In Brenda's Cast-On Episode 77, she discusses one's magnum knitting opus. I didn't think that this shawl was until I heard her postcast, and now I know that it is. I did a prior post on this here, way back in June 2010 right after I started blogging. I finished this yesterday.
To recap a bit, when in Shetland I bought Shetland Supreme top at Shetland Wool Brokers, aka Jamieson and Smith. I purchased 500 g of natural, and 25 g bumps of mid gray, moorit, dark chocolate and light brown. The colors are sheep colors. I spun it up in to double ply, at about 11 wpi. I believe I started the spinning for this almost after getting home, perhaps August of 2009. I am not good at keeping track of how I'm spinning but it turned out fairly consistent.
The basic directions for this are in Sharon Miller's lovely book, Shetland Hap Shawls Now and Then. I graphed up a cat's paw lace pattern for the center square, which is knit as a diamond. The pattern for this is available under "free patterns" in the sidebar. Gauge is about 4 stitches per inch blocked.
The center diamond was a "car project," meaning that the knitting is not so hard that I can't carry it around in case I have a few minutes free during my work day, much of which is spent in the car, between seeing home care patients. Cat's paws on the cat's paws lace:
Once the center was done, this was no longer a car project, as it involved serious lace. It was November. I picked up the stitches at the sides for the fan and feather border at a ratio of one stitch per row. This was a mistake. My impulsive streak had taken over. I knit the whole border than did a light block with the iron and it sagged terribly in the middle. So, I frogged the whole thing and checked the book, and discovered that my ratio on the diagonal should have been 5 stitches to 4 rows. It's taken another 2 months to finish it. I used the four row fan and feather from Shetland Hap Shawls Then and Now.
Yes, it's missing the lace border. Perhaps I'll do one someday.
I love the idea of knitting something that has been done long ago. Of course, this shawl uses a different technique from the traditional, as I used a circular needle. Per Sharon Miller, these were only available starting in the 1920's to 40's.
Other things I really like about it: it's a single sheep breed project, uses the actual sheep breed that would be traditionally used, and it's a sheep to shawl, as it were.