Steek Boa Gone Loopy!
Thanks for everyone's comments and encouragement on which lace project I should tackle for the Knitting Olympics. I still remain undecided and need to think about it some more. I think I agree with Tari though in that I feel I should definitely ensure that I am challenged enough! I'll give it some more thought and report back.
For now, I've knitted a steek boa as per Mary-Lou's design (details on her blog, here). However, when I'd finished knitting it, I decided not to cut the loops to make a fringed boa but to leave the loops and make it a loopy boa instead.
The yarns used are pictured below and were all from my stash. After taking this photo though, I also added a ball of lilac Velvet Touch I found in the bargain bin at C&H Fabrics.
This made the total ingredients:
3 balls Wendy Cosmic (Lunar - 2303)
1 ball RYC Soft Lux (Basalt - 00005)
1 ball Wendy Velvet Touch (Lavender - 1228)
1 Ball Wendy Velvet Touch (Lilac - 1213)
Oddments Patons 4ply 100% Cotton (Foxglove - 01706)
Oddments Rowan Kid Silk Haze (Pearl - 590)
The combination of the Wendy Cosmic and the RYC Soft Lux (grey with a silver sparkle) give it a bit of a bling factor.
I was a bit concerned as to whether the backstitching would actually stabilize the material enough that there would be no danger of the central panel fraying back. After some discussion with Mary-Lou about this, I found she had come up with a better idea and that is to use a crochet hook in the middle of the vees of the edge stitches (i.e. the end stitches of the five cast off stitches) and slip stitch all the way along either side. This is done from the back through every horizontal bar between the vees (visible from the front). The result is that, at the back of the work, you get a nice neat line either side like this.
If you look closely, you will see the line of crocheted slip stitches (worked in lavender Velvet Touch) either side of the central five cast off stitches.
And, at the front, (shown below), the stabilizing crocheted slip stitching doesn't show at all.
It then just remains to unravel all of the stitches back to the centre five cast off stitches confident that they will not unravel any further because of the slip stitching.
And, voila! You have a steek boa gone loopy! Or, you can carry on as in Mary-Lou's original design and cut the loops to make a fringe.
Thanks, Mary-Lou for devising this brilliant design for us to play with!!