Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Putting the Ostrich to Bed

I should probably apologize for the rather preposterous subject heading, but when the phrase suddenly popped into my head (unbidden), it seemed so delightfully absurd and frivolous that I simply couldn't resist...

At any rate, what it means is that I have finally finished my Parisian Ostrich!! Remember that this is a beaded rendition of Anne Hanson's lovely Ostrich Plumes stole design in a special hand-painted yarn from the Yarnmarket Impressionist Collection.

After blocking (see image at left and click for a larger view), the piece measures 60" long x 19" wide. That is a foot shorter than the original pattern specs (~72"), even with the two extra pattern repeats that I completed (11 vs. 9). My gauge was accurate. I believe that the discrepancy can be accounted for by the fact that all the beads were slip-stitched rather than knitted before or after. I could probably have stretched the shawl further, but I wanted to preserve some of the softness and give in the fabric, so I applied only as much tension in the blocking as was necessary to bring out the lace pattern, and no more. I also wanted there to be curves rather than points along the edges, as per the designer's instructions, so I did not pull it as tightly as I might have done.

Here is the usual photo gallery of the finished object. As always, click on any of these images to take a closer look...

I am extremely pleased with the end result. It drapes beautifully, and can really be worn as either a scarf or a stole. The 100% merino wool (Twisted Sisters Impressionist Zazu) is buttery soft and feels wonderfully warm and cozy around the neck or shoulders. The colors look especially delicate in the airier fabric now that the piece has been blocked, and the beads really are a *perfect* match with their pale green sparkling crystal. The 6/0 rounds with the AB finish (visible along the sides and in the vertical rows throughout the shawl) are currently still available, but Earthfaire has sold out of the long magatamas that I used for the edging, although Ellen was kind enough to send me a few dozen extras when I realized that I was going to run a bit short. It was a genuine God-send. :-)

I posted a photo on the Anne Hanson forum on Ravelry and received some wonderful compliments. The best moment came when Deborah (the lady from YarnMarket) spotted my work. She was happy to see what I had done with one of their exclusive yarns, and promised to pass the news along to the Twisted Sisters as well. Quite a delightful exchange of emails ensued, and I have been promised some coverage in an upcoming entry in Deborah's blog. Hooray for Ravelry (as always)!!

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