Started: February 12, 2013
Finished: April 2nd, 2013, at about 2 AM
Yarn/yardage used: Skaska Designs 18/2 lace, 50% merino/50% silk. Used just over 1000 yards.
Beads: Size 8/0 ice blue seed beads from Fusion Beads, 16 10-gram bags (around 5000 beads).
Tiny crochet hook: Indispensable.
Blocking materials: Nine foam blocking squares, two supplementary pieces of cardboard, two blocking wires, 17 T-pins, over 150 straight dressmaker's pins (I lost count). And a deep innate excitement about hunching over for over an hour at 3 AM, putting pins into every single border YO in hopes of getting the scallops perfectly curved.
It was worth it. It was all worth it. And should anyone ever cast doubt on the usefulness of blocking, I will direct them towards this pair of pictures.
I made one mod: up near the neckline, there are a few rows where I substituted plain stockinette for the horizontal bar yarnovers that the pattern is so chock-full of. That was the day of the convention for which I needed this shawl to be done, and I thought that maybe if I stopped worrying about the very fiddly and time-consuming horizontal bar yarnovers, I could somehow speed up enough to finish in time. Alas, it wasn't enough. I went back to following the pattern after the convention was over. You can see the stockinette area as the seven little dark chevrons inside the diamond shapes close to the neckline.
Seeing how much more beautiful this is when fully blocked, when the lace opens up and the weight of the shawl evens out and settles down elegantly around the shoulders ("like a string of real pearls", says the pattern) I'm saddened all over again by the fact that I didn't get this done in time to wear for the convention.
Having this done has made something of a hole in my life. I no longer have a large project to work on, nor easy access to materials to start in on any of the other large projects on my knitting resolution list. I suppose I could burn through a couple of pairs of socks for the present. But soon I'll be looking for something enormous and elaborate again.