Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Diatom Shawl

For the first time in my life, I succumbed to buying one of the gorgeous knitting kits that Knit Picks has to offer. Somehow I had always thought that buying knitting kits (unless they're from awesome independent designers like Joanna) were a waste of time and creativity. I mean, if you're going to knit a pattern, shouldn't you have the freedom to choose which yarns you'll use? That's always half the fun for me.

But then... Then, my friends, I discovered the Diatom Shawl. When I first saw it in the Knit Picks catalogue I knew I had to make it, and, as it turns out, the neutral colour palette looked just perfect to me! The incredibly awesome nerdy story behind this shawl also appealed to me. Designer Kerin Dimeler-Laurence explains:


Any lady who uses the phrase "order of magnitude" is ok in my books. To paraphrase, her shawl design is based upon the diatom called the Arachnoidiscus, a cute little unicellular organism that looks something like this:


The resulting shawl is nothing short of gorgeous!




And it's huge! I didn't have enough blocking mats to accommodate its 5-foot diameter, so I used a curtain rod and a cleverly U-shaped blocking mat configuration to block the darn thing.


As Karin says, the knitting of the shawl isn't nearly as hard as it looks. I had trouble in the arrowhead lace section, but only because the pattern became so darn repetitive that I got really bored with it. Also, the fact that it started off with only 7 stitches and grew to 612 stitches by the end didn't help, especially when it took 45 minutes to complete a round near the end. Fortunately, those gorgeous colour changes near the end really helped me make it through the home stretch. The yarn is, of course,Knit Picks Palette, which is a nice solid fingering weight wool. It's lovely, but they gave me way too much of it with the kit, so now I have two and a half balls of the white yarn that I have no idea what to do with... Ah well, I could have worse problems!