I finished the edging for Irtfa’a last night. I really like the fact that there is no bind-off in this project. A couple inches of grafting, weaving in of seams, and she’s done. That has yet to sink in…Irtfa’a is done.

This has been a really fun project, and, unlike most big projects, never hit the dragging along stage where you have to make yourself keep going. I think that’s saying a lot for the design, considering how much knitting with small yarn and needles there is in this project (small for a sweater knitter, anyway). This was one of those situations where I knew I was throwing myself in a little over my head, having never really done any sizeable (or complicated) lace knitting before. I try to do this on a fairly regular basis; I’ve found that biting off a little more than you think you can chew is a great way to surprise yourself. It’s not always a good surprise, but it’s usually worthwhile, and there’s a lot to be learned along the way, whether it’s to success or failure.

In this case, I would say that the path was definitely to success. The pattern was clear, the charts were good, and the project itself was just really fun. I don’t know if I’d cast on again for it tomorrow, but I might cast on for a different lace project tomorrow. Not like I have the yarn and pattern sitting by my knitting chair or anything…

Irtfa’a took her first bath this afternoon, and is stretching out in all her glory as I type. I would have started the blocking last night, but I didn’t have any t-pins, and I decided that they would be a must for this project, given that my cats like to “help” with (i.e. lay in the middle of) a blocking piece. Actually, they were very good today…they must have detected the danger that they’d be in if they messed up this blocking project. They took naps in the sun instead. All in all, I used about 150 t-pins, which was fewer than I had originally expected, and only possible due to some very fancy blocking wires.

Here are some close-ups of the different stitch patterns.

The small feathers

The back panel

The quill and feather section

The quill edging

The picot edge

Drying in the sun (and still the cats resisted…I tell you, they were so good today!)

Wingtips (I love the way the corners flare)

And, of course, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Yup, those are knitting needles standing in for blocking wires. I haven’t gotten a set of blocking wires yet, but I decided that I really didn’t want to pin each one of those picots individually. And then I realized that I have a whole bag full of circular needles, that have great cables on them. I’m not sure I’ll bother with blocking wires in the future; the needles work really well, and I already have them.

I was saying to Branden last night that Irtfa’a was a little smaller than I’d expected (she was about a foot and a half from shoulder to edge, I think). I wasn’t worried about it, but it was shorter than I thought she’d be. And then we got to the blocking. I laid her out once and started pinning. Then I needed to stretch some more. And some more. And some more. The blocking board in the picture above? Yeah, that’s a twin-sized day bed. Irtfa’a is no longer smaller than I’d expected. I’ve heard that lace stretches a lot, but wow. Her “wingspan” is literally from one end of the bed to the other, which makes it more than 6 feet. Amazing what a soak and stretch will do for you.

And, I even have some yarn left over. Branden keeps asking what I’m going to do with it, but as of now, I have no idea. There’s a pretty decent amount left, though: