Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Birch Reviewed

I love Birch. It is the prettiest thing and I love looking at it as you can probably see by the number of photos I posted. I'll tell you what I learned along the way.

Mason-Dixon created a Top Ten Things to Remember When Knitting Birch which you might want to review if you're planning on knitting it up (you really should). I don't agree with all their suggestions, but here's what I learned:

1. The 299 stitch cast on was not a problem. It took me about an hour and I just took my time and placed markers every 10 stitches.

2. There are actually two versions of Birch. A stockinette and a garter version. I went with the stockinette because I like a right side and a wrong side. It's difficult to even find a garter version online, but I imagine that the lace work would appear looser.

3. I wrote out the 4 row pattern (not including purl rows) on a sticky note to carry around with me. You don't need a chart. It's a very simple pattern that you'll have memorized pretty quickly, but if you'd like one, here you go: Birch Chart.

4. I kept those stitch markers on the whole way. I wasn't taking any chances and it paid off. The only thing I would suggest is to use moveable markers because after you finish a repeat they'll always be off and you'll be shifting them one stitch to the left. Don't panic when this happens!

5. I followed the pattern, using 3 skeins of Kidsilk Haze and 5.0 mm needles. I found many people were buying extra yarn or going down in needle size because of probably running out. I was paranoid the whole way through, even though I did some quick math, but I was left with about a thumb sized bit left (see above)

6. Blocking it was hard work. It's a HUGE shawl. The top of my shawl measured about 7 feet wide, so you're going to need a lots of space to do this. I used my back deck. Check it out.

7. I'd knit this again, but who has the time!


Martina said...

Birch turned out stunning! I like the way you used in your new banner!

koko puff said...

Thanks for the tips since you have now inspired me to knit it (lend me the pattern?).

It looks fabulous. Should I ever actually knit it (I did finish my Lace Wings Shawls...99.5% - ran out while binding off so am just debating what to do now), I may need to borrow your deck to block it ha ha!

Laura said...

I love Birch - it's definitely on my to-knit list!