Although I started Anne Hanson’s Wing of the Moth shawl back in June, it was the second shawl I finished, just a few nights ago. The main reason is that I used a sport-weight yarn, and when the temperatures became sultry, I found it easier to work on Fiori di Sole. Also, I’ve worked with sport yarn before, but not true lace weight, and so I was more captivated by the Exquisite merino-silk yarn than by the Fibre Company Canopy Sport. This is no reflection on the Fibre Company yarn—it is a lovely mix of baby alpaca (50%), merino (20%), and bamboo (20%). It is just that when it is beastly hot and humid, the thinner yarn doesn’t get stuck in my sweaty hands.
So here is the finished Wing of the Moth modeled on my bannister, enabling you to have a good look at the border pattern and, I hope, the drape of the yarn. This is an accurate reproduction of the color (rose hips) too.
And here it is on me.
It is a big shawl, but one that I think suits the yarn. I now have to pull out some Liberty of London challis to make the skirt that is supposed to go with it. My hope is to have an outfit of that skirt (a circle or half circle—depending on the yardage), a simple scoop-neck top, and the shawl.
The pattern is an easy and clear one, but it doesn’t give any specific hints on what kind of bind off to use. I’ve not been terribly happy with the bind off on many of my shawls, and I started searching for a “suspended bind off” that wouldn’t look like a messy chain at the bottom of my work. I was very pleased with the one I found and chose for this shawl. The method I used combines the description of the “Icelandic bind off” in Myrna Stahman’s marvelous Shawls and Scarves book (available from Schoolhouse Press) and Lucy Neatby’s Knitting Gems DVD #4. Myrna Stahman recommends using a larger needle, and to do the bind off I went up from the U.S. 5 (Addi lace) that I used for the shawl to one Brittany Birch U.S. 7. I think I might have experimented with U.S. 8s, but I was far enough along to not want to start over. (You may even want to go larger--I'm a very loose knitter.)
The Knitting Gems DVDs are wonderful. After borrowing one Lucy Neatby DVD from the library (and there is just the one in our system, alas), I have slowly acquired most of the others, and I consider them a highlight of my personal knitting library. If you really want to see how this bind off is demonstrated, I suggest you try to view her video, where it is called the suspended bind off. Because I didn’t find much description of the technique in my web search, I asked Ed to photograph the process. Here is how it works (the stitch mounts are shown in Continental or English style):
Step 1: Insert your right needle into the first stitch as if to purl.
Step 2: Continue to keep the needle in the first stitch as you insert the same (right needle) into the second stitch on the left needle, as if to knit.
Step 3: Pull the second stitch through the first and knit it.
You will be left with one stitch on your right needle.
Step 4: Replace that stitch on the left needle and keep going until you’re done.
This is how my finished border looked, and I will use this bind off for any garter stitch edge that I have in the future. It just blends in and looks as if the knitting magically ended.
The only difficulty with the method is that it is a pain to rip (ask me how I know), so you may want to practice on a swatch to get the rhythm going before you tackle your edge.
Now that summer is officially over for me, it is on to sweaters, socks, and hats. I hope Mother Nature and the knitting gods cooperate and give me an extra month next spring so I can knit my winter projects into June.
Note that Lucy Neatby’s DVDs are available from many sources, but if you want to see an example of her videos, check this link.