Yep....this wee bit of knitting took two hours this afternoon.
What exactly is it? Well, it's the first "official" swatch for my Princess shawl - representing two repeats of the boarder edging.
Let me explain.
About a year ago, I received a sample pack of the yarns recommended by Sharon Miller for this particular shawl. I did a couple of small swatches - one with each of the two yarns in contention - but only enough to get a bit of a feel for the yarn. As you know, I took the leap recently and ordered the yarn that I felt would be the best choice for me.
That doesn't mean, though, that I was ready to start as soon as the yarn arrived. This is a big, and very important (to me) project, and so I wanted to make sure to take the time to thoroughly swatch with several different needles. Ordinarily, I don't swatch for lace...I just automatically go up a needle size or two and everything works out. This time I didn't want to take that chance.
My original swatch was done on a 1.5 mm needle, and I could tell that it was probably going to be too small. While the lace itself is lovely, the swatch is very small indeed. My guess is that I am going to need a 1.75 mm needle - which I didn't have - or a 2.0mm needle. I ordered a 1.75 mm this morning, and decided to go ahead and try out the 2.0mm today. Ideally, I would like to work at least 5-8 repeats of the edging with each of those two needles before I make a decision. Even better, I'm thinking about also doing a swatch of the center pattern with both. No, lace gauge isn't absolutely critical, but with a project like this I want to be sure that I'm VERY happy with my decisions every step of the way....even if it means a mountain of prep work.
The good news is that not only will all of this swatching help me to make the great needle decision, but it also helps aclimate my hands to such tiny yarn and needles and my brain to the edging pattern itself. I'm guessing that by the time I actually start the repeats won't take quite so long anymore....which is a good thing as there are 85 of them in the shawl!
The plan is to have all of my swatches completed so that I can take them to my guild meeting next Tuesday night to get opinions from some of my friends. I should easily be able to accomplish that!
And then....then the fun begins!
I promise not to spend the next two years or so posting daily pictures of progress so minute that it makes those of you willing to hang in there for so long want to beat your poor heads against your desks and/or computer monitors.