Sometimes halfway is enough

The current state of the Shetland Triangle is blob:

While it’s still perfectly comfortable to knit the blob on a 24″ long circular, all the stitches are smooshed together, entirely concealing the blob‘s true size.

What’s a grumpy girl to do?

Simple: take the blob off the needles and onto a length of yarn, and dry-block it!

Better yet, considering the symmetry of the shawl, dry-blocking only half of it works just fine:

Mmm hmm, measure here and there. Verdict: after 9 repeats of the main chart (I finally counted), it is 37″ across and 19″ deep.

Measuring is easy. Deciding what I want the final dimensions to be is much more tricky. I don’t want it to be anywhere near as large as my mom’s shawl (29.5″ deep and 64″ across). But the current size, 37″, seems downright petite. So I did some scientific experiments.

Before you scrunch up your nose and roll your eyes, let me say that there’s nothing wrong with the generally practiced methods of “knitting until it seems the right size” and “knitting until you run out of yarn.” But considering I want this triangle to work with a close-fitting jacket, I’m aiming for a very precise size: as small as possible without looking dinky, if you know what I mean.

So, I first draped the measuring tape around my neck and stood in front of the mirror – where do I want the ends to dangle? Something like 48″ seemed right to me. Second, I whipped out my most favorite silk scarf, and measured it – 52″ across. Okay, kiddies, I’m shooting for 50″-ish.

While dry-blocking, I also measured the size of each fir cone – about 1 5/8″ wide. Since two fir cones are added with each iteration of the chart, the shawl will widen by about 3.25″ each time a repeat is worked. The math is simple:

(desired 50″) – (current 37″) = 13″

(13″ to still knit) / (3.25″/repeat) = 4 more repeats to work.

Whether it will be 3 body repeats and 1 edging repeat OR 4 body repeats and 1 edging repeat I don’t know yet. I may need to take the blob off the needles one more time to decide.

Blob, you’ll be a scarf soon.


Just checkin’ – will I see many of you talented Boston knitters at the 2006 Boston Knit-Out & Crochet Too? If I recognize you, I will say “hi,” so I think you should do the same :).


31 thoughts on “Sometimes halfway is enough

  1. Jayme

    I don’t quite understand how you got the 3.25″ number. wouldn’t you just take the existing 37″ /existing 9 repeats and get about 4.1″/repeat? which would mean 3 or 4 repeats left to do?

    hmm…I must be missing something…

  2. Courtney

    The “blob” looks great! It is always amazing to me just how big shawls get once blocked. They always look so small, but they just grow and grow…it gives me hope for my poor, shrunken shawl. πŸ™‚

  3. omly

    I love the fact that you think with back of the envelope calculations. In fact I totally do it myself.


    PS. I will be at the Knit-out too.

  4. Alison

    Lovely shawl! Sadly I will miss the knit out but several of the ladies from my stitch n bitch are going. Say hello to my friend Peta if you spot the Yarn Safaris booth and keep an eye out for a small pack of roving librarian knitters. πŸ™‚

  5. Brenda

    Lovely blob! I do scientific experiments with my knitting like that too. I am also a scientist, but I thought everybody did that kind of math. I guess I’m a bigger geek than I thought. I love the color you chose.

  6. Emily

    I’ll be there! I’m one of the volunteers teaching knitting, and then I’ll probably hang out for the rest of it because school started and I haven’t knit a single stitch in days and the knit out is probably just what I need to get going again.

  7. Jeff

    I’ll be there! I’ll probably recognize you from your photos and say hi if that’s ok. Knowing me I’ll be a groupie hanging out by the Woolcott people.

  8. Gloria

    The shawl looks great!

    I won’t be able to hit the Knit Out this year, because I’ve got a Rosh Hashana event. But I wish I could be there!

  9. Susan

    Thanks for that! I’m on the 9th repeat of my Flower Basket Shawl–another design by Evelyn Clark. My ‘baskets’ measure about 2″, so I can, with a quick conversion (about 25% larger than your fir cones), determine the proper size of my shawl. One more repeat for me before the edging, maybe?

  10. Jomy

    Well, I must say that your oh-so-scientific-mathematical way of going about your knitting is very refreshing.

    I’d like to think that I can use mathiness and scienciness to make my knitting great, not just craftiness…

    So.. kudos to Kathy!

  11. Joanna

    I’ll be at the knit out bright and early, at 8:30am – uh, someone want to remind me again why I volunteered to set up? πŸ˜› Anyway I look forward to seeing you and the blob there!

  12. maritza

    The shawl is shaping up quite nicely!

    Wouldn’t it figure that I would miss my first Boston Knit Out because I have to go back to NY. (And I missed NY’s Knit Out because I’m in the Boston area.) I need to get my timing right. πŸ˜‰

  13. Monica

    Jayme, I’m guessing there was a setup chart that added some width before the 9 repeats. Looks like there are 10 leaves on the spine, at least. It’ll be beautiful!

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