Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Guanaco Capelet (minus the Guanaco)


Guanaco Capelet by Helen Hamann

  • Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb 100% extrafine lambswool (825 yards / 60 g per ball), ~0.62 balls, color "Oyster" #601

  • US 5 (3.75 mm) Knitpicks Options Circular Needles

I usually knit quite loosely (in comparison with project gauge/needle combinations), however, I'm noticing a different trend with lace weight yarn and lace shawls - namely, I seem to knit lace more tightly than expected.

The Guanaco Capelet pattern suggests a US 9 (5.5 mm) needle, but I chose a US 5 (without swatching), because I usually have to go down to a US 4 to get something resembling the proper gauge when a pattern (for worsted weight yarn) suggests US 8's. Evidently this personal "rule of thumb" is not transferrable to knitting with very fine yarns. I know I should be swatching, but I generally figure that size isn't that crucial for a shawl or scarf.

Before blocking, my Guanaco Capelet looked tiny.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


Note that it appears to be about the right size for my 8.5 lb. cat to wear (it was about 27 inches wide and only 10 inches deep at the center back).

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I was terrified (e.g. that I had just put a lot of effort into making a hanky too holey to blow your nose on - or a very fancy cat afghan that would be shredded by eager claws in short order).


Very luckily, blocking made it big enough (about 42 inches wide by 17 inches deep at the center back - I forgot to put the measuring tape in the post-blocking photo, but you get the idea) for me (and my 14 lb. cat) to wear comfortably.

Here are some shots of Bug looking deceptively docile, as usual:


At this size, the capelet is only long enough to cover my upper arms (it hits approximately mid-bicep at the sides and is several inches longer in front), however, it looks very nice worn as a scarf, so I'll probably mostly wear it that way. Worn as a capelet, I think elbow length (which I think the original was) would be optimal.

I first saw the pattern in the Windy Valley Muskox booth at Rhinebeck two years ago. They had one knit up, and I thought it was lovely, but, apparently, so did everyone else, because they had run out of copies of the pattern. After a bit of research I learned that I could purchase it from the Windy Valley Muskox website, however, I thought they were charging a bit much for shipping, so I decided to wait and see if I could find it in person later. Happily, Windy Valley Muskox was a vendor at Stitches West this year, and this time, they had the pattern in stock :)

The only real complaint I have about the pattern is that it uses quite a bit more paper than I think it needs to (9 pages, single sided, with a much larger than necessary font size). Other than that, this was my first time working an edging like this, so I found that I wasn't always sure I'd picked up stitches in the right spots, etc., but I don't think that was a failing of the pattern.

Two lovely stitch patterns make up the body of the shawl:


...and then there's the edging:


I think the combination is really beautiful.


Partly because I knit it on the small side, and partly due to the light and springy nature of the Lacey Lamb yarn...


...my capelet seems to weigh little more than a breath of air. The original was knit in Windy Valley Muskox's gorgeous - but much too expensive for my budget - guanaco/merino/silk blend yarn in "natural," a silvery, heathery fawn tone. I think the Lacey Lamb makes a nice substitute.


Amanda Whitmire said...

Wow - gorgeous! $13.20 (with shipping) is a bit much for a pattern, but this is a beautiful capelet. To be honest though, I like the idea of the kerchief/scarf option. The scarf would see more action around here than a capelet, for sure. Thanks for sharing!

Rima said...

Gee. This is so very beautiful! Incredible. I dont know how people have the patience to knit lace. It is lovely.

littlebirdbigcity said...

wow! beautiful!

SJ said...

This is lovely. You can tell just from looking at it how light and airy it must be!

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful!

Laura said...

Gorgeous! I have had some Lacey Lamb in my stash forever - this might be what I end up doing with it. Thanks for the inspiration!

Ella said...

I love the stitch details - my lace never comes out quite so even. I also noticed... so soft and airy and light, and in shape... it looks like a pair of wings! When you wear it do you feel like an angel? :D

Laiane said...

Well done! I love that center leafy panel. I will say that blocking lace is one of the most amazing things I've discovered with knitting. Something that starts out looking like ramen noodles just blossoms into a lovely bit of lace.

jane said...

Simply stunning. And the cats are adorable models, as always!

Beth said...

As always, I'm awestruck.

And during my visits, I'm really trying to get people to go and tell their friends:
Hey, did you have become an e-mail subscriber to wwww.thriftybif.com? It would really be a great thing.

Oiyi said...

All that beautiful Lace Work! Brava! I am glad that it blocked out to a regular size. The drape on it looks great.

trista said...

This is a treasure. It has me wanting the pattern! One of the most amazing transformations from pre to post blocked ever!

Linda said...

Its beautiful. The colour you chose is perfect and as a scarf will look so nice. Bug looks good in it too!

Lauralness said...

That is Gorgeous!!
Congratulations on your finish!

soknitpicky said...

Absolutely gorgeous! And you chose a great sub yarn. Anyway, I think the word "guanaco" is too evocative of bird poop to be something I want in my yarn, LOL!

missalicefaye said...

ooh--lovely! and very well modeled, too. :)

Disentangled said...

lovely! I have some deep red lacy lamb that is waiting for just the right project. Beautiful yarn for a beautiful project!

Anonymous said...

It's gorgeous!

Rachel said...

Simply gorgeous! I love the look in grey!

wendy g said...

The Capelet is beautiful and I know how much work went into it.
So glad that you will get to wear it and not Bug.