Last night I was showing off the Peacock Feathers shawl to Ken, and I was holding it up and spreading it out and doing all of those things that you do when you’re knitting lace to try and convince other people that it is actually going to be really cool once you’re finished and it’s blocked, and I held it up along the line down the centre of it… stretching it out along that line, and Ken asked how much more I had to go.
“Well” I said, “there are 250 rows total, plus a crochet chain cast off, and I’m on row….(here I checked the chart and heaved a sigh that I hope conveyed how much more there is to go) row 171” and as I said that, I realized something. I was holding out that centre line a really good distance. Like… maybe 70cm, which is a pretty good distance for a shawl, except that I had half as much length again to knit – which would have this shawl coming in at a whopping 100cm, (that’s a metre) or maybe even more, since a gentle stretch between my hands isn’t the same as a proper blocking.
A shawl more than a metre long? For reference, I’m only about 150cm tall, and a good 25cm (at least) of that is my head and neck (over which I do not traditionally place a shawl) … so this shawl is going to be really big on me. Super big. When something is turning out bigger than I thought it would, my first thought always turns to my old enemy… Gauge. (I capitalize it here to show it the respect it deserves.) I have a tendency to knit a little loosely, so I checked my Gauge. (I do not want to hear a word from anyone suggesting that I might have considered checking it before I started knitting. Knitters in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.) Gauge was fine. Gauge was perfect actually. Spot on. I was totally stumped. Why on earth was it coming out so big?
I don’t want to talk about how long was before it occurred to me that maybe this was the intended size, and I should check the measurements on the pattern (which I was sure I had done – but I didn’t remember reading that this was a big shawl…so maybe I didn’t.) I fetched the pattern from the living room, brought it into the kitchen and was about to read out to Ken that the shawl wasn’t really that big- that it was 88″ from tip to tip along the top, and 43″ down that centre line… when I realized what had gone wrong.
I have no idea how big that is. I had read 88″ and thought… well. I don’t know what I thought. I guess I didn’t think. I read the measurements aloud to Ken and he gave me the same glazed look. We opened conversion software on my laptop, and entered 43 inches, and pushed the button to convert it to centimetres. 110cm. This shawl was only 40cm (15″) shorter than my height. We punched in 88 inches to find out the wingspan, and I exhaled in whoosh. 223 cm. (Almost 7 and a half feet.) 223 cm. How about that. The imperial measurements (which turn out to be really accurate) didn’t even register on my brain as information.
Turns out I’m knitting a big shawl. A shawl that after blocking, may drag on the ground like a train behind me. Now I know why it’s taking so long. Maybe it’s not a shawl. Maybe it’s…. A car cover, or a para-sail. Yeah. Maybe I’m knitting a shawl for the pick-up truck.
Arrgh. Maybe I could felt it.