Yes, dear reader, I must confess that Claudia is exactly right: after I wrote that post, I totally fished that puppy out of the trash. I took the loss of Swirl Shawl pretty hard, for three reasons:
1) I feel compelled to knit lace (probably because this time last year, I was consumed by it), and my Icelandic shawl book hasn't arrived in the mail yet.
2) As I knit Swirl Shawl, I had gradually increased the needle size so that, when folded in half, it nestled perfectly around my neck like a snuggly little ferret. Of course, I discovered that my needle increases had been successful only after I took Swirl Shawl off the needles and into the trash.
3) If ever completed, Swirl Shawl would be so gorgeous. Here she is, as a doily.
(The pattern is online, free, but the link is broken right now so I can't steer you there).
But if she were ever to be completed, she would have to be less boring. That spiral pattern is beyond endless in laceweight yarn. I was bored stiff by the time I got to doily size; I would never make it to shawl size. Climate change would put New England under water and dinosaurs would return to Earth before I got to the border of Swirl Shawl in laceweight.
I fished her from the trash to see if there was some way to create the spiral pattern while only knitting a semi-circle (thus eliminating half the knitting!). This is the only time in my life I've ever wished I had progressed beyond pre-calculus, because my head hurt just thinking about it.
As a full circle, my only recourse for getting to the good stuff quicker would be knitting with heavier yarn. So I tried casting on with old, motheaten white medium weight laceweight (sort of halfway to fingering weight). It showed the pattern even better than the alpaca had, but I don't have enough of that yarn to complete a mitten, much less a shawl.
I then cast on with leftover laceweight merino from my wedding shawl. It is infinitely more pleasant to knit with than the alpaca--it's springier, softer and far, far less hairy. But the difference in diameter between the merino and the alpaca could be measured in microns. It might be slightly heavier, but oy, still endless.
And then, out of desperation, I cast on with the Icelandic laceweight I bought at Cummington. This stuff is really heavy--very nearly fingering weight. It knits up really quickly, but it's so heavy I fear it'll have no drape and be stiflingly hot when folded in half.
The swirl really plays up the variegation. I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing: it turns Swirl Shawl into Psychedelic Shawl, which could be cheesy hippie or kind of fun.
While I kind of like the coloration, I think Swirl Shawl needs a lighter yarn. Surely I can find a medium-weight laceweight with some color variation, for that tie-dyed, dropped-acid hippie shawl look.
Maybe my book will get here today...