knitted: at long last (Moonshadow Stole)

this stole makes me happy! (so does the Georgia sun in winter)

this stole makes me happy! (so does the Georgia sun in winter)

So it’s really about time I showed you this, just like it was about time I finished it when I did. This baby has a very long story, and I will try to tell it succinctly.

Moonshadow Stole

Moonshadow Stole


pattern: Moonshadow Stole by Sivia Harding
yarn: Leili from Unique Sheep (a fingering weight wool/mohair)
beads: 516 pre-strung crystal megatamas from earthfaire (the pattern, yarn, and beads were purchased as a kit from earthfaire)
needles: size 3 Addi Lace
cast on: March 4th
bound off: November 1st
modifications: none needed

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This was a fun and beautiful knit, that I managed to screw up in some basic ways. There are four beaded rows (2 at the end and 2 at the beginning) and then there are beads along the edges. Per the directions, it’s best to pre-string the border beads on two separates balls and the edge beads on another, so as not to have 516 beads on one ball of yarn to work from. But I misunderstood and put all the beads on one ball, which made the first several rows unbelievably tedious until I realized my mistake. I also ended up cutting the yarn at every row the first few rows, and I can’t even fully remember why I did this (it had to do with the beads somehow – you do need to cut the yarn after the beaded rows if you are working with separate balls for the beaded rows and the other rows, but I can’t remember why I was cutting at every row). What this meant, sadly, was that I ran out of yarn on the bind-off row!

It was kind of horrifying. I had taken my time on this knit, picking up other projects here and there along the way. So when I finally bound-off, it was only 3 weeks before the wedding I was going to wear it to. I ended up doing a regular bind-off instead of my preferred bind-off for lace (a purled Russian bind-off), and the result was horrible. Even after a good blocking, the bound-off edge was significantly gathered in compared to the rest of the stole. It was unwearable. So I undid the bind-off, which took 6 hours, because I undid it backwards (something I didn’t realize until I was done). (The stole is worked horizontally, so this was 335 stitches). And then I undid the previous row so that I could bind-off early, using my usual lace bind-off. By this time, we were in the car on our way to the wedding. And I ran out of yarn again!

I briefly considered a MacGyverish solution of using tooth floss to bind-off. In the end, I came up with a solution that worked right well. I drew the remaining yarn through the live stitches and called it done.

you can see the live stitches there at the top

you can see the live stitches there at the top


It looked good for the wedding, and blocked beautifully (though hastily) in the hotel room. No one could tell the difference. Afterwards, Sivia Harding very kindly sent me some yarn to actually finish the stole in the right way! Sivia is not only a wonderful designer (I would highly recommend her patterns, especially to those who might be afraid to try lace – her patterns are very clear, and she is always happy to answer questions along the way), but she is also a kind and generous soul.

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verdict: Beading headaches and bind-off crisis notwithstanding, this was a very enjoyable knit with a perfectly lovely result. My love of lace was only deepened, as was my love of beads. I have even decided that I enjoy the blocking process – it is so amazing to see lace come off the wires, transformed. I love the look of it, I love the feel of it, I love wearing it, and I especially love making it.

Moonshadow, in the sun

Moonshadow, in the sun

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17 thoughts on “knitted: at long last (Moonshadow Stole)

  1. Wow, what a gorgeous knit. And these pictures are fabulous. You look so sassy and happy with it! I’ve been seeing rectangular stoles lately a lot and it’s really making me want to knit one!

  2. Very lovely. It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed the photoshoot!

    I agree that lace is mesmerizing. I’ve only done a few pieces, but watching the pattern emerge while blocking amazes me. The only thing that took me away from lace knitting was sock knitting.

  3. What a story! and what a lovely stole! It is gorgeous. I would love to have one like it. Now I want to learn the purled Russian bind-off, which I had never heard of. Where did you learn it? I have not found a satisfactory bind-off for lace.

    Congratulations on the success of this beautiful project, as well as your perseverance.

  4. this is absolutely gorgeous! it looks so lovely on you and i am so touched by the story of silvia harding sending you the yarn to finish! congratulations on this beautiful project! xo

  5. Wow, what a story – and what a beautiful ending!! How wonderful that Sivia herself sent you the yarn to finish it. Perfect. It is a gorgeous piece of knitting – congratulations for fighting it through (I’m sure I would have thrown in the towel after half of those obstacles) – you are a fighter! šŸ™‚

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