Ash of the Mountain

I read through your responses to my last post with great interest. Some suggestions were intriguing, but not my style, and others warranted an extensive surfing session, like Garnstudio and Phildar.

With all these new exciting sweater possibilities in front of me, I have finally made a decision!

I’m casting on for a shawl.

I have never, not even for a second, pretended that I’m easy to please ;). Good thing that I’m always the one making the decisions and barking the orders when it comes to my own knitting :).

And now, let us feast our eyes (click for bigger):


Let me get the basics out there so that we are all on the same page. The pattern is called When the mountainash is in flower, by Jean Sibelius, and it is from the New Style of Heirloom Knitting book.

I received this book in a swap with the charming and generous Siow Chin (Little Purl of the Orient), who in one exchange pretty much knocked my socks off with all the unique things she was able to obtain for me in Hong Kong – thank you, Siow Chin! I’ll be showing you more of the swap loot as time goes by.

I’m using Inox size 2 circulars, and although they are significantly better than Addi Stumpos, they are still not pointy enough for me ;).

The yarn is Jade Sapphire’s Lacey Lamb, a 100% lambswool 3-ply that’s approximately cobweb weight. Purchased here. Very soft, bouncy, nice to work with, gorgeous pink color, no complaints so far.

As for the pattern, I feel very confident that I won’t have to compile one of these upon completion.

Look, I’ve started! Why does that look like the biggest mess of the century? Well, I started by provisionally casting on 510 stitches. UG. One more time – UG. But just think – four fewer stitches every right side row! It will be awesome to see the shawl grow while the stitch number decreases.

This sweater will be super fab ;).


59 thoughts on “Ash of the Mountain

  1. desiknitter

    Hi! Have been following your blog after I found your “Odessa” hat pattern. This shawl is truly a lovely pattern and the colour is gorgeous! You are brave for casting on 500 plus stitches, it would drive me nuts. Look forward to seeing the shawl progress. I also recently got some pale pink laceweight and now you’ve given me an idea..

  2. Myriam

    WOW! that is an amazing shawl! i wish you the best of luck. Loved your Stego too!!

    Hope you find your sweater-i am sure in time something fabulous will just jump out and say “MAKE ME”

  3. nikki

    Ooo! I like this project. And who doesn’t like pink? Not I. Your Inox circs aren’t pointy enough? If you find something pointier than that please share. I have mainly the Addi dowels, which have suited me well except for a few times when making socks. I’m on the lookout for pointy.

  4. Sarah

    Oooh, pretty! The pattern itself looks too scary for me, but the yarn looks divine. The finished shawl will be something I’ll want to wrap myself in, especially with the incredible job I know you’ll do. Can’t wait to see the progress! (and can’t wait for the incredibly feeling of envy I know I’ll have!)

  5. Carole

    This is much more your type of “sweater” than any of the other sweaters mentionned. Your skills would be wasted on an actual sweater, I think. I know this will be fabulous!

  6. Stephanie

    When you find the perfect pointy needles, let me know. Gorgeous yarn and pattern. How many stitches did you say? My vision got a little black at the point of the post. I can’t wait to see your progress on this project.

  7. Laura

    Wow wow wow!

    That is a perfect shawl pattern. The problem I always have with lace shawls is that many are very repetative. This shawl changes patterns often without looking busy. Beautiful! (and pink!)

  8. Joanna

    Gorgeous shawl!! I’m with you on the decreasing – I’d much rather cast on a lot of stitches than have to (ugh) increase over and over again. Though it makes ripping out mistakes at the beginning much more frustrating. As for needles – do they not make Bryspuns that small? I’m using them for my first lace-with-laceweight-yarn project and I am in loooooove with the tapered tips. But I do vaguely remember seeing that the smallest they come in is size 3… if it were me I’d probably go up a needle size just to get the pointy tip. πŸ˜‰

  9. Alyson

    Um…..yikes. Not the project – it’ll be beautiful. Not the yarn – it’s lovely. Just, kinda, you know, a general “yikes”. I admire your strength – I’d look at this pattern and think, “That’s lovely. I hope someone I know makes it for me someday.”

  10. Melissa

    That shawl is gorgeous. Shawls always intimidate me, only because they look so pretty, and I dress like a frump πŸ˜‰ Maybe if I knit one, it will motivate me to wear nicer clothes.

  11. Karin

    Lovely shawl! I noticed that you are using Inox needles for lacework – I’ve heard them recommended from others too. Do they differ that much from Addi’s? Your choice of yarn is very pretty too – I wish Jade Sapphire had a Canadian distributor. Do you have a preferred method for provisional cast on? I have avoided patterns calling for it but with the wealth of great patterns using that technique it’s probably time to pull out a reference book!

  12. Beth S.

    Oh my stars… this is STUNNING!

    Would you please tell us a bit about what it’s like to work from this book? Dealing with the language barrier, and so forth? This book (and the one with the Crossed in Translation sweater–they’re different books, right?) is very tempting, but I fear that I wouldn’t be able to intuit enough from just the pictures and the charts.

  13. Martha

    That’s going to be *a lot* of fun to knit. I love how the pattern changes every few rows. There’s always something to look forward to!

  14. Valerie in San Diego

    I love Inox needles, and in my opinion, Susan Bates Quicksilvers are similar but harder and pointier. They’re pretty ubiquitous, so probably you’ve already tried them and they don’t suit, though.

  15. allison

    Triple UG on that cast-on. 510 stitches! But I do love shawls that start out with tons of stitches and end up with none! It keeps me wanting to knit on. I think that if I cast on a tiny amount of stitches and had to work up to 510 stitches, the project would be over before it even began…

    I’m looking forward to seeing the progress of this “sweater!”

  16. janna

    The shawl is gorgeous, and I agree that it’s better to start with 510 stitches then decrease, except – a provisional cast-on means you will eventually have to go back to the 510 stitches and do something with them. I guess the edging is separate. By the time I had to go back for the edging, I’d be thinking – hey, it looks fine just like this! πŸ˜‰

  17. --Deb

    Okay, so sweaters usually have sleeves, who cares? That is going to be absolutely beautiful, and isn’t that what really matters?

  18. Amanda

    Hi, I read you but have never commented… I may or may not have licked the computer screen after seeing that shawl! Yummers! I think that the 500+ stitches to start with sounds a LOT better than the 1000+ around that the other ‘capelet’ would have been. Good work. AND, it is always good to start at the wide end of a triangle shawl! Lastly, I love that the yarn you chose has a color named ‘blueblood’. Very snooty. In an ironic way. πŸ™‚ -Amanda

  19. Janice in GA

    You know what I like about that pattern? The way that that one pattern close to the bottom comes to a really sharp point, just before the end. Brilliant.

    I haven’t used them (yet!), but the Holz and Stein ebony needles get good reviews from lace knitters on other lists I’m on.

  20. Becky

    Wow that is gorgeous. Don’t think I have the stamina to try something with that many cast on stitches. I would never get the number right. hehe Can’t wait to see your version. πŸ˜€

  21. Jennifer

    What a gorgeous shawl. I never submitted a sweater idea, because frankly, I knit based on how I feel at the time. I can’t really guess what someone else might feel like knitting. You’ve definitely picked a gorgeous project!

  22. Kristy

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, so forgive me for asking if someone else has. So, I have purchased this book as well. Aren’t there some wonderful things in it? I love the ganseys and the cable sweater, and the lace is gorgeous. My question: my book is all in Japanese, is yours? If so, how do you translate? I’m having a devil of a hard time figuring it out. Any help would be so, so very much appreciated!

  23. marie in florida

    did ya mean that the addis are too short in the shank? i thought so too, specially on the larger sizes. i need my shank to at least hit the blade of the palm of my hand otherwise i’m awkward. my inox dpn are my favorites.

  24. brooke

    I think watching the number of stitches decrease is more satisfying than the other way around (as I’m currently discovering). The pink yarn is lovely.

  25. Roni

    I’ve been a lurker/admirer for a lil while. I’m not sure if someone else has mentioned or not but Boye Balene II needles are quite pointy. All sizes are readily available for lil $$ at Looking forward to seeing the FO!

  26. Michelle

    …for me? ;^)

    This shawl is a stunner. What language is the book in? I can’t wait to see this yarn! Is “cobweb” lighter than “laceweight”?

  27. hb

    i may be committing the knit-bloggers biggest faux pas (by not being gushingly positive) …. but there’s something about this shawl photo that makes me think of a grandmother’s tablecloth! : ) i’m saying this with a smile though – i’m sure that the soft, cherry-blossom colored yarn you’re choosing will be lovely! and i do trust your incredible eye for texture and shape

  28. Kate

    This is exactly what I need! A shawl pattern that decreases as you go along. I get so smug cruising along at the beginning and then the process gets slower and slower until I shove the whole thing into the cubby on my night stand and leave it there for a few weeks (the state of my current shawl project).

  29. briana

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was wondering about the Jean Sibelius – composer, knitter thing!

    The pink yarn looks so soft!

  30. Judy

    When I was knitting the Flower Basket Shawl from Hell, I eventually migrated to Bryspun circulars…their tip is pointy and a bit concave at the end. They’re also fairly cheap (compared to Addis, at least) so you don’t have to invest a fortune to try them.

  31. Carolyn

    I just cast on for a lace shawl with the same yarn, and so far, I love it! The shawl that you selected is absolutely stunning, and I’m sure you’ll do a fabulous job. How many yards does the shawl require?

  32. Marsha

    OMG……..I love the yarn! Good luck and I hope you come out at the end with your sanity!! Can’t wait to see it done.

  33. Liz

    Re: Bryspun — I just found that their circular needles only go down to a size 3. (would you be willing to re-consider gauge? These tips are *convex.* I tell ya, there’s nothing better).

  34. rene

    Yowza! That’s going to be GORGEOUS! I love that pink! It’s like cherry blossoms. I hope you had a nice refreshing beverage after casting on all those 510 stitches. πŸ˜‰

  35. Kris

    Wow, that’s amazing. Gives me the heebies and high blood pressure just thinking about it. My knitting is nowhere near a project like that but I’ve seen the shawls you’ve made in the past. I’m always floored by how beautiful they are and envious of your skill level. This new pattern seems perfect.

    Can’t wait to see the finished product. Enjoy!

  36. Brianna Flynn

    Oh, my goodness!

    That exact yarn was at a yarn shop I frequent, but in a deep red. I agonized over that little dumpling of yarn for months before deciding that I would never knit a deep red cobweb weight shawl.

    I still regret not just having it on hand. =(

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