Sunday, September 5, 2010

FO: Juneberry

As promised, here is the long-awaited Juneberry:

Pattern: Juneberry Triangle, by Jared Flood (published in St. Denis Magazine No. 2)
Yarn: 1 skein Jaggerspun Zephyr wool/silk 2/18, colorway basil (I used about 7/8 of the skein)
Needles: Size 7 addi lace circular
Finished size: 52" wide and 28.5" tall after blocking
Mods: two little ones. First, I didn't break the yarn for casting on the edging. Instead, I just cast on using the knitted cast on method and continued from there. It's a stretchier cast on than what the pattern called for (something I appreciated when it came time to block the shawl) and gave me two less ends to weave in at the end. Second, I used the sewn bind off instead of the regular bind off called for by the pattern. Again, this produces a stretchier edge and also blends in with the garter stitch a bit more.

Mods I wish I had made . . . well, if I were to knit this pattern again (and I probably will) I would use nupps a la Nancy Bush instead of the 3-stitch bobbles used here.

I think the texture given by the bobbles is really quite nifty - it's just that I am not a huge fan of actually knitting the things. They are much easier to work if you can knit backwards across the few stitches instead of turning the whole piece around to purl back across. That does save a lot of time. But honestly, I think my real problem is that I have a terrible time knitting consistent looking bobbles (and it is even harder to do so when knitting with laceweight yarn on larger needles). So next time I'll probably cheat and use nupps, which I adore.

I also think I will probably knit version 2 of this shawl in a heavier yarn. The laceweight is truly lovely, and has an almost ethereal quality to it when you hold it up. All that said, I do love the look of the heavier pieces I've seen on ravelry so I'll probably be tempted to try something similar, too.

If you've looked at Junberry on ravelry, you've probably come across some complaints about how this pattern was written. Most of the complaints seem to center on chart 2, which forms the upper section of the lace. You are given a little rectangular chart with the pattern repeat and told to add stitches as necessary as you increase at the sides and center of the shawl. Simple enough, right? The knitting is patterned on both sides and has an irregular repeat. It certainly is possible to memorize the pattern and add stitches on the fly but it is by no means easy. Honestly, this shawl would have been a much more enjoyable knit had the magazine decided to devote another page or two to this pattern and charted out the  edge sections in chart 2, not just the repeat. My advice: grab some graph paper and chart out the increases. It's a great crutch until you finally get the lace pattern memorized.

Other than that, the pattern was very readable. Of course, you also have to pay quite a bit of attention - there are no purl-only wrong-side rows to take a break. This shawl has patterning on every row and learning to read the knitting takes some getting used to. So this is probably not good tv knitting (if you want to watch what's going on, that is) but an audiobook is a great companion instead.

All in all, this was a satisfying knit. It was certainly more challenging than anything I've knit in a while and I really enjoyed the experience.

As always, thanks to J for taking some lovely pictures. I promise I'll finish those socks I started for you soon . . . 


Jonah said...

The yarn is gorgeous, and I really like this in the lace weight. I'm sure it would also be pretty in a heavier yarn, but I'm a fan of the weight you chose.

Gale said...

What a beautiful piece. Thanks for your honest appraisal of the pattern.

Brenda said...

I am not a bobble knitting fan either. Much too fiddly for me. But your shawl is lovely.

Rachel said...

Bobbles on my merion mitts were quite the pain in the butt...but since I've never done a nupp I have nothing to compare it to. One day I'll do a swallowtail and experience the nupp!

With that said...Juneberry is gorgeous. You did an incredible job and I love that it challenged you! I love your laceweight version but like you, I also gravitate toward shawls knit in a heavier yarn as well so looking forward to seeing one of those in the future!

elizabeth said...

It's absolutely gorgeous! I have yet to try a lace pattern with instructions for both sides.

I've been drawn to A Fine Fleece lately too - spent a good while last week looking over the patterns, and in the end decided to cast on for one of the few non-cabled sweaters in the book - Kearsarge. I want to spin the yarn for my next cabled sweater, if only I could find the time!