Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Bevy of Shawls: Cladonia

The final installment of This Year In Shawls Draped over My Sofa is a bright and colourful Cladonia.

Back in my self-striping sock yarn phase, I picked up a few balls of Knit Picks Chroma fingering weight. I knit one pair of socks with one ball, and had planned to do another variation of my Zauberball socks with the other two balls, alternating colours. When I was at this summer's Sock Summit, however, I attended a lecture by Clara Parkes on the properties of different types of yarns, wherein she mentioned how singularly unsuitable a single-ply yarn is for socks, as it won't tend to perform well under pressure and friction (i.e. exactly what a sock undergoes day after day.) So what to do with these two lovely balls of fingering weight single-ply yarn? Obviously a Cladonia shawl.

It knit up very quickly, partly because I was enjoying the colour changes so much. There are a few places where the changing colours clashed with each other, so by the end of the shawl, I was splicing sections out, to make some colours predominate while eliminating others.

I think it ended up pretty cute, though I have to admit that I haven't worn it a lot, yet. It takes a certain joie de vivre to pull this one off, n'est-ce pas?

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Bevy of Shawls: Not Your Granny's Shawl

Having completed the complicated Bridgewater shawl, last April, I was certainly ready for something quicker and easier. When I saw the release of the eBook What Would Madame Defarge Knit?, nothing would do but to make one of the Flatland crocheted triangle shawls. I thought it would be nicest if I used a self-striping yarn with long repeats, so I found some Wisdom Yarns Poems Sock on sale at Webs, and ordered two balls, with the intention of making a large dramatic shawl.

I decided that updating to a more contemporary colourway with the yarn, as well as using a glossier single ply yarn, would update the design and keep it from looking like a huge granny square shawl, like your own granny would have made.

Of course we all know how quick crochet is, so despite restarting a couple of times and completely changing the stitch employed in the pattern, I was still done the first ball of yarn by the fourth day, and ultimately decided not to use the second ball, as it seemed to be large enough for my plan, which was a cute little crocheted neck scarf.

In the end, it still sort of looks like a huge granny square, but I still like it. After a severe blocking, the fabric is quite crisp, and I've worn it a fair bit. I like how it looks, sort of retro, sort of not. And for only four days' work, who could complain?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Bevy of Shawls: Bridgewater

This beauty is one that I worked on throughout last winter, and finished last April. I suppose I was waiting to blog it until I could get some photos of me wearing it, but seeing as that hasn't happened, the sofa will have to be my surrogate.

Turns out that the last time I showed this off, I hadn't even started knitting it, but was still experimenting with kool aid overdying. Once I finally cast on, there was a long and enjoyable period of garter stitch, to create the square center panel of the shawl, followed by a stint of lace in the round, a long hibernation, eventually coming back to it and finishing the lace, and finally a long and drawn out slog through the knitted-on edging. This type of edging takes forever, but it always worth it, in the end.

After all was said and done, I took a big plunge and dunked my finished masterpiece into a bowl of grape kool aid. The end result is a bit patchy and not quite as dark a colour as I'd intended (I used 5 packets of grape kool aid, but perhaps twice or even three times that many would have been closer to the result I was after.) I pinned it out and decided that the patchiness added some visual interest and depth to the shawl, and opted to leave it as is. Someday, when I need to wash and reblock it, I might grab some more grape kool aid and redo the dye job, but right now I love it.

The overall texture is super light and floaty (it's once again Jaggerspun Wool/Silk, in case you didn't remember) and I usually fold the square into a triangle and wear it that way, as a neck scarf or a shawl. Added bonus: a subtle fragrance of grape whenever I wear it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Bevy of Shawls: Holden

I decided to take some time today to photograph some old projects that I've never shown off. One of the ones I had on my list was this lovely Holden shawl. When I started uploading the photos onto Ravelry, I realized that I finished this over a year ago! I've worn it a fair bit during that time, because I love how it turned out - such a beautiful but simple neutral accessory.

Initially I bought this yarn (Viking of Norway Baby Ull, which is a fingering weight baby merino) to make a pair of socks. When that didn't exactly work out the way I hoped, it disappeared into the stash for a little while, before I pulled it out again to use it for this project. Holden is such a lovely pattern that I knew a simple yarn would work well and show off the lace. I love the feminine design in a basic elegant grey.

After blocking, the hand of this fabric is really great. The warm soft halo of this yarn makes the texture of the shawl just luxurious. It is quite warm and wraps around into a lovely scarf, too.