I don't know why I'm having so much fun with this challenge, but I am. I suppose it's a bit like taking part in a block of the month, but I've always been on the designing end of that process. It's not quite as exciting when you already know how it ends.
So, for challenge two we were to knit something in a color from our national flag. This rule was a little loosey goosey, red could be pink, for example.
Since I am currently in my shawl stage, I ordered pale blue lace weight yarn, in a wool and silk combination. (I love silk.)
Isn't it pretty? I started with the pattern Girasole because I love the center pattern. And for the knitters out there, for knitting lace, I'm loving the Dreamz needles from Knitter's Pride. The long, tapered points are perfect for making nupps (pronounced noop, it's a kind of bobble thing used in lace knitting), and the wooden needles are much kinder to my hands.
Midway through the pattern I switched over to EZ Anniversary Pi shawl, the "camping" one, for a lacier finish than the original pattern.
A shawl isn't done until it's blocked. It's kind of like sewing the binding down, it's the last step before the big finish, but totally unglamourous.
I have just the space for blocking, right in front of the fireplace in the studio, although this shawl pretty much pushed the limits. The tools of choice for blocking are the lowly t-pin and yard stick. The challenge with blocking lace is getting enough stretch to open up the holes, but not to pull it so hard that the knitting is strained. I knit the shawl with larger than recommended needles so it would be extra lacy. Can't ever get enough lacy.
But this shawl, with its scalloped edge, required way, way more t-pins than I had. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get her shawl finished.
I broke out the box of safety pins left over from the days when I pin basted my quilts. Kent opened them for me, and I gently pinned out those scallops for what seemed like hours on end. I'm so happy with how the shawl turned out. I'd never done a circle shawl before but it turned out to be much easier than I expected. I see more circular shawls in my future.