I'd fallen in love with the Spiral Shawl in Meg Swansen's "A Gathering of Lace" the moment I laid eyes on it. When I needed a travel project last summer, it seemed like just the thing.
Malabrigo Sock is one of my favourite lace yarns: the colours are gorgeous, it's soft and drapey, and it's smooth and easy to work with. (Less keen on it for socks, I'll be honest: the softness and drapey-ness that make it so good for lace make it too fragile for socks.)
Bets were taken on which I'd lose first: my eyesight, or my sanity. I had nearly 900 yards of sock yarn in black, and I was proposing an enormous lace project.
I worked on the shawl on and off throughout the fall, as travel permitted: it went with me to the UK, I took it to Rhinebeck, and it spent a fair bit of time travelling around Toronto with me.
I tried not to set myself a deadline, because I knew it was going to take a while... as it got bigger, the rounds got longer, and by the time October arrived, each round was taking me about 15 minutes. And that was only about half the size I wanted.
But I kept working on it, between other projects. Trying not to count, trying not to set expectations about when it would be done.
And then one day, it was done... about one and three quarter skeins of the yarn, and a huge crumpled mess!
Well, not that huge, actually. I'd done some math (as is my way), and I knew that I'd had to stop where I did to make the edging pattern work out evenly... but unblocked it was about 36 inches in diameter.
And then I blocked it. It was a time-consuming thing... after a long soak and a quick roll in a towel to get most of the water out, I had to pin out every one of the edge points, nearly 100 of them. (And then keep the dog off it, but that's a separate issue...)
And it went from a crumpled 36 inches in diameter to 54 inches! And it's fabulous.
Keen eyes will notice that it's not perfectly round - I had a heck of a time with that, so one side is a bit wonky. Even keener eyes will notice a few dark spots - these are where I made corrections to mistakes - specifically picking up extra stitches where I missed yarnovers, and so the fabric looks darker because I've got an area of tighter stitches.
But I love it to bits, and these imperfections aren't noticeable in the final project.
I am pleased to report to the doubters that I finished it within 6 months of start, and my sanity remained intact. But I did recently have to get new glasses...