Aug 08 2009


Published by at 12:00 pm under FOs

Right now, all the way across the country in Portland, there are countless sock knitters breaking world knitting records and taking classes with Very Famous Knitters and attacking the vendor floor, including my own dear buddies Glenna and Rebecca. (They are blogging their way through it, if you’d like to live vicariously like me.)

Anyway. I’m not there, clearly, since they are all the way across the country from me. But in true Aesopian fashion, I’m fine with that and those grapes were probably sour anyway. And to prove it, I am having nothing to do with socks. I went and knit a shawl instead.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Pagoda, 1 skein
Needles: US4/3.5 mm
Notes: I am in absolute love with this shawl. This has been on my Must Knit list since I first saw the pattern in Interweave three years ago.

However. There are a few things any prospective Swallowtail-knitter should know. Firstly, the chart repeats do not match up, so if you want to make a bigger Swallowtail, which I did, you have to use math. Horrible, I know. This is why Clark suggests just using bigger yarn and needles. That was not in the cards here, because I had this skein of Malabrigo Lace just begging to be used. Secondly, Mintyfresh went ahead and did the math for you here. That post is full of spectacular information and you should read all of it, but what it boils down to is this: If you want to have a larger shawl, you should knit 19 repeats of the Budding Lace instead of 14. This will set you up just right for the Lily of the Valley charts, and a few increases will set you up for the last chart. I followed Minty’s advice and knit the 19 repeats, and sailed right into the Lily of the Valley charts, nupp nupp. This is the first time I have nupped, and it’s strangely addicting. I know they’re supposed to be treacherous, but I had no issues with them. I’ve always liked purling, which I’m sure helps.

Of course, something has to go wrong, and I somehow got all befuddled in the last chart and ended up ripping back three times. (Lifelines are a very good idea. I am very relieved I used them.) My yarn was looking considerably worse for the wear by that point so I just gave up, dove in, and somehow beat everything into shape.


It worked, and I bound off with a slightly larger needle so everything would have room to block, soaked, tried out my blocking wires for the first time (do not ask for how long I have had them) and the final results utterly take my breath away. It’s feather-light and drapey and beautiful, and I will take any excuse to wear it. Can you blame me?


Who needs socks when you can have lace like that?

One response so far

One Response to “Swallowtail”

  1. Gail says:

    I love seeing your creations!


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