My giant, asymmetrical, two-color shawl Sundry is one of my most popular designs. It’s so over the top, I had no idea what sort of reception it would get once released. But people seem to like it, which is always great. I think it’s the opportunity to mix and match colors, and to customize their placement. A look at some projects on Ravelry shows all sorts of beautiful choices: One of the reasons I love the sample so much is the yarn I used; Selku by String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn. It’s a wool and silk sportweight blend with excellent drape, and the gorgeous colors for which Karen and Tanis are known. I was fortunate to see their lovely yarns in person at out tiny, local sheep and fiber festival at the beginning of September, and inspired to create another design using Selku. I was looking for something to pair with the purpley-blue Viola colorway I had been hoarding, and found a deep raspberry that was perfect. For fans of Sundry, my new shawl Vary . . .
I finished the knitting last night, so today was all about weaving in ends – and with a multi-striped sweater, there were a lot of them. Working in the round and twisting the colors created a tidy RS, but a bit of work to do on the private side. After a soak and block, I’ll see how the final result looks. And I’ll just mention that with the coming of spring (finally!), my mind is totally on sorbet; blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, pistachio . . .
Probably my all-time favorite movie is Gone With The Wind; I love everything about it – the period costumes, the sweeping narrative, the human frailties. And of course the heroine, Katie Scarlett O’Hara. As flawed a human being as she is, with her childish, manipulative, selfish temperament, she is also unflinchingly strong and unfailingly loyal to the people and places she considers her own. Certainly she qualifies as a heroine in my view. Last year, Anne from Wooly Wonka Fibers invited me to design two shawls for her 2014 Heroines Shawl Club, and asked me to pair my choice of heroines with her lovely hand-dyed yarns. And so I designed two shawls, using Artio Lace and Aerten Sock to depict two admirable heroines. The first of these is the design in the March 2014 club kit, Katie Scarlett. It’s a semi-circular laceweight shawl, knit from a garter tab cast on, with four tiers of lace patterns that represent Miss Scarlett’s trajectory through life. The beautiful, jewel-green color is the exclusive Twelve Oaks colorway, meant . . .
Plaid is everywhere for fall, and I’m officially obsessed. Americans use the words “plaid” and “tartan” interchangeably, but a tartan is a woven textile pattern historically identifying Scottish Highland clans and military or political allegiances, while a plaid (“pledd”) is a length of this woven wool thrown about the body, for example to stay warm on the moors. Tartan in fact has a long history; the earliest examples of this sort of woven textile were found on mummies dating from around 2000 B.C. in the central Asian Tarim desert basin. In The Mummies of Urumchi, archeologist and textile historian Elizabeth Wayland Barber investigates the link between these Indo-Europeans and the Celts. A branch of the Celts gave rise to the Scots, and to the practice of local clans adopting certain woven color patterns, which became identified with their wearers. The materials and aesthetics of the weavers first determined what patterns were available, and where. The system of colors and patterns coalesced throughout the 17th century, sometimes becoming associated with military regiments. In a political move, . . .
That top I had to rip back has turned out well; I just hope it’s a lesson learned that if you think it might be going wrong, STOP and reevaluate. I’d definitely rather be making nifty I-cord button loops than trying to get a couple hundred lace stitches back on the needle. And once this tee is released next week, that will be the official end of the Summer of Lace. My overall goal was to make three lightweight, lace patterned summer sweaters, and in doing so, achieve several things. 1) Design more garments! I love sweaters, and have lots of yarn, so that’s logical. 2) Learn to use Stitch Mastery and improve my charts. Seriously, that charting program is as great as everyone says it is, and the developer is super responsive and available. I’m fine reading charts, but wanted to improve on actually conceiving them myself; making two lace patterned topdown raglans certainly helped with that. 3) Knit lightweight things: also kind of obvious for summer, and since I’m not really a sock . . .
Last fall, I contributed a design to Allyson Dykhuizen’s Holla Knits, and it was a great experience all the way from yarn support, to fun knitting, to blogstravaganza! Holla Knits always features innovative design with exciting colors and styling; these are never the same old knits. I’m pleased to share that I’ll have another Holla design in the upcoming Fall 2013 Collection, and as one might suspect, it’s not exactly the sort of thing you see around everywhere. Plaid! It’s got technique, and colors, and uncomplicated knitting – with a super fun finished object. For now, there are some more sneak peeks in my guest post on the Holla Knits blog, but it won’t be long until fall, when all will be revealed!
I’m determined to release three lace cardigans this summer, and so far am still on track with Aqueous already live, and Arcady finished. This one is a return to my love of grey, in a silvery shade of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu called Winter Solstice. Colder seasons aside, the merino & bamboo blend is perfect for early summer evenings, or that air conditioned place we might go to escape the heat. It’s allover lace again, but this time with a nifty applied I-cord edging and button loops – my favorite part. If it would ever stop raining, we could photograph it and the pattern layout could go forward. I’ve decided to model all three sweaters myself, and save up my daughter-goodwill points for some shawls; those are harder to capture just the way I like, so I’ll go behind the lens myself. Meanwhile, not to let her off the hook entirely, she can wield the giant reflector we just got; so many choices – gold! silver! white! I feel like we should choose the . . .
I haven’t had a FO to show on friday for a long time. Hopefully that spell is broken, because this is the first of three summer lace sweaters, and time keeps ticking along. In my quest to expand personal color horizons, I used this aquamarine colored Canopy Fingering from The Fibre Co; they call it “tanager” like the bird, and I call it bluer than mint, that too-ubiquitous shade we’re seeing everywhere right now. Although I did buy a mint bag for summer – but I digress. The alpaca/merino/bamboo has a nice hand, and it blocked well, too. The weather looks promising for a photoshoot this weekend, so lace cardi number 1 should be on its way soon. Which is good, because I just committed to two more – different of course, but still lace. What’s up with that? I think it’s the Stitch Mastery software I bought for myself; after putting in some time on the learning curve, I need to keep in practice. The program is great, by the way, as is the . . .
It’s friday, and I actually have a FO! In further exploration of the Contiguous shoulder construction method, I’ve done up a spring cardi with some broken rib detail on the button band. To me, this method still has some problems with a tight and very sloped shoulder, which might be good for some styles, but certainly isn’t ideal for everything. What I really like for this design is that there is no picking up (except for a few stitches from the body underarm when doing the sleeves); the button band is knit in, and most exciting of all, the collar is done first, with live stitches incorporated into the body using short rows. Of course this approach can be done just as well with a raglan or seamless topdown construction, and I definitely will be using it again with one of those. Also, seeing how great the Tosh Vintage works for a sweater means I’ll be doing more with that as well. In the meantime, on to finishing up the pattern!
Snow outside, and a special dinner in tonight; we make it a point not to go out for St. Valentine’s Day – although I did tell them all they had to dress nicely for a fancy meal. We’ll start with Godiva chocolate martinis, or italian pomegranate soda for the minors. Then I’m making NY strip steaks from the Pennsylvania Dutch farm market, with sauteed mushrooms, gruyere potato gratin and a caesar salad. For wine, a Rodney Strong Cabernet, and the final indulgence will be molten chocolate lava cake. Of course I got everyone a sweet little present, and a Valentine’s sentiment. And finished a little prototype shawl just in time to wear, too!