As many of you know, Ravelry holds a crazy-fun event during the Olympics called the Ravellenic Games. We will cast on during the Opening Ceremonies, and aim to have our projects finished by the time the torch is extinguished at the end of the Closing Ceremonies.
Ravelry has concocted silly names for different kinds of “events”. I’ve entered “Shawl Sailing”. I’ll make Romi Hill’s beautiful Lyrica Euterpe pattern, using Alpenglow Yarn’s SMerF 4000 fingering weight merino. I’ve had this project in my stash for forever, and am glad to have the perfect excuse to make it.
Getting ready for the Ceremonies to begin!
When travelling, what could be a better project than a super-simple shawl with a pretty lace edging? The Simple Lines shawl, by the designer who goes by “maanel” on Ravelry, was the perfect design for a recent trip to the Northwest. The Baah LaJolla yarn was a dream to work with, and the color is just right to go with a dress I’ll wear to an upcoming wedding.
The main section is very easy – great for knitting in airports and rental cars, I found.
The lace edging was deceptively simple, too.
I did make one addition to the pattern. The lace edge, being mostly stockinette, wanted to curl. By adding a few rows of garter on either side of an eyelet row, the edge now lies flat. In case you’d like to add the edging for your own version of the shawl, here’s how I changed the pattern:
Row 18: Knit across.
Row 19: Work eyelet row, including increases.
Row 20: Knit across.
Row 21: Knit across
Row 22: Elastic bind off.
Here’s how I blocked the added rows, pinning each stockinette diamond shape into a point, then adding another pin to stretch out the eyelets I added:
This turned out to be one of my favorite shawls – it was relaxing to knit and I love wearing it.
Don’t you just love it when you reach into your stash and find the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern? Such was my luck the other day when I found some Valkyrie “Jayne” fingering, a lovely blend of merino and cashmere hand-dyed by my friend Bonni Raine.
As luck would have it, I have a little bit of time between design projects to do some fun, personal knitting. I’m pairing the yarn with a design I’ve wanted to make for the longest time…the shawl called Ferru by my friend Stephannie Tallent. The design has special meaning for me, as I’ve spent a great deal of time in Arizona, the home of the Ferruginous hawk which inspired Stephannie’s design. Note the gorgeous feather motif!
The pattern is from “Lace 2“, Volume 5 of Stephannie’s fabulous eBook series called The Wild West. Check out the drawing for a giveaway of The Wild West collection!
You can find Bonni’s Valkyrie yarn at Yarns at the Adobe in San Luis Obispo, California
Stephannie Tallent’s blog is Sunset Cat Designs
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of Stephannie Tallent‘s newest addition to her Wild West design series, Lace 2. I couldn’t wait to get the Steller’s Jay shawl onto my needles! I love the colors in the fingering weight Baah “La Jolla” yarn, Blue Iris colorway. They perfectly evoke the colors in the Steller’s Jay which lives in Arizona (and other Western regions) and that Stephannie took her inspiration from.
I wanted just a bit more depth to the back of the shawl, and so added a few more short rows than the pattern calls for.
Here it is on the blocking board:
Stephannie’s Sunset Cat Designs blog
The Wild West: Lace 2
Read more about the Steller’s Jay
I recently found myself away from home for several weeks, hence the dearth of posts here.
When life hands you lemons make a shawl, I say!
Fortunately I was armed with a pattern (more about that in future posts), yarn and stitch markers.
I always put lifelines into my lace knitting, and I’ve never regretted that yet. Although I usually like to use a thin cotton yarn as my lifeline, some on-the-road dental floss was the perfect substitute. If you’ve never used a lifeline, its a thinner yarn in a contrasting color that you thread through the live stitches on your needle. That way, if (in my case WHEN) you drop a stitch, the lifeline will catch it and keep it from running an alarming number of rows. I like to mark the pattern’s chart or text at the point where I put the lifeline in so I know where to resume from if I have to rip all the way back to the lifeline. Another thing I learned the hard way about lifelines…be sure to go around – and not through – stitch markers.
It’s hard to tell in this photo, since they’re hidden inside the curled-up work, but I love to use stitch markers between a given number of repeats. In this case, the pattern repeat was 8 stitches, so I placed a marker every three repeats for a total of 24 stitches between markers. Here’s my philosophy…either I am going to take a little time to count stitches between stitch markers as I go, or I am going to find out at the end of a row (or even further along in my work) that I’m off by a stitch or more and spend a lot of time tracking down the mistake. There may be some superhero knitters out there who do not make errors in their lace, but I am not one of them. Given that I am going to goof, counting between stitch markers every time limits my mistakes to just those stitches between markers. All that counting pays off in peace of mind.
Before I flew out the door for my unexpected trip, I had the presence of mind to toss a pad of Post-It notes into my bag. If you’re new to charts, you may like to use this popular method for keeping track of the row you’re working. By placing the Post-It above the row I’m working, I can see the rows I’ve already worked. It allows me to “read” my work, so I can verify that the yarnovers, decreases or plain stitches are lined up as they’re supposed to be.
If you’d like to read more about working charts and other tips, you might like to check out my Tips & Techniques page.
An end of summer treat, Taygete was a fun shawl to make. The pattern’s garter stitch center made for good social knitting, and then the edges provided that kind of quiet-time knitting where I enjoyed concentrating on the lace.
Anzula Squishy yarn is a dream to knit with! It’s soft with a good ply.
Now it’s time to put away the lace weight yarns and summery colors, and haul out some beginning-of-fall knitting. It’s hard to believe its that time already!
Taygete pattern by Romi Hill
A shawl pattern I’ve long wanted to make is Color Affection by designer Veera Välimäki . I’ve seen it on Ravelry in many gorgeous color combinations, and I love the interesting effect the short rows create.
I made mine with Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering. As you can see, I was in the mood for some spring colors! I love the yarn – it’s what I call well-behaved – smooth, not splitty, soft.
I did have a couple of issues which I’ll keep in mind if I make another Color Affection….It ended up much smaller than the pattern’s dimensions call for, worked on US #6 needles. I’ll never disbelieve a gauge swatch again (ha, ha). It told me I should go up a needle size or two to get gauge, but thinking I didn’t want the stitches to get too loose, I ignored it. My shawl blocked out to about 72” x 16”, a far cry from the 94 x 22 in the pattern’s schematic. I probably should have used a size 8.
Nonetheless, this was a lot of fun to knit. It’ll be fine as a little shawlette-type accessory.
Bind-off: I tried going up two needle sizes and using the standard bind-off. It was too tight. I took it out and used Cap Sease’s “Suspended Bind Off Variation” from her book Cast On, Bind Off. It was perfect for the curved edge.
I want to thank my dear hubbie, the awesome Steve Ells, for taking these photos. I like the way the arch in the bridge mirrors the curved shape of the shawl!
Color Affection pattern
Veera Välimäki’ designs on Ravelry and her beautiful Rain Knitwear Designs web site
Cast On, Bind Off by Cap Sease – please support your local yarn store and buy it there if they have it.
Swans Island yarn (made in the USA)
Here’s Ishbel, a lovely shawl pattern by Ysolda Teague. I made the small version, and managed to get it done during two train rides across Pennsylvania, plus another hour or two. It was a quicker knit than I thought it’d be!
I loved using the Swans Island fingering for this – it’s a well-behaved yet soft yarn. This is the Winterberry color, with just the right amount of tone-on-tone variation.
I bought the yarn at Ranch Dog Knitting a while ago
Swans Island Yarn
The Ishbel pattern can be found individually or in Ysolda’s collection Whimsical Little Knits 1
I adore the book Coastal Knits by the incredibly talented duo of Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. I couldn’t wait to make Alana’s design, “Sand and Sea Shawlette”. For one thing, its gorgeous. For another, its inspired by an area here in California’s Central Coast I know and love well – Morro Bay.
I made the shawlette from Madelinetosh’s Tosh Lace and Tosh Sock. The Tosh Lace makes for a feather-light shawlette body; I’d like to try my next shawlette in the slightly heavier Prairie, which is what’s called for in the pattern.
Sand and Sea is easy to make, and I love the super-feminine look.
I never tire of Madelinetosh’s color Amber Trinket; different lighting picks up a whole range of subtle colors, from purple to rust to taupe and more.
I wouldn’t want to admit to being obsessed with this pattern or anything. But I already have the yarn to make another.
Er, make that two more.
Don’t you just love patterns that look all difficult and fancy-shmancy, but are really easy to make? That’s how it was with the Classic Elite Yarn pattern called the Seedling Wrap, designed by Tonia Barry. The pattern calls for Verde cotton yarn, but I substituted Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. With its merino wool and touch of cashmere, I think it will be a warmer choice for chilly California evenings (I know it sounds crazy, but even in summer it can be 100 in the day, and really cold at night!).
The lovely curves motif reminds me of waves and sand. A perfect gift my friend who adores outings to the beach!
This is a free pattern, which is all the better!
I’m finally getting the chance to start a pattern I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time. Ishbel is a beautiful shawl design by Ysolda Teague. I’m making the smaller version, out of Swans Island fingering weight yarn.
Every so often I get inquiries about how to work lace and/or charts. As a reminder, you can find an excellent (if I do say so myself) blurb in the Tips & Techniques section of my web site about how to work with charts. I like to use Post-It Notes to keep track of my place on a chart, but Ishbel’s chart is too wide. Highlighter tape comes to the rescue! I know some people like to put the tape right over the line they’re working on, but I’m so set in my ways, I put it just above the line just like I do when using the sticky notes.
Next comes the use of markers. Here’s my philosophy – either I can use markers, counting stitches as I go and fixing mistakes early on, or I can skip them, make mistakes way back in the work, then have to rip back to fix them when eventually I find my count is off, and be grumpy for an extended period of time. No thanks! I put markers every three repeats in Ishbel, giving me a manageable number of stitches to count. The pattern makes it so I have to shift the markers frequently, but that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. The coffee bean marker tells me, “Wake up – you’re coming to the center section!” The center is worked differently than the repeats.
Another anxiety reliever is the life line. That’s the contrasting color you can see in the photo. I’ve already had to rip back to the life line, and was very glad it was there! I’ll move it up at the end of the section I’m working on, so it’ll be ready to save the day again if needed.
If you’re new to lace and charts, or just needed a refresher, I hope you found this helpful!