Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Shawl-Shape Attraction

Once I understood how the typical shawl is made, I pretty much just made up stitches as i went along. To work this way is not everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly is my typical impulsive nature to jump in and has its pros and cons.
I really love open stitches that are not necessarily pretty or lacy, so this was a great way to experiment.
The basic triangle shawl shape is this: there is a "spine" down the center, the ever-expanding piece is increased every-other row + 4 stitches, 2 in the center on each side of the one stitch "spine", and one on each side...which can be before the border, part of the border, or just plain increases. This creates a triangular shape that can be any size, you can stop at any point . I love that this can be so versatile, this could be a carefully planned fancy stitch pattern and complex border, or a very simple stitch to show off a fantastic yarn. The increases create a lot of possibilities, this is a great "blank canvas" for so many variations and a very pretty and practical way to "wear your favorite yarn".
It can become totally addictive: because it is so 'un-fussy' it becomes the go-to project for relaxing knitting. Its also so much fun to watch it grow, and the pay-off comes relatively quickly, especially if you have used sport/dk or worsted weight and open stitches. This is also a fantastic gift and can be worn year-round thanks to air conditioned spaces being sometimes a little too chilly.
There is no shortage of free and affordable patterns on Ravelry, the design talent is staggering as you page through these-and you become aware that the shawl and wrap shape has captured the imagination of many talented designers; in addition there are a lot of fun and inventive shape variations.
note: my 'beginner' shawls: the pale blue/peach shawl is in my new 100% handspun cashmere hand -dyed colorway "endpaper" available in my shop. The green darker and more funky shawl is knitted with less than a full skein of Love Birds Merino singles available here in "Green Agate" please excuse the slightly blurry picture .

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shawl Knitting in Luxury

While vacationing this weekend on lovely Lake Ontario; I was also pleased to find that I had a good signal for my iPad, so thanks to the new age of electronics, i was enjoying the best of both worlds... Lakeside knitting, peace, quiet ...and rain! (lots of it!) Since I'm playing with my new trove of luxuries, I had brought the new cashmere, mink, and baby camel yarns, and since it was cold enough to have the heat on (!) it was perfect for handling these fibers.
Shawl knitting is new to me, so after a few attempts using NO pattern, I decided to look for a simple pattern since I obviously wasn't getting it. I found the lovely "LaLa's simple shawl" on Ravelry, and thanks to Ravelrys' "download to library" feature, i was able to start knitting immediately.
I changed the beginning border because i made a mistake, so by the time i figured it out I was well into the shawl. The stitch pattern is different as well because I had been playing with some open wrap stitches and i wanted more open-ness and texture than in the LaLa original. The pattern is wonderfully easy and great for the beginning shawl-knitter.
When I have a FO i will post here. I'm using my Pure Cashmere handspun (worsted) in colorway "endpaper".

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"PATTERN DOWNLOADS" page is where you can purchase all of SWOON FIBERS patterns in .pdf form.