinette to the lace edging.
The wingspan of the shawl extends to about 160cm (about 5½ feet) after blocking. The merino yarn bloomed only a very little, which created just enough halo to fill the stockinette portion beautifully, but not enough to have any impact on the crispness of the lace motifs. I couldn’t praise this Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace yarn enough – it behaved beautifully with not a single under-spun section or knot to be seen.
The idea of beading the shawl came from the lovely Mooncalf’s version. Each of the beads was placed using a .75mm crochet hook. I started off beading beneath each of the single eyelets as so:
I also then placed a bead at the base of the mid-sized motifs and the first row of large motifs. For the next two rounds of large motifs I also placed a bead at the centre of each of the round stockinette centres.
At the border section I placed a few rounds of beads at the centre of each point and archway of the edging, just where I thought they looked best. Adding a few beads to the edging will give the shawl just a little bit of weight to stop it blowing around too much if it should catch the breeze.
The beading on the shawl is subtle, but provides a really beautiful effect as each of the pearlescent glass beads catches the light, like little twinkling lights.
The pattern was well written, and the charts easy enough to follow. I made a few changes to the pattern as I went along, but these were mostly substituting increases and decreases for ones that I preferred, and handling the top edge YOs slightly differently. On WS rows instead of stacking further YOs on top of those from the previous RS rows, I worked the WS increases as follows:
K3 (edge sts), k1, bring yarn to front and then p1 into the same stitch, p to marker, sm, p until last four stitches, p1, take yarn to back and then k1 into the same stitch, k3.
I think this gives a slightly more robust edge, as well as being (to my mind) more aesthetically pleasing.
The shawl has now been packed away in a ziplock bag and sealed away from moths and any other potential nasties, just in case. It may need re-blocking just before the wedding, but for now I know that I have my shawl safe and ready for that very special occasion.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace (1.2 x 50g balls used)
Beads: Size 6 white pearlescent seed beads, 60g