Archive for the ‘Spinning Fibre’ Category

DSCN0225It’s done, it’s done!  My Ravenwing shawl is done!

Okay, that’s not quite true.  I still need to block it, and weave in the many ends of yarn, but the spinning and knitting is done!  And I am so pleased.  This is the most handmade thing I’ve made to date.  The fibre blend was custom designed by me and blended to order by the wonderful World of Wool, handspun and plyed by me, and then knit by me. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I’m so sorry the early-morning light couldn’t capture how gorgeous this is, with the glittery rainbow fibre, glossy silk and deep, complex merino.

DSCN0219I’m not going to have a chance to block it until Monday, probably.  I’m off today to watch my little sister row at her last ever Women’s Henley before she leaves for exciting university adventures, so will be spending most of the weekend gushing with pride and feeling emotional.  I plan to at least get the ends weaved in so I can wear the shawl at Henley, though, and will endeavour to get some photos of me wearing it, for you.

DSCN0215It turned out exactly like I wanted – the fringe just reaches my hips now, so once it’s blocked it should hang a little lower, and the arms are long and wide enough to drape across my bust very comfortably.  It did take up rather more fibre than I expected, though – I have a single hank about the length of my arm left from the fibre, so we could very easily have had a bit of a panic moment, if spinning had produced just a little more waste!  In the end I was so excited to get it done that I was knitting straight off the spindle without even bothering to hang the yarn, not that it’s done any harm to the end result.


That’s it for now, and I’m very sorry I didn’t give you any Ravelry posts this week.  I’ve been knitting flat-out to get this finished, and simply didn’t have the time.  I’ll have to make it up to you with an extra-large one next week!




The shawl continues to knit up very quickly.  The component pieces are surprisingly easy to knit, and the pattern is satisfying to work on – it’s all yo and k2tog, nothing much complicated, and the pattern makes enough sense that after 10-15 rows on the wings, you can pretty much continue through without stopping to read.  The only thing I’m finding troubling is the way every piece is kept on waste wool.  I already had an emergency moment when the waste wool I was passing the wing onto slipped through the stitches, almost losing half of the work.


I’m not blocking any of the pieces yet.  I want the stitches to be easy to pick up when I join everything together.  It would, admittedly, be nice to block the back piece now so I can more easily get an even circle with it, especially as the only place in my house large enough to pin the finished shawl down on is my bed, but I’m sure that won’t be too much of a problem.


I’ve heard that joining the component parts of the shawl is the hardest part of the pattern, and that figuring out the instructions for knitting the filling-out section between the wings and body is especially tricky.  Fortunately I still have a second wing to knit before I’m at that stage, and I need to get more yarn plyed for that before I start in any case, so I don’t have to face that particular challenge just yet.  I think when I do reach that stage, I’ll transfer my pieces off of waste yarn and onto spare circular needles.  I’ll feel a little more secure, there.

Just a few quick photos – I finished the central spiral section of my Ravenwing shawl – the one made using my gorgeous merino/silk/trilobal custom blend from World of Wools.  I’m about to get started on the first “wing”, but in the meantime, here’s the centrepiece off needles and on waste yarn!  Once again, I’m sorry that every single photo looks slightly different.  It really is an inevitable part of working with such shiny, glossy, complex yarn and I can only hope that the finished shawl will photograph well when I’m wearing it.


It probably isn’t obvious from the pictures, but this section of the shawl is quite large.  The standard pattern calls for this piece to reach shoulder-to-shoulder, and it does, and I expect it to be larger still when blocked.  I’m hoping the bottom of the shawl will fall to my butt at least, because I prefer slightly large shawls to the cute shawlettes.  Since I plyed the yarn larger than called-for, and went up a needle size, I’m confident it’ll be the size I want.DSCN0596

The next bit of the pattern already has me a little confused, though.  If anyone else has worked through the In The Pink shawl on Ravelry and wants to volunteer themselves to give me some advice, I’d be really grateful.  In fact, if anyone has pictures of their knitting they could use to illustrate what the pattern means when it says:

Knit 8 rows, do not turn work at the end of the 8th row

Pick up and purl 4 st from the end of rows, then pick up and knit 3 st from the cast-on edge

Please feel free to comment!  I think I understand what they’re saying, but I can’t quite picture it in my head and it’d be so much easier with a diagram or a photo showing how others did it.DSCN0598

DSCN0570Thank goodness for paranoid duplicate-save-obsessions!  I make it a habit to always download and save a copy of any knitting pattern I’ve picked up on Ravelry – I know you can save patterns to a cloud by adding them to your “library”, but cloud saves are login-dependent, and I worry about what would happen if my entire online world crashed and burned.  Turns out, this was sensible!  Since I’ve not had even slightly enough time or energy to devote to recovering my lost Ravelry account (don’t ask, long story), having a folder full of all my saved patterns has really been a life-saver.

I’ve been working on my Ravenwing Shawl on and off, working with my lovely raven handspun that still refuses to be photographed true-to-colour.  I haven’t made much progress, Life and Time being what they are, but I’m still very pleased with how the yarn is taking to the pattern.  I know a lot of people using the In The Pink shawl pattern like to use dramatically variegated yarns, to make the most of the spiral design, but personally I think patterns like this look best in either a single colour or a sufficiently complex tweedy colour, to show the pattern elements and shaping more clearly.


I can’t wait to see how the finished shawl looks.  Part of me wishes I’d waited and picked up some black, deep purple or pewter beads to add as I worked – the scattered holes that make up the inner edge of the spiral arms of the shawl look like tattered holes into space, and I imagine they’d look amazing with scattered beads glinting in there, to say nothing of the eventual feathered bird-wing edges of the shawl.  I suppose I can always do that with the next shawl I make.  I imagine this yarn would look amazing as a Shipwreck shawl, or Celestarium, both use delicate, subtle beading to great effect.

DSCN0577Of course, there’s no way I have enough fibre here for two shawls, and in any case plying the singles for the Ravenwing is making the yarn far too thick for either of those shawls.  I’ll need to order more fibre to spin up for that (oh, the horror!).  Maybe I’ll experiment a bit modify the blend some.  I’d love to see what the deep, complex blues and purples of the fibre look like without the distraction of glittery thread, and I imagine the finished yarn will also be a lot less fuzzy without it, too.  Maybe I’d add more black, or perhaps I’d throw in extra purple a shade lighter than the rest, to pull the fibre more towards the violet end of the spectrum.

Whatever happens, I’ll be sure to let you guys know!

Just a bit more yarn porn for you.  I’ve started plying the ravenwing singles, and took them out for some photos.  Yes, yet more photos.  I know I’ve been going camera mad with my current handspun project, but I love spinning and, in case I haven’t said it enough yet, I love this fibre!

I finally managed to get one photo, the first ever, that actually shows the real colour of the yarn to some appreciable degree, and it’s this one:

DSCN0492And now for a whole bunch of artsy fartsy fancy photos of my lovely, pretty yarn.  These photos are all comparing a singles skein with a plied one, and the colour looks different in every single one.  I blame the shiny silk in the fibre.  Enjoy.

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