Ta da! I present to you Mystery Stole 4. It amazes me, always, how lace changes after blocking. Here it is as an unimpressive, crumpled mess:

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And the beauty it turned into once I got it on wires:

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Pattern: Mystery Stole 4 (Serendipity Stole) by Georgina Bow Creations
Yarn: 1.75 skeins (2 oz, 630 yards each) JaggerSpun Zephyr silk/wool, 50% Chinese Tussah silk, 50% merino wool, color: Channel (I wonder if they mean Claret and not Channel, but it’s clearly labeled Channel)
Needles: size 4
Started 9/5/2008 and finished 11/28/2008

The yarn is simply fabulous. This is the first time I have used Zephyr and it both feels great while knitting and finished wonderfully after blocking. I am looking forward to hauling out the teal Zephyr I bought for the Peacock Feathers Shawl when it’s time to get going on that one.

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Although mystery projects appear to be popular in blogland and on Ravelry, I doubt I’ll do another one. I thought it would be fun doing something completely unexpected, and while I really and truly enjoyed knitting it (and the instructions are good), the resulting stole is not my style. I like more traditional patterns. But that’s just my personal taste, and since I make lots of items to give away or sell, I tend to make lots of things that don’t fit my taste. I still enjoy making them. Please understand my statement is not a criticism of the stole itself, just of my picky taste.

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Anyway, likes and dislikes aside, the instructions are well-written. I chose to knit both halves at once and managed to accomplish this in 7 weeks. There was a huge gap of time during which I didn’t work on it at all, hence the long start to finish time.

I had some problems with executing the grafting directions. The designer asks you to work one extra row at each end of the stole in a smooth waste yarn, then graft, following the path of the waste yarn. I found this completely impossible and ended up doing a three-needle bind-off of those two waste yarn rows, then grafting over the bound-off row of waste yarn. Afterward, I snipped the waste yarn to remove it and snipped a bit too quickly (Mr. MmmYarn, watching me, actually cringed but didn’t say anything until I discovered the hole), so in addition to testing my grafting skills, I got the added bonus of testing my repairing skills. Which I am happy to say look pretty good. I then had to tighten my graft stitch by stitch as going over 3 waste yarn rows made it really loose.

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My mom saw the work in progress when she visited in November and wanted to know how I got the beads on there. I showed her my tiny crochet hook, to which she responded, “how do you even see that?” I guess she has a point. Here’s my attempt at getting a photo of the hook, on a dime for scale, and its head is so tiny that the camera can’t really pick it up. This was the best shot (click for big):

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See that big, glittery pile? I was concerned about not having enough beads when I bought the replacement beads in Paris. Ha! Foolish knitter! I have plenty of beads left over to use in another project someday.

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As usual, shawls and stoles are a great knitting deal where you get lots of knitting for a small financial investement. Those skeins of Zephyr were under $11 each, meaning I made this whole thing for $20 of yarn and probably $3 worth of beads (given I paid $15 for the beads and have a LOT left over). I couldn’t say for sure how many hours I spent on this thing, but I’d venture a guess at 80 hours. So what’s that, 28 cents an hour? Now that’s entertainment.

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