Tag Archives: Halligarth

A long time coming

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It only took 2.5 years, but Halligarth is finished!

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Pattern: Halligarth, by Gudrun Johnston • Yarn: GBF Hennessy Lace in “Bala Cranberry”

I have loved this shawl since it was published, ordered yarn for it almost immediately, and cast on for it in June 2014. I can’t remember how far I got, but at some point that summer I put it down without any notes, in the middle of a repeat. When I picked it up again in the winter of 2015 (I think), it took me a while to get back in to the groove with the pattern and, after working a couple of repeats, I put it down again.

In the years that this has languished unfinished in my WIP basket, I wished many times that my past self had been more disciplined about buckling down and finishing it. Without being too glitzy, Halligarth is an excellent fancy-occasion shawl, and we have been to weddings and parties where having it as a wrap would have been ideal. But, apparently, not so ideal that I was actually inspired to pull it out again.

Until now. The week after Christmas — the day, in fact, that I cast on for Oda — I decided to see where I was with Halligarth. It turned out I was in a pretty good place. The last time I knit on it, I did myself the service of finishing the repeat, so starting back in was pretty straightforward, and then it turned out that the lace pattern was much, much more intuitive than I had remembered (my skills have improved a lot since I started it, I suppose).

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After blocking, it measures about 75 inches across and 35 down the centre spine. 

Halligarth is written for two sizes, and when I hit the point where I would start the edging for the smaller size, I weighed my yarn to see how things were looking. Back in 2014, I decided to knit this in laceweight, and bought a gorgeous skein of BLF laceweight from the then-newly opened Georgian Bay Fibre Co. They no longer sell laceweight, though, so I knew I had no way to get more yarn if I ran out. Still, when I hit the small-size stitch count, I had 51 g left. I wanted a big shawl, and it seemed like I’d have enough to knit the big size, so I added a lifeline and kept going.

I won’t lie, I came close to putting it down again. The last few repeats are looooong. And, in laceweight, it takes a while to really see progress. For a while, I really thought I might never finish (or that my yardage would fall short), but I made it with 7 g to spare.

And you know what, it was totally worth it. I love this shawl. It is incredibly light (less than 100 g), nice and big, and elegant without being too fancy to wear with jeans if I want to. And that colour… The yarn in general is an absolute delight and if it were still available, I would definitely buy more. As it is, I am considering order a sweater’s worth of one of the heavier bases before the shop goes wholesale-only. BFL is such a lovely fibre to work with and wear, and it’s hard to come by.

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Anyway. I think it’s hilarious that the first thing I finished this year was started in 2014, but I also think it bodes well. If this is a year about action, what better way to kick it off than by finally finishing the shawl I’ve been wishing was in my closet for years?

Halligarth progress

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One of the funny things about blogging is that when everything is going well there isn’t much to say! I don’t really have much to say about Halligarth besides that it’s an entirely enjoyable and engaging knit. I’m about halfway through the tree section and, unstretched, it’s measuring about 24 inches (or, the length of the needle I’m working on), which suggest that with the edging and a good blocking it will be a nice big shawl.

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I always worry about the finished size as I knit because I really prefer large shawls. I bike pretty much everywhere when the weather is good, and if a shawl is too small it won’t stay on (my bike requires me to lean down). My Shaelyn is the perfect size and I have been wearing it a lot, so I’d love for this one to be similarly large. It might not end up quite that big, but I think the lighter weight will help it stay put. That’s actually one of the reasons I chose to knit it in laceweight instead of fingering weight, and I really love the way it’s turning out. This yarn is so lovely to work with, and the colour is exactly what I wanted.

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Basically, it’s a boring knit in the best way possible: It’s exactly what I want, and (so far anyway) it’s knitting up just fine!

On my needles

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I’ve been on a bit of a sock jag and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. As I was finishing my Daphnes I started to flip through my stash (first in my head and then actually in the bin) to decide what to cast on next. Part of my plan for this year’s knitting was to knit more plain, everyday socks, so with that in mind I pulled out this self-striping yarn that I picked up well over a year ago.

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This is Turtlepurl Yarns Striped Turtle Toes in Gatineau Fall, a hand-dyed self-striping yarn that comes pre-split into two matching skeins. The idea is that the skeins are dyed together, so assuming you start both at the same end, you should end up with perfectly matching socks. In this case, some of the stripes are variegated, so the socks won’t be a perfect match, but the stripes should line up otherwise.

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I thought the variegation would annoy me, since perfectly-matched striped socks are kind of fun, but I’m actually really enjoying the way the colours are playing out. I’m actually deeply impressed by the idea of dyeing a variegated-yet-striping colourway, and the colours are so perfectly fall that these socks just look like a hike through the woods on a fall day.

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All the plain stockinette combined with just-one-more-stripe syndrome is making these a quick knit and I’m hoping to finish them up by the end of the month. Summer is the perfect time to knit socks, and it’s maybe the one time of year plain stockinette socks become my primary knit, instead of something a pick up here and there.

Of course, I do have a background knit, and just for some balance, it’s a laceweight lace shawl. I cast on for Halligarth. After knitting Flukra I knew I’d be knitting more of Gudrun Johnson’s patterns, and when I saw the latest BT Wool People, it was pretty easy to choose which of her patterns would be next. I love the way each section of the tree-patterned lace nests into the ones before and after it, and shawls see a lot of wear around here.

Un-stretched, each diamond measures about 3 inches across.

Un-stretched, each diamond measures about 3 inches across.

The pattern is written for fingering weight yarn, but I decided to spice things up a bit and go with laceweight. This a BFL laceweight hand-dyed north of Toronto by Georgian Bay Fibre Co., who I found through a Ravelry ad (seriously, the first time I’ve ever clicked one of those). I love BFL yarn, but before I went crazy and bought one of everything I decided to commit to one project. There seems to be an inconsistency between how much yarn people need for this shawl and the yardage listed on the pattern page, so I’m playing it safe with a big skein. I’m planning to knit the smaller size and then weigh the skein and see how I’m doing. If I can eke out the larger shawl I definitely will.