And so the days are filled...

27 December 2006

A long piece of work

Whenever I visit the Fabulous Knitabulous' blog, I like to ponder the Baudelaire quote she uses in her banner:
"There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start."

That may be all well and good, but I reckon old Baudelaire never made himself a Lady Eleanor Stole. Let me tell you, it is a l-o-o-o-o-n-g piece o' work, especially once it's been started.
looking over the Lady Eleanor precipice
First, how about some stats. You want length? You got length. Two and a half metres of length. (That's just over 8 feet in olde-speake). You want duration? This took a mere 14 months of my life. People have had babies, gotten university degrees, grown a tree from a seedling in this length of time! It's a heck of a lot of entrelac - 604 squares and 62 triangles, as a matter of fact. 58 centimeters wide. Although the pattern calls for 35 'tiers' to be knitted, I just worked till I ran out of yarn - 47 whopping tiers. (Despite perfect gauge and using exactly the 15 skeins called for in the pattern (with EXACTLY 1.57 metres of yarn left over) Go figure.)
Prior to embarking on the voyage of HMAS Lady Eleanor, I pondered the propensity of Lady Eleanor FOs to be photographed on clotheslines. Now I know why. It is impossible to photograph the whole thing. And yes, it appears Lady Eleanor's rightful place is on the laundry line.
I don't blame you for not recalling that the yarn for this project was a birthday gift from my mum - La Lana Wools Forever Random Blends. I would like to say it's divine. It's not. It is scratchy as. 60% Romney wool. For a gal more familiar with Australia's own merino, this romney is a bit of a rude and scratchy shock. Mixing it with 40% mohair does little to tone down the scratch. Lots of people have substituted Noro Silk Garden for this pattern. There are similarities - including the preponderance of vegetal matter one encounters spun into the fibres.
Despite scratchiness, the yarn contains beautiful lustrous colours, all dyed using natural products. Unlike the Silk Garden Lady Eleanors, which usually result in individual entrelac squares of distinctly different shades, the La Lana Lady Eleanor contains a clear predominance of one colour, in this case green, with some truly random other colours occuring at completely random points in the skein. No two skeins were the same when I made this. I actually quite like the overall colour effect.

The above two factors - scratchy but nice colours - led Fiver (ever the clever thinker) to conclude early on that this stole would be destined to be a wall hanging. He was quite taken with the entrelac. (Don't tell him, I think he thinks it's an awfully difficult technique. It is in actual fact quite straightforward.) Once I finished the thing and tried it on, I had to agree. Although I held out some hope right to the end that this might actually function as a garment once it was finished, a quick try-on demonstrated conclusively that
a) it is a completely unwieldy size and shape for a stole,
b) it is way too hot for any kind of weather we might encounter in the antipodes, and
c) the only place I could possibly get away with this fashion is on the set of Braveheart II.

Now please don't be offended if you've made a Lady Eleanor and you wear it everywhere. To each her own! It's just not going to work on me. So to the wall it will go.
The back is almost as interesting as the front
So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Lady Eleanor Stole. Let me know if you are interested in seeing how Fiver manages to get it hanging up on the wall, because I sure am!