Freshly-knitted unblocked lace looks like boiled ass.
And blocking will always reward you.
I don't want to say that blocking is magic because nothing in knitting is; but blocking as close as it gets.
This was another $5-on-sale skein of Exquisite, and another little Orenburg lace experiment. This time I was thinking about something I read in a book (The Art of Shetland Lace maybe) about triangular veils that could be folded up to fit inside matchboxes, so it turned into something like that. The central area has closely-spaced eyelets in clusters of four ("mouse prints"!) to make a more transparent fabric; it's bordered by pine cones? trees? flowers? in a field of garter stitch, and then outlined again by edging that echoes the centre.
I knitted the edging on afterward, which was cheating a little, but I didn't want to deal with it at the very outset of the project.
This thing I have been doing to the very edges of my edgings is not Russian; it's the "lacy edge stitch" that Sharon Miller talks about in Heirloom Knitting. On returning rows, you yo-k2tog at the beginning, and it makes a tiny prettiness. I like it because it makes the very edge look denser, like someone drew a line the shawl with a marker. It also makes the edges a tiny bit stretchier than they would otherwise have been, which is excellent when you are worried about easing in corners.
There is a new group on Ravelry about Orenburg down shawls, which I don't really post in but I read it a lot. They've been talking about knitting without charts, making up patterns as you go along but keeping them symmetrical and balanced. I tried out that approach for this piece -- a bottom-up triangular shawl is a good venue for making it up as you go along because you only have to worry about symmetry from side to side. I found it very peaceful not to be tied to a chart, although I admit to making one afterward so that I could duplicate my results if they were good.
The secret reason I am so, so, so pumped up about Orenburg shawls is that I bought one recently. It is in the mail! When it arrives, sweet internet, you'll be the first to know.