Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Tale of Two Eleanors

Last January, I chose Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style as my first large scale knitting project. It turned out beautifully...so beautifully, in fact, that my mom saw it and fell crazy in love with it. She came down to visit for a week and pretty much kept Lady E wrapped around her the whole time. Yes, a chunky weight wool shawl- in Florida. She kept hinting that she would love a Lady E of her own (by hinting, I mean she kept saying, "wow...I would just really, really love to have one! It would be the best present I could ever imagine!)

I decided if I was going to make another Lady E, I would at least have to make it
with a different yarn, just to shake it up. I chose Noro Silk Garden because I had never used Noro before and found a great deal on it on eBay. Just for kicks, I thought I'd do a comparison here of the two shawls- same pattern, different yarn.

Lady #1
Yarn: 9 balls of Patons SWS in Natural Earth
Source: Michael's...bought 1 skein at a time using 40% off coupons
Needles: Size 9 Knitpicks Options
Total Yarn Cost: about $36

Lady Eleanor loves the ocean...

Lady #2
Yarn: 8 balls of Noro Silk Garden, Color #225
Source: Ebay seller allatthecove
Needles: Size 8 Knitpicks Options
Total Yarn Cost: $63

Mom's Lady Eleanor

So how do the two compare?

Lady Eleanor

With the SWS, it seems like the length of the colors suits the pattern perfectly. The finished object is rustic, warm, and comfy. My problem with the SWS is the fuzziness factor- it got fuzzier and fuzzier while knitting it, and now after wearing it regularly it's pretty darn fuzzy. Sometimes I think the ends even look a little ratty. All of that being said, I still really love it after a year and people still tell me all the time how pretty it is. Also, you just can't beat the price. $35!!!

Lady E front view

The Silk Garden seems to give a more crisp texture to the piece, and it only felt better the more I knitted with it. The finished piece is much lighter than the SWS and has a more elegant, light feel because of the silk. And of course the colors are gorgeous. My problem with the Silk Garden is that the color lengths are so long. At some points, I had done almost an entire row of blocks and I was still on the same color. It worked out in the end, though- I just paid more attention to the how the colors worked out and cut out the black pieces when needed. Pricewise, the Silk Garden was almost double the price (even with the awesome eBay deal), but because it was a Christmas present for my Mom, it was more than worth the extra cost.

So that's my Lady E analysis...I'd love to hear from others who knit this shawl to hear what yarn you used and how it's holding up!