Mandala II was intended for my mother's birthday. The original Mandala was for my grandmother's 80th birthday.
Mandala II took me a little more than 5 weeks to finish. I knitted slowly according to the experiences I had with the original Mandala. Although the original Mandala took me 8 weeks to complete, I was knitting 3 shawl-knit-alongs at the time, my twins were a little over a year old, and I had less advanced lace knitting experiences.
I started late actually, about 10 days after the first clue was given out. I cast on after the second clue was up. I finished in a day or two the first two clues but forgot to knit the set-up rounds in the middle. After a few days, right before the third clue was up, I ripped and started over, knitting correctly this time.
Another reason I intentionally knitted slowly was because of the yarn I used: Hengyuanxiang Knitting Wool. It's the same one as the original Mandala in the color deep red. The weight is between lace and cobweb/gossamer but closer to cobweb. It gave me a hard time while knitting the original Mandala. I used Clover light-weight metal circs and the yarn was so thin and slippery, my hands went numb very quick very easily after a little knitting. I had very tired hands after giving birth to the twins. I didn't knit for a year to tend to the babies. I realized the change in my hands when I picked up knitting again a year later, so I bought a whole set of Clover bamboo circs, which were warmer to my hands. This time, however, I used Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeable Needles, even better! The cables don't have memories and I can start from the very beginning with Magic Loop! Wooden needles definitely have a better grip at the yarn, and I knitted quite tightly, for the smallest needle size I have is US4 3.5mm. Maybe US3 3.25mm would render a better lace definition for this yarn but I thought the finished size knitted with US4 3.5mm is just fine and if I went down a size it would be a little too small. I should've relax a bit and not knit as tight! Anyway, I was pleased with the final lace presentation.
The pattern, as usual, was divided into 5 clues: 4 parts and an edging, one piece per week. And as usual, I had difficulty choosing the pattern for the first 4 sections. This is a shawl for my mother, the pickiest advanced and experienced knitter, so it was not like knitting the original Mandala for my grandmother, if I like it she likes it. In the end, I picked the most complicated pattern from each section et voilà! I knew I succeeded for the moment my mother opened up the shawl she was fascinated by the section 4 lace, which required knitting lace every round. Her comments were: Wow! Look at that! What elaborate and exquisite lace! And than later when I held open the shawl for everyone to see she saw the first 3 sections and said: Hey! There are those complicated little lacey motifs! I didn't see them the first time! They're so pretty! The conclusion: she loves it! She loves the color, too!
I thought if I knitted with a 2 ply lace 2D would have had a much better presentation. With this yarn and knitting stretched out, the pattern doesn't show well.
3C is my favorite pattern. I really love it!
1C2D3C from another angle.
4B took me 2.5 weeks to complete. I knitted very carefully so that I don't make mistakes for it was knitting lace every round, one error would be disastrous. When knitting the last section of the original Mandala, my son jumped on me, one stitch was dropped, as the yarn was so slippery it went down several rows...in the end, I had to unravel stitch by stitch for 6 rounds--that was 576x6=3456 stitches!! It took me a week salvage the shawl.
1C2D3C4B in black and white to show off more clearly the lace patterns.
To ensure I get an even length from all points, I drew a circle with my twin's Crayola water soluable crayon, place the soaked shawl over it and blocked.
Blocking in progress.
Note that there was a small gap at the southwest corner of the shawl. That was the beginning/end of the round for edging. Closed it up after blocking. The edging, however, took me much longer than I thought. It should be easy for me but I often made mistakes knitting it for I was usually very tired when I was knitting the edging!
The finished Mandala II with edging.
Introducing: Regina's Mandala II