Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tree of Life Prayer Shawl

In the beginning, there was this great cable pattern on a sweater in the "free patterns" section of And I loved it, and tucked it away in my heart (and my pattern notebook) where it could wait for the right opportunity.

Then, there were Bob and Glenda. Or there was "Bob and Glenda," the pair. Technically they came before the cable pattern, I guess, since it will be their 50th anniversary this spring. But I knew about the "Tree of Life" cable before I new about the 50th anniversary, and it's my blog, so there.

Anyway, Bob and Glenda are having an anniversary service at church, and I'm kind of enthusiastic about the whole prayer shawl thing, and I had this great Tree of Life pattern in the back of my head, looking for a chance to try it out. So I thought, why not put it in the center of a really large prayer shawl, and have the Ames kids wrap it around their folks as part of the 50th anniversary service?
The cable tree pattern looks to be maybe 10" square on the sweater, and I have secured some nice soft bouncy wool that is slightly heavier than the Woolease cited in the sweater pattern. So if I'm lucky, maybe 11" square. Not big enough for a shawl. But if I surround it with lace and let the trees be the centerpiece, I'll bet I can grow the project enough to be the right size.
I went looking for the right lace to put around the trees, and had a rough idea that it should be something fairly substantial that had a more or less arboreal feel to it. I googled "leaf lace" and came up with this sock pattern (free!) in something called, of all things, leaf lace. You can see the pattern here: I have no idea who this woman is, but her blog just became required reading for me.
I was going to leave it at that (get it? "leave" and "leaf lace"?), but I like the idea of some kind of finishing touch out the outside edges, and I really liked the way the Twin Leaf lace cloth (smariek knits, see earlier post for details) looks.
So I think my plan is to:
(1) Knit the tree panel and bind off. (I just read that part of the Harlot's Knitting Rules! book where she talks about adding structural integrity with bind-offs, even if you don't think you really need them.)
(2) Pick up stitches and knit leaf lace above and below the tree panel until it seems the right height - maybe 36" or so.
(3) Pick up stitches and knit leaf lace spreading outward from each side of tree panel until the width starts to look close.
(4) Make two strips of twin leaf lace and get my buddy Tammy to crochet them neatly along the edges.
All this assumes I'm really as comfortable as I hope I am with picking up all those stitches. My baby-sweater-generated new found confidence on this may fail me, in which case I'll make all of those pieces separately, and then show up with them at Tammy's door looking hopeful.
Oh, and my very good friend at Hilton's Fiber Shop set me up with some very nice pale yellow wool. She's got 8 skeins in stock at 99 yards each, and the label suggests a size 9 needle. I'm not sure that's enough, but I'm going to do the tree panel with the 4 skeins I bought and see how far they go. She's also ordering in some not-quite-the-same-but-close wool in a vanilla and soft yellow ombre, and I may use that for the lace while I do the trees and twin leaf sections in solid pale gold.
I'm hoping that I have at least a large enough chunk of this done by next weekend to use it as show and tell for the retreat. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Mary said...

Oooo, those socks are gorgeous, maybe I'll make that blog required reading for me too :)