Frost Flower Lace Shawl and Avoiding the UFO Pile

I started knitting the Frost Flower Lace Shawl just over a month ago.

Frost Flower Lace Scarf and Pattern

Almost as soon as I began, our parish magazine dropped through my door with the programme and entry form for the village produce show. As I flicked through I saw class H13

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I tend to give away most of what I knit, so with little choice from past knits, I decided I’d enter the Frost Flower Lace Shawl. The deadline for entries was 12th August, which gave me just over a month – which didn’t seem long for 492 rows of knitting when I was finding the fiddly lace pattern slow going.

Frost Flower lace shawl

I started calculating…

Completing 492 rows in just over a month meant I needed to knit 15 rows a day, but I set an initial target of ten rows a day, figuring the ‘lace ladders’ and stocking stitch would be quicker than the more difficult lace pattern and I could increase my daily row rate nearer the end.

The yarn  – Watercolours and Lace 50:50 silk wool – was a real joy to knit and when I strayed to work other pieces of knitting the thicker yarns felt like rope in comparison. (BTW I’m not being paid to say that.)

Watercolours and Lace Silk Wool

However, I did have a challenge with the yarn. It was very soft and slippy. If I dropped a stitch, it ran down through the knitted fabric faster than Usain Bolt being chased by a Tiger.

Frost Flower Shawl Watercolours and Lace

I was very much enjoying knitting my ten rows a day, but I was also driven on by the thought that if I didn’t keep at it, the shawl could easily end up in the UFO pile with me forever avoiding all these fiddly rows of lace knitting. I was also growing uncertain about my ability to tolerate the boredom of 180 rows of lace ladders and 100 rows stocking stitch – the sort of thing I’d knit in the car, but this yarn was too slippy to be knitted in the car unless on the motorway.

But as fate would have it, I reached the lace ladders just before the outlaws in laws arrived for a week long visit. This meant lots of sitting down talking – not good for complex knitting, but great when you don’t really need to concentrate.

Frost Flower Lace Shawl

My plan worked well. By the time the in laws left I’d not only finished the first half, but that included knitting 100 stocking stitch rows instead of 50, as the Watercolours and Lace yarn knitted up tighter than the suggested yarn.

Frost Flower Lace Shawl

By now, I’d also worked out that if I kept up my ten rows a day for the second half, I’d be well into the lace ladders again by the time my nephew and niece-in-law arrived for a long weekend, and lots more knitting while chatting would be possible.

By the time Nephew and Niece-in-Law left, I’d only got 30 rows of stocking stitch to finish. With the end so close and the yarn so lovely to knit, I was fully enthused and completed the knitting at the end of last week. That only left sewing the ends in and blocking over the weekend.

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I really love the finished result. It’s so soft and pretty.

Frost Flower Lace Shawl

I’m also really pleased with myself for doing all those text book things that I know help us achieve a goal:

  1. Know exactly what you want to achieve.
  2. Set a realistic deadline.
  3. Break a big goal into baby steps.
  4. Make what you’re doing as pleasurable as possible.

What do you do to encourage yourself to complete a project when the going gets tough or dull?

Bekki Hill

67 thoughts on “Frost Flower Lace Shawl and Avoiding the UFO Pile

  1. Bekki, that shawl is just gorgeous!! I love the variety of stitches used, and how it becomes so intricate at the ends, and the colour is so beautiful, too. It was interesting to see the steps that you followed to achieve such lovely results. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, fingers crossed. No idea what the standard is as we’ve only been here 18 months and there wasn’t a show last year. It’s only a small village though, so probably not a lot of entries, but who knows about the standard? But as you know, I’m resolutely in the ‘it’s the taking part that matters’ camp and it was a great deadline to have.

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  2. First, that is a magnificent looking shawl! It looks like a portable hug too.

    But second, what is this textbook and where do I get a copy? I’m taking notes from your post. I’m sure it will be priceless advice when I really get going on my shawl again! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such lovely compliments. I love the idea of a portable hug. I’m afraid the text book’s in my head – built up from years of working as a coach and mentor. Having the said that, the basics are quite straight forward – I’ve steered away from writing a post specifically about this sort of thing, because I thought it was bit dry. But, if it’s going to help, I could pull one together. Might not be straight away though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it would be great! Aside from having quite the UFO pile going, one of the reasons I haven’t started my cardigan is because, well, it’s a huge project and I’m weirdly intimidated. I’m pretty good with research and other long haul projects but the sweater feels like another fuzzy beast.

        And you are most welcome – just looking at your shawl makes me feel all cozy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A fuzzy beast! Love that phrase too – really fitting. Will definitely think about a post – I already have the title – if I can borrow it please – ‘De-fuzzing the Beast’. Glad my shawl’s given you a hug to 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Really pretty! I am sure you will do well in the show. It is good fun to take part in village shows. I have found that posting about my endeavours really helps, keeping me motivated and encouraged by others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Hopefully the show will be fun, but you know how overly competitive these this can get in small villages too. I totally agree the posting helps keep up motivation and as for the encouragement of others, absolutely. What a wonderful community we belong to 🙂

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    1. Thank you 🙂 Yes, I tend to give most of my makes away too. This shawl started off as a present, but I’m not sure I can bare part with it. Although the friend it was for is so lovely, I’ll probably knit another one for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t part with it! It’s too gorgeous!
    I’m usually very focussed when I start something, my problem is choosing what to start. Think this is due to an excessive stash and blog reading giving me too many ideas! HELP!! 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent! If you say I can’t part with it then I definitely can’t 😉 Blog reading definitely gives me far too many ideas. In fact I have sworn I’m going to sit down with a BIG piece of paper this afternoon and make a proper plan 🙂

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  5. V. Kathryn Evans

    What a beautiful shawl Bekki! I do this with editing – how many days have I got, how many pages is that day – then if I go over ( or under :/) I recalcualte and reset the daily target. It helps maintain focus and the feeling of achievement! Wonder who I learned that from….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Thank you Kathryn, I’m very please with it. I tend to not reset if I’m over, but still stick to my quota – that way I can feel as if I’m ahead of the game and if I reach a sticky bit I’m still on target. Of course knitting usually has fewer sticky bits than editing.
      Hope the book’s shaping up well – am I right in thinking it’s only six months to publication?

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  6. Your shawl looks absolutely beautiful close up. The lacy design is so delicate. I read your later post before this one, so I know the result of the competition. How garter stitch could be favoured over this is mind boggling! Congratulations on creating such a lovely item – and coming third.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Goodness knows what the judge was thinking. It was so surreal too, as I was stewarding her, not wanting to abuse my place by questioning her and listening to her comments about how perfect both my pieces were (Save a hard to see mucky mark and the seam – which was actually bad Kitchener stitch, but quiet a good seam if it had been seamed) but then she still made the decisions she made. Quiet a few people I barely know were outraged on my behalf over the scarf not winning, so at least that made me feel better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can understand other people’s outrage – I would probably joined in, had I been there. It seems like it simply wasn’t judged fairly. Both of your pieces were superb, and I do hope you don’t think otherwise. A different judge may have made a considerable difference. Just keep up your wonderful work, Bekki, and aim for ‘next time…’.

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