Soap making has finished finally. Over a thousand bars of soap are curing in the studio. People often ask me what I like about making soap – “it’s a mixture of chemistry and cooking” I tell them. Waiting is also a big part of making soap. Waiting patiently for six weeks after cutting the bars until they are ready to take to market, craft fairs, and music festivals is just part of the process.
While the soap is curing it’s time for us to make the other products that we sell, like the smooth and silky Lavender Shea Butter, and the creamy Lavender Lips. Yesterday I finished defoliating the dried bundles so we’ll have a few smudges and logs to sell as well. The buds that I took off the stems will be used in bath salts, eye pillows, and next year’s soap. Yep, we’re planning that far ahead – next year’s soap. But for now, the drying racks in the studio are overflowing.
The Blue Silk Aeolian is nearly mid-way! Making a shawl of this size using one-of-a-kind yarn is all about the math. My very first lace project several years ago was a disaster that taught me a great deal about math when you’re working with a limited amount of “special” yarn. That first project, The Icarus Shawl, has since been frogged and the yarn re-skeined and awaiting it’s next reincarnation. When you cut out charts and repeats and still run out of yarn during the bind off it’s a brutal lesson.
I knitted the Icarus before Ravelry. Having Ravelry as a resource for pattern information has really expanded my knitting skills. There are several groups knitting the Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman. And while I’ve already finished one small Aeolian it helps to know how many yards and grams other knitters have used in their completed shawls. While I may be the first to use the MadelineTosh Pure Silk for an Aeolian I can compare similar yarns to find out how many repeats of each chart were knitted, how many grams of yarn were used per chart, how many beads…and so on. An important piece of information is that many knitters are reporting that 60% of the yarn is used in the edging. Sixty Percent!
After each chart repeat now I’m weighing my remaining ball of precious silk yarn. Here are the stats thus far. The original skein had 1000 yards and 100 grams. I tried this yarn on several patterns before finding the perfect match so my starting point is a bit different than someone using a new skein.
I began with 90 grams
After 8 yucca repeats I had 76 grams (84%) remaining
After the transition chart I had 69 grams (76%) remaining
As of last night I have one rest row to knit on the first agave chart before I can weigh the yarn again.
updated to add…
After 1 agave chart I had 64 grams (71%) remaining
So am I midway finished? No.
It’s another midway I’m thinking ahead to. For some crazy reason my goal is to finish the shawl to enter in the Tulsa State Fair, which means I’ve got to have it finished and blocked by mid-September, the nineteenth to be exact. In the meantime I’ve got to find someone to deliver it to the fairgrounds on entry day because we’ll be out of town selling soap! See what I mean about crazy-making?
Progress photo of the Blue Silk later today….or maybe not.