Posts Tagged ‘Ravenwing’

 

Excuse the face, my other half spent most of the shoot trying to make me laugh!

Excuse the face, my other half spent most of the shoot trying to make me laugh!

I love this shawl.  It’s like a celebration of Loki, Odin, Freya and Frigga all at once.  Odin, for the raven-coloured yarn and winged shape, Freya, for her cloak of feathers, that she lends to Loki for so many of his adventures, and Frigga for the celebration of spinning and home crafts.  I’m also proud of it because it represents my most handmade item to date.  I wanted to look back on the process of creating the shawl, so here’s some photos and a few reminders of how it came to be.  Not much in the way of words, this is a celebration in pictures.  But, for those of you who want to make your own…

It started with my custom blend from World of Wools.  25% raven merino, 12.5% raven tussah silk, 12.5% each of midnight and aubergine merino, royal blue and amethyst tussah silk and rainbow trilobal nylon, blended the maximum five times.  I love the rainbow colours, but the next time I make the fibre I think I’ll skip the trilobal, add a little more raven silk and blend it a little less, to show off the colours in the fibre better – the trilobal does overwhelm the blend some.  I’d probably also add beading, now I know how the pattern comes together, I could add beads quite easily to really show off the shape.

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“How about you do one of those poncey fashion magazine poses?” “Okay, but no trout pout.” “No you have to trout pout!” “Fine!”

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Obligatory look-at-how-mysterious-and-artsy-I-am pose

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!

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DSCN0199These are not the best quality photos.  My camera is out of batteries, I don’t have the spare cash to replace them and just today managed to scrabble for a couple with just a little juice left by scrounging up every battery-operated item in the house and testing them in turn.  Once I found a pair that had enough juice to turn the camera on, I didn’t dare turn it off again so just grabbed a few photos as quick as I could before the camera died again.

 

DSCN0200As you can see, I finished the construction of the body since my last update, and have made good progress on the edging.  I think I’m about 30-40% done with the edging.  I’ve finished it along the length of the left wing, at least.  It’s actually really quick and satisfying at this stage – the edge pattern is simple and repetitive enough that it didn’t take long to commit to memory, leaving me free to watch whatever shows I feel like while I work.

DSCN0198Of course, the shawl is going to be big,  Which is just how I wanted it.  The standard pattern creates a shawlette just large enough to drape the wings around the chest.  But my version?  The wings were each as long as my arm and hand before I started the edging, and I need to block it after that, as well.  I wanted something generous that I could pull around myself and know that the back was reaching at least my hips, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I’ll get.

DSCN0205I really like how the shawl is constructed.  There is almost no cast-off edge anywhere on it.  The raw edges of the centre circle are taken up by the wings and connecting wedges, and the raw edges of those are taken up into the border, which is taken up along the length.  The edging is worked perpendicular to the body, picking up a stitch every right-side row, with just a few cast-off stitches here and there for shaping.  The result is no right areas, no tension changes and a very smooth, open shape that will probably only need minimal blocking.  I can’t wait to get more done.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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