FO Friday: The Shawl That Refused To Be Photographed

Enough with the WIP-shaming! How about a finished object?

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This shawl began about a year ago. The second I saw this pattern I fell in love. For some reason the first color I imagined it in was a light dusty purple. Luckily I knew of a dyer who did an excellent light dusty purple. Wanna guess who? Yep, indigodragonfly (I’m telling you, I’m obsessed). I believe it was fairly recently that she had come out with a new colorway called “A Thin Line Between Love and Batteries.” It fit my vision for this shawl perfectly. I had also recently acquired a skein of Polwarth Silk as one of the club shipments and fell in love with that base the second I cast on with it.

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I bought the pattern, shopped for beads, ordered a custom dyed skein of Batteries on Polwarth and cast on as soon as humanly possible. About three months later it was finished. Blocked and everything. Then it took me about nine months to get a decent photo of it. Those beads just REFUSED to be photographed!

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The shawl was way too big for my light box, which is where beads really tend to shine in my photography. I needed a decent outdoor photo shoot, but I ran into problems attempting to do this in my own backyard for the following reasons:

  • Our backyard (and front yard) are hideous. We just really couldn’t care less about gardening here, and all of the grass has long since been replaced by pavers. Everywhere you turn the background of the photo would be marred with broken down fences, abandoned ladders, neglected bushes, brown fir needles EVERYWHERE, and depending on the time of year, 7 foot tall weeds (or what we call our “apathy garden”.)
  • I simultaneously live in a suburb and a forest. There’s a giant hill in town (some might call it a small mountain, but around here we know better) that has a great viewpoint at the top. From there you can look down at much of the city, including my neighborhood. In theory you could spot my house from that hill, but in practice when you look down on the suburbs from that hilltop all you see is a forest. If it weren’t for the roads peeking through the canopy you’d hardly be able to tell that there are probably about 6,000 people living under those trees. So, if the aim of outdoor photography is to take advantage of sunlight, then I’m just screwed.
  • Even if there was enough light, most of the time I wouldn’t know it anyway. I’m naturally a night owl so most days I don’t even see the sun. I’m usually asleep during the day.
  • I was having trouble figuring out where on earth I would put the shawl to photograph it…lay it out on the ground on top of a sheet? Hang it up on one of the ugly fences and try to catch it in the 30 seconds the sun illuminates the fence every day?
  • I’m not very fond of the outdoors. I try to limit my exposure as much as possible. I sunburn really fast, bugs love to eat me and my immune system loves to overreact to them, SPIDERS LIVE OUTSIDE and that’s just not OK, it’s usually either too hot or too cold for my taste, it rains a lot and I don’t enjoy being wet, and there are other people out there. (Hi, my name is Nicole and I have social anxiety).

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I tried setting up Sven (my mannequin) in my room and having him model the shawl there, but the lighting was just all wrong. The color looked flat, the picture had very little definition and the beads were completely invisible. I tried setting Sven up outside, but again, lighting. See above for problems. It almost could have worked if Sven weren’t so white so I could manipulate the photograph more in editing, but alas Sven is superwhite (that will soon change).

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Finally, one day on the way home from a family gathering we drove past the perfect location. It was a small field full of flowers in a rare sunny spot only a few blocks from my house! The next sunny day I trekked down there (got a minor burn on my face due to using expired sunscreen, rolled my ankle on the way there, and had to wade through a sea of school children and their parents, but I digress) and did a fabulous photo shoot for several different projects including the Shawl That Refused To Be Photographed!

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Now that you have the full story, I’ll take a page from Domestic Diva and summarize the project:

Pattern: Enamored, by Laura Aylor

Yarn: indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk in A Thin Line Between Love and Batteries

Project Name: Enamored with my Batteries (yes, I went there)

Changes made to pattern: None. I made the triangle version of the shawl rather than the rectangular wrap version.

Did I learn anything new?: Yes! At one point I screwed up in the pattern and didn’t notice it until many rows later. Instead of ripping back to fix it I tried “surgery” for the very first time. I dropped the 3 stitches involved, corrected the weird stitch mistake, then wove the 3 stitches all the way back up. I had to do it twice because I got the stitch slant wrong the first time (and I’m not totally convinced I got it right the second time, but at least it blends better) and it was a tight fit since I knitted the next 6 rows missing a stitch, but I fixed it!

I’m really happy with this shawl! It’s the perfect color and the fabric feels great. The adjective that always comes to mind with this particular yarn is “smooshy”…I really can’t think of a better word for it, but that’s what it is. Smooshy.

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8 thoughts on “FO Friday: The Shawl That Refused To Be Photographed

  1. It’s beautiful and breathtaking! That color is just gorgeous ♥ You could always fold it up nicely, and place it in the lightbox for some nice detail shots to show off the beads and ruffles~

  2. This is *beautiful*! And I am so very tempted to use my skein of Polwarth Silk in Indigo Montoya and do one of my own.

    I am mightily chuffed that you are using my project summary. I will give credit where credit is due and tell you I got it from GreenBeanString because I loved it so much 🙂

    • Oh yeah, I’ve seen it on GreenBeanString’s blog too! Yours was just the one I remembered seeing it last.

      Indigo Montoya would be breathtaking in the pattern! Or any other pattern really…why haven’t I bought that color yet??

      • I have Indigo Montoya in three bases. It’s a great colourway.

        I have the Polwarth Silk in Buffy Staked Edward too, but it’s a “mutant” skein (over 900 yards) so I want to make sure I use it for a shawl that will use up the entire skein…a sideways one, perhaps.

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