Posts Tagged ‘WIP’

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.

DSCN0561

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!

Things are going well with my shawl WIP.  I’ve started work on the lace portion, which will make up the rest of the shawl until I reach a point I’m happy to end at, and I have another couple of nifty little free tools to share with everyone.

As you know from my previous posts on the matter, I’ve been making careful use of shawl cheat sheets to ensure my project comes out the right shape and size.  This is fine for solid or colourwork shawls, but when it comes to incorporating a repeating lace pattern into work, things get a little more difficult.

Lace uses increases and decreases to create shape and attractive designs, but it only works if the increases and decreases cancel out, so the final shape isn’t altered.  In addition, a professional-looking shawl needs the lace pattern to start and end showing a full set of repeats, which means the lace pattern needs to fit neatly into the number of stitches you have.  Balancing these two issues can be tricky, but I’ve found even more tools that are very helpful.

The first is the KnitChart, an in-browser Java program that lets you create charted lace, cable or colourwork patterns and which tracks the increases and decreases in each row, so you can check to make sure they cancel out.  Be warned, the program is a little buggy – I sometimes have to load it a couple of times to get it to work – but it’s an invaluable tool for planning out lace designs.

And once you’ve figured out your lace pattern, the next essential tool I’ve been enjoying is the stitch pattern calculator, yet another fun freebie from the Laylock blog.  Once you have your lace pattern, simply count the number of stitches for a single repeat, count the total stitches on your shawl and plug them in.  If there is a discrepancy, not only will the pattern tell you how many stitches out you are for X number of repeats, but how many stitches to increase or decrease by for a perfect fit!

Designing a Shawl – WIP

Posted: 07/04/2013 in Knitting
Tags: , , , ,

Just a couple of quick photos of my WIP shawl.

A quick look at the bit I've done.

A quick look at the bit I’ve done.

As you can see, I’m going for a fairly robust, gender-neutral shawl.  The main part of it is knit solid and I plan to finish with a nice bit of pretty, but not too delicate, lace.  Probably incorporating nupps or other bold, textural elements.  I didn’t want the main body to be too plain, so rather than knitting in stockinette stitch I’ve gone for a nice, textured surface that will hopefully look pretty cool once it’s blocked.

I wish you could see the pattern a bit more clearly

I wish you could see the pattern a bit more clearly

The yarn used is a DK weight yarn, and I hope the finished piece will be useable as a wrap for the head, a shawl or a scarf when it’s done.  I’ll keep you apprised of my progress!