Having worked this pattern before... I knew exactly what I was getting into as far as the actual knitting part goes. I had not had the occasion to knit with Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) before though... so that was a pretty new experience.
Basically, this yarn is like a big soft wooly single - a big fat worsted weight yarn. I can see why people use it for felting. When it is first knit it does show pretty nice stitch definition for a single-type yarn, but I can imagine that it would felt nicely into a fuzzy wooly felt without too much trouble. I discovered near the end of the shawl just how easy it was to wet-felt splice the end of a ball together with the new strand... just by splitting apart the ends, feathering them together, wetting them, and rolling between my hands I was able to make some pretty solid joins! Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until I had already had to weave in half a dozen ends... oh well :)
Just knowing the high Feltability (is that a word?) of the yarn, I will have to be sure and educate the eventual owner of this shawl that it should be washed with cold water only and with very little (no) agitation... or this shawl may become a felted mess!
The reason I chose this yarn is a little convoluted. I had gone into a yarn store looking for something a) in a blue/grey/black, b) something worsted weight-ish, c) something that was made of natural fiber and warm. The original 198 yds. of Heaven pattern used a worsted weight wool, so I thought I would take my chances on this. I used the entirety of 4 balls... there are 5-6 very short pieces left and that is it. I even ended up splicing a few pieces to complete the cast off. It was close... I thought I would have to rip back a row and cast off again it was *so* close.
Before blocking, I wasn't sure if the shawl would be large enough. The Recipient wanted it to be large, wooly and thick. When it came off the needles, it measured 56 x 24 inches, but after a soak, stretch and rest the finished shawl blocked to 66 x 36 inches. Perfect size!
The final texture was a nice mix of thick warm stockinette panels and lacy open YOs. The Arrowhead pattern really stands out pleasingly from the garter stitch bars and ladders of Yarn-Overs. This lace pattern would be a good one for anyone who wants to get more comfortable with lace stitches, because it uses a good mix of stitches but does so in a predictable and easy to follow pattern of those stitches. It is easy to see what the next "move" is and where the patter is going.
When I started out on this pattern I had test-driven a couple needle sizes to see the possible fabric textures... I settled on the 6mm circulars for the perfect mix of solid/lace.
The last time I knit this pattern I ran out of yarn before I was able to complete the border charts... I really liked the way the border completed the shawl. The "points" turned out perfect! I am a complete sucker for the finished curves and points on a shawl :)
Here is a photo to give you an idea of the finished size... it stretches most of the way across my sofa! aaaaand it matches my living room decor!? how weird is that?
More gratuitous post blocking photos! There are the lovely points again! For the first stitch of each row I slipped a stitch "purlwise" with yarn in back and then continued on. I learned this technique on another shawl, and have translated it into many other projects. The resulting edge has a nice "finished" look... almost braided.
And here she is all ready for pickup! All in all, I was very pleased with this project, and I hope Teresa likes it too :)