Apr 23, 2009

Bird of Paradise Shawl

I am in love with lace. No, not the wearing of it. Rather the making the seemingly intricate stitches common to vintage lace shawls and scarves. It was with a bit of trepidation that I started what turned into my first full-sized lace anything! Dubbed my Bird of Paradise shawl, it is a celebration of the colorway and feather display that seems to be taken directly from these tropical birds.
The 64" wing span balances the 32" neck to tail feather body of the shawl. The narrower drape around the shoulders enable easier mobility when trying to chase a child or working at a computer all day. The cotton shawl can comfortably be worn throughout the year.

I started this project simply to make use of 440 yards of cotton yarn that just called out to me from the shelf of my local yarn store. I chose the Paradise Stitch pattern (page 61 of the old Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches and Techniques) is very simple -- the rows of *3dc,ch3,3dc cluster stitch alternating with rows of *ch2, 3dc* repeats), which is reminiscent of the antenna-like head feathers of some male Birds of Paradise. Go here for pictures and more pictures of Birds of Paradise. This video shows these interesting birds in action.

Despite my earlier posts about Araucania Lonco Multy, I love this cotton yarn. It is smooth without being tightly wound, producing a drape that is wonderful, particularly with a 4mm (G) Hook. It was easy to work, with only an occasional splitting of the strand. For a cotton yarn, it took blocking well. But because of the lace, the fabric is so light that I don't anticipate it falling out of shape like most cotton garments.

The shawl is done and has flown the coop. It has been sent on to my swap buddy in Iowa. I hope she enjoys it.
I will be posting the pattern soon. Now on to another lace shawl.