The Ring

My grandma gave me this domed gold ring, a family heirloom, when I turned 18. She put it on my finger, and told me to wear it to college parties, where it would surely capture the attention of gentleman suitors. Oh, grandma, how I love you!

I have never worn the ring – it is massive, exquisite, priceless, and completely clashes with my un-manicured, pudgy, short fingers and jeans-clad body. My grandma asks me about it, wonders if I’ve been wearing it, and I tell her that I haven’t, but that there’s no way I’m giving it back. Every gram of that ring, every curve, every stroke of the design is her gift to me, her love for me.

The shawl I knit for grandma is hardly a Wedding Ring Shawl – it’s not the right size or shape or yarn or color, and it’s not that fine. But there is something special about passing a delicate fabric through a metal ring, the shawl I knit for grandma through the ring she gave to me, one form of love through another.

Finishing this shawl was not anti-climactic. I am so happy and so pleased, and these feelings definitely alleviate (although not completely erase) all the frustrations I went through while dealing with the shoddy pattern. I think my grandma will really love this shawl, and I’m left itching to knit some more lace!

Pattern: Misty Morning Shawl, distributed by The Alpaca Yarn Company (formerly America’s Alpaca), designed by Sharon Winsauer of Aurora Alpacas. Corrections for this pattern can be found here.

Needles: 2.5 mm (US 1) and 3.0 mm (US 2) Metal Dowels. For the last two borders of the shawl, I got smarter and used Inox – the gray Teflon-coated aluminum ones. I don’t know whether the package was marked US 2 (supposedly 2.75 mm) or US 3 (supposedly 3.25 mm), but they are 3.0 mm in diameter according to my calipers.

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace, 50% silk/50% wool, color periwinkle (49 ns). I used about two-thirds of a skein (850 yards), and have enough yarn left over for a lacey scarf or something. Simply put, this stuff rocks! Would definitely use again.

Finished size: 54″ across the top, 34.5″ deep.

Modifications: this was a very challenging project because I completely changed the shape of the shawl, and everything that entails:

Guess what? Many (bandwidth-sucking) photos in the extended entry – check it out by clicking below!

Leaves in the center panel:

The back point:

One of the corners:

Many of the elements together:

Handpainted goodness:

Silky sheen:

From the front:


202 thoughts on “The Ring

  1. Rosemary

    Oh, Kathy, it is gorgeous! I’m itchy to knit lace just looking at it.

    Your grandma is going to fall over. Hm, which might not be a good thing, hehe.

  2. Cara

    That is exquisite (I especially love the subtle color variegation). I can’t believe your patience in finishing this thing! But it was well worth it. I’m sure your grandma (who sounds so cute!) will adore it.

  3. Carla

    oh my goodness. Kathy, it is absolutely stunning, and at least from my comfortable distance through blogland, totally worth your unpleasant experiences with the pattern. What a triumph! Congrats! And…what a lucky Grandma πŸ˜‰

  4. --Deb

    It looks absolutely gorgeous! Your grandmother is going to love it. Isn’t the magic of lace amazing?

    Oh, and the ring is beautiful, too! How sweet of her!

  5. Rachael

    Wow- I’ve never knit lace before, and this is so gorgeous that it makes me want to try! Great job – your grandmother will love it!

  6. Patricia

    Your shawl is gorgeous and looks so delicate. I just took up loom knitting in November, but after looking at the lace you have knitted, and the Odessa hat, and the beautiful socks that are made with needles, I may have to take up needle knitting too!

    Thank you for sharing your talent and creativity.

  7. Kelly

    Oh… my… gaaawwwwwd

    Beautiful, beautiful. Your Grandma will be stunned.

    I think that picture may just have convinced me to make my next project lace…

  8. smokey

    What surprises me about your persistence with the pattern is what you alluded to in this post–the shoddy workmanship evident in the creation of the pattern. You’re clearly somebody who enjoys well created/done/written patterns, which this, quite obviously, wasn’t. I understand your desire to do what others don’t do, to challenge yourself–I don’t understand the desire to persist in that goal with such a poorly written pattern. (Although, she adds paranthetically, it is truly lovely)

    I’m wondering if you’re ever going to share with us the response from the, ahem, designer (and I do use that term loosely) of this pattern?

  9. Laura

    Words cannot describe it. Your grandmother will love it and your mother will be jealous!

    The two edgings are amazing and the modification you made to the shape was a good call

  10. Laura

    Wow. Such a masterpiece. And after all the work you put into the pattern corrections you should be listed as a co-designer for it!

    The ring story. *gulp* Really choked me up. How special.

  11. Stephanie

    OMG! It’s better than I imagined (and I imagined pretty freakin’ fabulous)! Your grandma is going to flip when she sees it. I bet she doesn’t take it off for weeks, maybe months. It’s absolutely perfect. You really should be soooo proud of yourself. That is an heirloom in its own right.

  12. marie in florida

    when i read the first three lines my eyes filled with tears.

    great job on creating your own family heirloom.

    i hope it ends up in an antique store on a distant planet 100years into the future.

  13. Lisa

    Wow, I am utterly speechless looking at that shawl. There are no words to describe what an outstanding job you did.

    You must be so pleased with yourself – it is truly a work of art.

  14. knitzalot

    Wow, that is gorgeous! Do your corrections also include your modifications to the shape? Now that you’ve done all of that hard work to fix the designer’s mistakes, I think I may want to make that. Great yarn!

  15. Yvette

    Wow, that is simply stunning. Congratulations on a new family heirloom. You inspire me to go beyond my comfort zone.

  16. Ann

    WOW. Breathless, speechless at how gorgeous that turned out. And also at your perseverance in the face of a craptacular pattern. You’ve written another chapter in making lemonade out of lemons. Brava!

  17. B liss

    The shawl is truly beautiful, and I know your grandmother will treasure it. I am amazed and inspired by your perserverence through faulty patterns. I think most of us would have kicked it to the curb in a big heap. Your tenacity more than paid off in this work of art.

  18. Jul

    Wow, great job. all your hard work paid off. Hope grandma loves it! What’s the story with the ring and the shawl? I’ve never heard of a wedding ring shawl…

  19. christine

    the shawl is perfection! I love the Helen’s Lace for shawls. Great job, and I have been reading about your trials with this. I’m not sure I would have stuck it out……..

  20. Christie

    I feel that this word is overused in our commenting, but your shawl is gorgeous! Your grandma will be so proud of you and your skills. All the trouble you went through was worth it…well kinda.

  21. hillary

    Wow!!! Your shawl is gorgeous. I am about to start my first lace project (a shawl) and I can only hope that mine comes out half as nice. I’m not sure I’d have the patience to work thru all of the stuff that you did tho.

    Fantastic Work!

  22. jody

    it’s gorgeous. are you mailing it to grandma or presenting it in person?

    thanks for sharing all the blow-by-blow. it’s been really good blog reading to see the issues and your solution (and damn, that change log is massive!)

  23. Robin

    Wonderful and worthy of your grandmother! Your tribute to your grandmother was heartwarming as well. You raised the bar for us newish knitters, Grumperina!

  24. Sandra

    Oh. My. Effing. God. That shawl is stunning, absolutely stunning. I’m speechless. I honestly don’t know what else I can say. It’s a work of art, that’s what that shawl is. Wowers. Your grandmother= sooooooooooooo lucky!

    And I love the story behind your grandmother’s ring. That gold ring is gorgeous.

  25. Nadia

    No! Nonono! Today is the start of the knitting olympics — I am not knitting lace. You are a mean one, Grumperina! Trying to tempt us all away with your lacy ways, on the very first day.

  26. Judy

    The shawl is beyond gorgeous, and all the more precious for all the persistence you put into it. Your grandma would REALLY be proud of that.

    And you should wear the ring, you know. Sometimes, just because.

  27. Martha

    I love the fact that your grandma told you to wear the ring to college parties to attract male suitors. She is the cutest thing. She must never know the truth.

    It is a gorgeous, gorgeous shawl and she will love it! Now, I want to knit more lace, too!

  28. April

    you are a dang GENIUS! It’s breathtaking, like awesome enough to make me try lace VERY SOON! WOW! I nearly cried when I saw it.

    Abso-dang-lutely AWESOME

  29. lulu

    Hiya! I’ve been reading for a long time and I just had to comment. This is the prettiest shawl and I think it is definitely worth every frustrated forehead cringe, documented or not.

  30. lanea

    Absolutely beautiful–both the shawl and the story about the ring and the love you and your family share. You’re making me all misty.

  31. Anna

    That is absolutely beautiful. I’ve been following this shawl from the beginning, and I’m so glad you didn’t give up on it. Your grandmother will love it. And the story about the ring…well, let’s just say I’m going to give my gram a call when I get home today and remind her how much I love her.

  32. Kim

    YAY! : ) It’s pretty… and your grandma is going to be so happy with it.. be sure to share her reaction/comments with us! (Maybe we’ll get a new catchphrase ala “Not retarded”!)

  33. corine

    often i say to myself, ‘they have so many comments already’ and don’t bother to leave yet another that says the same thing… but this time, you could reach the thousands of comments and they wouldn’t be enough to capture my esteem for your fine work. fabulous.

  34. MaryMR

    Okay, here I go: YOU’VE inspired me Ms. Grumperina! I’m starting my first lace project for the Knitting Olympics. I’m doing a wider scarf (somewhere between a scarf and stole), a rectangle, no increases, using Walker’s Open Work Leaf Pattern in Treasury vol.#1. I’m a decent knitter but I’ve never done lace before.

    Beautiful shawl and inspiring to see you stick to it and correct the pattern’s mistakes and create something exquisite.

  35. Vicki

    It is breathtaking! It is everything that good lace should be. And most certainly worth the headaches. How can you bear to give it away though?

  36. Jennifer

    Wow, that is beautiful! I’ve seen how much of your hard work went onti it and really appreciate you sharing it with us. We are opening a teeny tiny knitting shop in Barcelona and I was debating about Helen’s Laces, but you have convinced me! This yarn will be included on our first order!

  37. Gina in NH

    Oh, GOODNESS! It is the most wonderful knitted object I’ve ever seen…you must be in HEAVEN! What a gift! Even though I’m only 33, would you consider me your grandma and knit me one? Please? (beg beg)

  38. sandy

    The gorgeous ring, the absolutely stunning shawl…. the love you and your grandmother will cherish forever.

  39. Frarochvia

    To repeat lots of people, this is STUNNING. Absolutely. Stunning. I imagine it looks even more amazing in person, I hadn’t realized until the blocked pictures how the yarn was subtly variegated. I hope to have half your talent when I grow up! You are an inspiration. (And don’t stop designing patterns, mmkay? Hee!)

  40. mia

    I am the one zillionth person to say this, but I’ve followed along with this saga, and I am SO impressed with your determination to get to the end of the shawl. The result is absolutely STUNNING! Congratulations, you are an inspiration to me!

  41. Melissa

    Gorgeous, stunning, exquisite…there aren’t enough words to describe it. You did a magnificent job, and you should be so proud, after everything you went through, that it turned out so well. And now you’ve been bitten by the lace bug. The lace disease is impossible to get rid of, you know!

  42. Evelyn

    This is absolutely gorgeous! If I can guarantee such an amazing outcome, I’d start knitting that lace this very second!

  43. Becky

    This is absolutely one of the most beautiful shawls I have ever seen – the color, the pattern, everything! It was so worth the insane amoung of work you put into correcting the pattern. Gorgeous!

  44. Jennifer

    I bow down before your persistence, commitment and the breathtaking beauty of the finished product. It’s amazing. You’re amazing. You should send the designer and the company that you bought the pattern from a bill.

  45. Rita

    Congratulations, Kathy, I have never known anybody who could knit like you. The shawl is awesome, so beautiful, such a work of art, move over Michelangelo. Rita

    P.S. And all this while you are working on your PHD.

  46. Liz

    Kathy, Your persistence and attention to detail always impress me. What a beautiful finished shawl. I can’t wait to hear Grandma’s reaction.

  47. Arielle

    Long time lurker, first time commenter. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog for awhile–and I just couldn’t let this post go by without a comment.

    The shawl is incredible. Really beautiful! Congratulations. I’m sure your grandmother will adore it.

  48. Wannietta

    Oh Kathy – it’s wonderful!! Exquisite work(wo)manship and the extra calculations that you had do – your grandmother will treasure this for a long time and I’m sure that it will become a family heirloom.

  49. Karen B.

    Most of the time, I decide that my comments on how beautiful something you’ve created add nothing to the conversation. I smile and acknowledge your skill, then move on.

    It probably doesn’t this time either, except that this labor of love in periwinkle lace is draw-droppingly gorgeous! I couldn’t smile and move on this time.

  50. Katherine

    That is truly a thing of beaty. THANK YOU for posting all the photos, even they are band-sucking. Your grandma will surely know that she is loved. (If she knew how painful it was to correct all the pattern mistakes, she would really really know, but you don’t want to make her feel bad, I guess. Well, we all know.)

    BTW, I was also inspired by the beatiful pictures of the Leaf Lace shawl you knit earlier for your mother, and have ordered the pattern to one of the LYS’s here. I’d rather knit from a well-done pattern than a confusing one. Maybe after a few more lace projects…nah. I don’t roll that way. You’re one in a million the way you approach patterns.

  51. marie in florida

    “”completely clashes with my un-manicured, pudgy, short fingers and jeans-clad body””

    no honey. completly compliments your accomplished talented confident beautiful full of love hands.

    my father was watching me knit one day and said, “i never thought hands that look so much like mine could do anything as delicate as that”

    wear the ring kathy.

  52. mari

    Your shawl is a work of art – it REALLY is. It’s just amazing. And knowing the effort to took to make it just makes it that much more beautiful. Your grandmother will adore it!!!

  53. kelly

    that shawl is gorgeous. I am not a lace person. I am not a shawl person. I’m not even into purple as a color. But I would wear THAT with pride. Well done, O pioneer of knitting patterns reinvented!

  54. Cindy

    I know you think it’s weird for people to want to see pictures of your family with your handknits, but I would sure love to see your Grandma’s face when she gets that very lovely shawl. You can just see the love you share wrapped up in it. I was very touched that you passed your love gift through her love gift. You’re a very blessed young woman to appreciate the love of your family and to have them appreciate you. And I’m sure that your grandma will treasure your shawl forever.

  55. Teresa C

    I can’t wait until you give it to your grandmother. All of the love and effort shows in each and every photo. I feel priveledged to that you shared so much of it with us. Now, will you be able to give it in person, or will you have to send it? I just know there will be a little story to go along with it. πŸ™‚

  56. Emma

    Stunning,superb,fantastic and totally fab ! A really beautiful shawl. A true work of art. Well done,especially with working your way through the pattern.

  57. Sheila Mayhew

    Kathy – It is absolutely stunning!! But even more important is the beauty of the love you placed in every stitch. Your Gram will love it – I am sure.

  58. Jenn


    I know it was hard but seriously, Kathy, looking at it there’s no way it wasn’t worth it. Grandma is going to love it and cherish it forever!!!

    I looks light as a feather and just so gorgeous.

    You really outdid yourself this time.

  59. jacqueline

    both the shawl and the ring are absolutely stunning. i am in awe of your skills, especially when it comes to getting to the bottom of any problems!

    gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous

  60. anny

    Holy lace! That’s so fab. I might just have to print off all those corrections and find the actual pattern for myself.

    Great job ;0)

  61. Linda

    You don’t need another person to tell you how beautiful it is, so I’ll just tell you that using calipers to measure needles is brilliant. It’s the kind of thing that is so obvious once you find out about it, but also something I would never put together myself.

  62. Monica

    First time poster, long time lurker. Never bought Inoxes, but I notice that my German Addis have a different measurement system than US needles. It goes 2.5mm (1), 3mm (2), 3.25 (3, same as US). Congrats on all your many accomplishments (the shawl, great family, perserverance, brains, writing, pedagogical knack, I could go on…)

  63. Monica

    Oops, please ignore my last comment on needles πŸ™‚ I didn’t notice you were pointing to the skacel page under “Metal dowels” πŸ™‚

  64. Cara

    I’m so glad you’re obviously so happy with it after all you’ve been through to get it perfect. It’s a magnificent shawl and I’m sure your grandmother will feel the immense love when she’s wearing it. Congratulations!

  65. Tara

    Your grandma is going to be speechless! What a beautiful shawl!!! Ah, and hearing you talk about her makes me miss my granny. You have to let us know what she thinks of it!

  66. Laritza

    It is a beautiful shawl, congrats! Now welcome to the world of lace knitting and knitting-lace. Once you get here there is no turning back.

    I have been knitting lace for many many years and love it.

  67. meg dearden

    The shawl is absolutely beautiful. I’ve been waiting to cast on for the leaf lace shawl for a month now(I promised my huband a sweater…he’s 6’2″…)…but I think it is going to have to be today! Beautiful!

  68. Karma

    Absolutely perfect. It’s so beautiful, your grandmother will be stunned. And I love love love the beginning of your post, tying one family heirloom in with another (new) one.

  69. chris

    Your grandmother’s shawl is absolutely gorgeous!! Stunning and exquisite, it’s destined to become a family heirloom, just like your ring. Beautiful job!

  70. Carol

    There are no words to completely describe such a beautiful object and the love entwined in every stitch. Congratulations!

  71. Ginny

    Kathy, you are my idol. The lace is gorgeous, and I admire your persistence with the pattern. I was showing your website to my husband last night, and all he could say was, “Wow.”

    I never did thank you for emailing me back about Combination Knitting in December, but I am using that now and loving it. I’ve also bought all the supplies for the Odessa, once I’ve knocked out a couple of other projects on the needles.

    Congratulations and keep on knitting! You are an inspiration.

  72. Cynthia

    Oh wowowowow! That’s awesome!

    And thank you thank you thank you for your combined conversion table, you have saved my olympics project!

  73. Mary

    Even my teenage son, who barely pays attention when I knit, thought your shawl was “WOW!” Congratulations!

  74. Claire M.

    Wow. When I saw your first pics of this shawl, I thought, “Why would anyone be such a masochist? A lace knitting shawl?” I have revised my opinion; the end result is stunning and well worth your effort, especially considering it’s going to your grandmother. That shawl is going to rock her world!

  75. puppymomma

    Holy nards, thats beautiful! You do wonderful work. No matter what the eff-ups with the pattern. Your grandma is going to LOVE it. And your mother is going to want one….and so will I.

  76. alexandria

    that is ridiculously, stunning gorgeous. an unreal accomplishment. i read knit blogs all the time, yours included, and i’ve never commented on a project, however much i may have admired it. but this is a class all its own.

  77. cecilia

    Wow wow wow wow wow!! It’s stunning. I especially love the border. I’d love to know how you managed to block it so beautifully. I look forward to reading all about your grandmother’s reactions.

  78. tanti

    i can feel how deep is your love to your grandma just by looking the shawl and i am sure she can feel it too. it is very lovely. great job! πŸ™‚

  79. Laura Neal

    OOh, that is beautiful! I have to say it, your G-Ma is going to look smashing and those gentlemen up there are going to be looking at her, she will have to beat them off with a stick! πŸ˜€

  80. Vicki Meldrum

    You are truly a lace knitting goddess. I am in awe of your tenacity to knit this shawl. It speaks volumes of your love for your grandma.

    Wear the ring and let Grandma see you wear it. It will make her heart sing.

  81. Patsy

    The shawl is absolutly beautiful. Why not purchase a gold chain for G Mothers ring. It wuould be very pretty displayed that way. Patsy

  82. Muriel1826

    Hy !! i’m french !! excuse me for my english.

    Congratulation for your realisation it’s very beatiful !!!

    Good job !!!!

    Kiss. Muriel.

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