Posts Tagged ‘Shawl’

 

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.

This is what happens when you save a draft of a post but fail to schedule it to publish on time.  Oops.

Summer is here!  Summer is here!  And it’s instantly too hot for me to cope.

I’m a cold-weather girl.  Short, stocky, pale and grey eyed with ancestry solidly in the colder parts of Europe – Scotland and Lithuania.  I don’t do well with the heat.  Knitting at this time of year always starts to become a bit of a chore for me if I’m working on anything above DK weight, so you’ll probably see a lot more embroidery and sewing for the next few months, except my Ravenwing of course.  I’m determined to finish that soon!

I’ll still keep on with my Ravelry Mondays and Freebie Fridays, though!  Just because it’s too warm to knit until after dark doesn’t mean I can’t add new patterns to my to-do list!

Freebie Friday rules are a little different to Ravelry Monday rules, and are as follows:

  • The pattern needs to be free.
  • The pattern does not HAVE to be a Ravelry download, but must be listed on Ravelry.
  • The pattern must have a photo clearly showing the item.
  • The pattern still needs to produce a professional looking item and have the necessary information for potential makers.
  • Clothing for adults must still be available in plus sizes.
  • An item showcased on Freebie Friday may still be showcased on Ravelry Monday, if it fits the brief for that day.

 

Muh Muhs

What could be better for knitting in the hot Summer weather than a thick, solid shawlette knit in bulky weight wool?  I kid, of course,  But the Muh Muhs is a very nice shawl pattern, something handy to work on in preparation for the colder weather on the way, and as a bulky weight item would be fairly quick to knit, so could be worth saving in your library for emergency Christmas gift!  This shawlette pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

 

So Sweet Shawlette

This is very much the Week of Shawls for Freebie Friday.  There were other patterns available, but many didn’t meet the requirements as listed above, so shawls are very much dominating this post!  The So Sweet Shawlette is as sweet as the name, knit in fine laceweight yarn with thick stripes and an airy lace pattern.  This is a perfect Summer shawl – the solid design keeps the sun off delicate shoulders, but the whole thing is light enough not to weigh you down or leave you overheating.  This shawl is available as a free Ravelry download.

 

Uncommon Ivy

Something a little different, this time.  An unusual, aran-weight scarf with striping in a colour gradient and a pattern of leaves and stems running along the length.  It’s certainly an unusual pattern and I’d be interested to see how knitters play with the design.  The pattern is not avalable for download on Ravelry itself, but the Ravelry page here links to the download website.

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This shawl pattern knits up very quickly, once you get the hang of it.  I’ve made both wings, and am well on my way to grafting the whole thing together before starting on the border.  The instructions for grafting look completely overwhelming at first, but if you just take it one row at a time and don’t think too much about what the pattern is doing, it works.

The waste yarn used to hold the stitches in place doubles up brilliantly as a lifeline once you start the grafting, and while I still think I’d rather have used a spare circular needle for each part, I can see why it’s done this way.  I’m just using kitchener stitch to graft, and again it’s one of those things that seems overwhelming, but is fine so long as you just concentrate on each stitch and don’t try to think ahead.

DSCN0162Of course, this is the part where knitting starts to get a bit exhausting.  Extending the edge from the left wing, across the back and joining to the right wing took no more than 30 minutes, and grafting the right wing to the back took maybe 15 minutes total.  I could’ve got the left wing grafted the same way in no time at all, but I just HAD to put the work down and take a break.  It’s not difficult work, but it is easy to mess up and takes a lot more concentration than normal knitting.  I hope to get the grafting finished today, at which point I’ll take a break and spin up some more of the fibre before I get started on the next stage.

I’ve also been doing a lot of baking, recently.  My sourdough starter has really developed into something robust and lively, and I’m getting some gorgeous loaves out of it.  It seemed right to make a couple of plaits as an offering, which is exactly what I did a couple of nights ago.

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There’s a thick tree stump in the churchyard outside my house – the tree was felled a couple of years ago, but the stump is alive with whip-like new growth and surrounded with other plants and mushrooms.  It’s as far from dead as you can get, and the flat top makes a fantastic offering table.  I made two plaits, individual sized, and left them on here drizzled with honey.  I figured once the Gods had what they wanted, the local fauna would take the rest, and I was right!  The area here is alive with birds and squirrels, and I hope they made the most of the treat!