The Queen Susan Saga

Two and a half years ago I came across a project by the Ravelry Heirloom Knitting Group. They had painstakingly reengineered the Queen Susan Shawl Pattern from a photo of the original and then made it accessible to all. It was love at first sight!

Being semi-immobile at the time thanks to chronic joint pain, I was thrilled to have a big challenging (i.e. distracting) project and got stuck in. I decided on a bedspread rather than a shawl and so chose lace weight wool (1350m/100g) and 2.5mm circular needles. Gossamer weight is gorgeous, but it’s pretty fiddly and I just wasn’t in the mood! So I motored through the centre, because it’s real lace – no ‘rest’ rows – perfect for pain management!

Then on to the border, in which every row is different. At this stage, the chart threatened to take over the living room, until I got it assembled. I figure out that I could prevent my eye from skipping up and down the chart rows by using different coloured highlighting pens as I went. The usual technique of hiding the unworked rows with an opaque ruler didn’t work very well, because the rows were too long!

The border kept growing, I felt confident I’d be finished within the year, so I knit in my initials and 2010 with little pearl beads. I wanted to personalise as proof that I’d actually managed to knit it by my self!

 Then disaster struck in the form of moths. It was very possibly just one moth, but it chose the wrong place to have a snack. One tiny spot on my working ball of yarn was nibbled, only a few strands were severed, but who knew what further pests still lurked within the knitting itself?

My entire stash is housed in luxury, cohabits with cedar wood blocks and takes outings in the fresh air regularly, but did I have a moth deterrent in my WIP bag? No, I did not; I totally underestimated the cute hoors. Aaargh! I’d never realised just how upsetting it is when a WIP is damaged. I suppose I’ve been lucky until this…

So poor Queen Susan was banished to the outer darkness of the freezer compartment. New projects were completed, new designs conceived. But today I finally found the nerve to spread her out and check her for damage, and so far so good! The most noticeable thing is that the wool has yellowed, but as long as the fabric stays intact when I block it, I’ll be happy enough. Mind you, I’ve still got three quarters of the edging to do, so it might be a while!

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