This year wasn’t as productive of a knitting year as I would have liked, as far as the number of finished knits goes. And sadly, there were a couple knits that I don’t have good pictures of. Le sigh… However, this year marked my first in design ventures, which is exciting! We shall see what 2012 has to bring!
Designing this shawl was a little more problematic for me; not because the stitch patterns were difficult, or the construction was more complicated. Mostly, I think, my problems were due to budding designer syndrome. In other words, not taking the time to really double check my charts, and working 12 rows before realizing that my pattern was slightly off. Or not using a bind off that is loose enough for the scalloped edge. Whoops! This shawl definitely taught me a few valuable lessons, all of which I sorely needed to learn.
It still came out ok, I think.
I really loved the alpaca yarn; I’ve tried knitting lace with alpaca before, and for whatever reason I failed miserably. I just couldn’t get a consistent gauge; it was either too tight or too loose, and I would just get frustrated. This yarn, however, was marvelous to work with, and the blue beads on the edge added a nice, subtle touch.
Last Fall, I married my best friend. It was a day of joy and family, and we had the best friends and relatives to help us celebrate and prepare for our lives together. I was incredibly lucky to have my dress custom-made for me by my incredibly talented and crafty mother, and we designed the gown around this:
My Aeolian Shawl, which I knit up particularly because I wanted to wear something other than a veil. The result was a beautiful, unique piece that I can pass down to my daughter, a new family heirloom, if you will. The thought didn’t cross my mind until after the wedding that other brides might be interested in something similar…
Earlier this year, I took a lace design class taught by the incomparable Sivia Harding at my new favorite LYS, Serial Knitters. She opened up a whole new world to me, not just in the context of triangular shawls, but design in general. My perception of knit design, I realized, had been terribly limited, and I left the class with a seemingly endless stream of ideas for lace designs. My goal was to come up with several polished lace designs to offer to future brides, along with the option to custom design a piece to a bride’s specifications. With the choices in yarn, shapes, stitch patterns, colors and beads, the possibilities are endless! And thus, Spun Love was born.
My first lace shawl design is the piece that I started in Sivia’s class:
I decided to add a center panel where the center stitch usually is.
One of my fellow classmates lamented the fact that she didn’t care much for scalloped edges, which are quite common in lace shawl designs, so I decided to make this edge straight.
The yarn was absolutely exquisite, and it softened up so nicely when blocked. I wore this shawl the other day and marveled at how beautifully the fabric draped. I need more of this yarn!! I also plotted where I could incorporate beads into the pattern.
My second design was knit up in a week. I found out last minute about a vintage wedding show in my neck of the woods, and decided that I had to pump out this little scarf/shawlette in time to take with me.
That’s the same stitch pattern that I used in the center panel of Leaves in the Wind; obviously, it struck a chord with me! This is constructed quite like Sivia’s Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf, and it was a very easy and quick knit. I think I even have enough yarn for another! Part of my reasoning behind using this particularly luscious yarn was the color; what better way to have something blue on your wedding day?
Right now I’m working on my next piece, another triangular shawl. I’m almost to the edge stitch pattern, which I’m planning on knitting up with beads. I had one little roadblock with my charts, and had to rip back twelve rows rather late into the shawl. (Meaning there were many stitches per row!) I’m just chalking that little incident up to my being a noob designer, and have already learned from the experience.
Even though my summer was consumed by the wedding, some knitting still took place and I have FO’s to share! First, a gift for my wonderful Momma:
I was able to give this to her right before my wedding. I love giving her things that I’ve knit; it’s like a thank you to her for teaching me.
Some friends of ours have a baby girl who just turned 7 months old the other day, and I decided that Baby Harper needed a jacket for Fall:
I just love the simple lines of this pattern. The yarn was leftover from the Christmas Hat I knit up for my husband a few years back, and it was sooo perfect for this BSJ! So warm and squishy… Harper and her parents love it!
This next project was one that I had originally picked out some Malabrigo worsted for, then decided that the colors were too much for the cables. The softness of the yarn was perfect, though, so I just picked up another skein of Malabrigo in a different colorway. 😉
The picture still really makes the colors pop and hides the cables, but in person the colors are just enough yet not too overwhelming. It’s my new fav piece; I’m wearing it right now! 😀
My current WIPs are mostly for Socktoberfest, but that’s a whole other post! I also have a few requests from friends that I need to get going on… There’s just not enough time in the day! I’ve also been contemplating the jump into dyeing, and trying to spend more time on my spinning wheel. All of this on top of being a new wife, and trying to figure out where I want my career to go! At least the knitting and spinning affords me some quiet time for contemplation.
Last month, I put my wedding shawl to good use.
Our photographer and his lens loved the shawl. 🙂
My Momma made my beautiful dress; I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect dress!
Oh wow, I really have been slacking… Somehow, the Fall and Holiday season went by so flippin’ fast! I have been doing some knitting, at least, to keep me sane!
Another Aeolian! I loved the pattern so much, I had to do another one. This time I didn’t place the beads where the pattern says to (except the three bead groups in the Agave and Edge Set-up Charts) and instead of doing nupps, I placed beads. With the weight of the yarn I used, I think this was perfect! I also found myself in a major bind; I totally screwed up the middle in the Edge Set-up Chart, and ended up improvising the center edge of the shawl.
It seemed to come out alright, so I’m good with that!
My first ‘real’ colorwork, I wore this hat all Autumn and received many compliments. Love it!
Both of these cowls were Christmas gifts; what a beautiful, quick knit!
New strategy for next year’s Christmas knitting: start early. And when I say ‘early’, I mean ‘now’. 😉
What a weekend! Saturday I drove down to Portland for Sock Summit, which was incredible!! I stayed with a friend in Dallas OR Saturday night, then drove back up to Portland for a class Sunday morning. If I didn’t have to work, I would have been there the whole time! It’s just amazing to walk into a huge conference area surrounded by people that you’ve never met before, and still feel completely at ease with everyone and everything. Knitters are just so neat like that; people from all walks of life, coming together in friendly near-chaos. So cool. 🙂
My class was on knitting lace socks, taught by Anne Hanson. I’ve drooled over and knit up several of her designs, and her blog is a highlight on my RSS feed. Though most of us in the class were already lace knitters, it was fabulous to hear her go over the fundamental basics of lace. I figure there will always be something I can learn from someone who has been knitting since she was five years old. 😉 It was such a wonderful opportunity, and I feel very fortunate to live within driving distance of the Summit, as well to have won the class spot in the lottery. I can’t say anymore that I never win anything!
It was terribly difficult to behave myself in the Marketplace, but I had to. (I’m saving my pennies for a new Macbook Pro.) I decided to not get any more sock yarn, even though I was surrounded by it! I already have enough sitting in my stash, so I turned my focus on other things. My fiber stash isn’t all that great, so I started out by stopping at the Tactile booth to see what they had. Brooke and her darling baby boy helped me pick out a sampler of Alpaca:
Five ounces of the stuff! It’s sooo soft and yummy, and Brooke showed me a new spinning trick. I can’t wait to try it. My next stop was to see Chris from Briar Rose Fibers; her booth was brimming with so many beautiful yarn and samples, I had to sleep on it before I could decide which to buy! The lace bug that has bitten me prevailed, and I walked away with 2500 yards of Angel Face Alpaca laceweight:
2500 yards! More than enough for a couple of decently-sized shawls; maybe one as a gift, and one for me. 😀 Finally, I wanted more fiber, and I kept going back to the Girl on the Rocks booth. Karrie had some wonderful fiber and yarn, and after much deliberation and drooling I bought this:
Superwash Merino, white with dashes of blues, purples and greens, all my favorites in one. LOVE. And there’s nearly five ounces of it, which can get me quite a bit of yarn.
I’ve also been knitting some socks, of course. Last week I started some Roger Socks, as well as a pair of Waving Lace Socks for Anne’s class. I’ve just started the lace socks, and I’m on the heel of the first Roger sock. Socks are so wonderfully portable. I actually found myself knitting on one while I was stuck at a dead stop in traffic during rush hour last week. Yet another example of how incredibly awesome socks are.
I bound off Saturday night, and blocked it on Sunday. The sun has finally come out today, so I’m going to get my boy to take some pics out in the sunlight.
I love the sheen of this yarn. It was so nice to work with, and the fabric it created is just glorious. I still have half of a skein left, which I already have plans for. 😛
I’ve changed my mind about the yarn I want to use for my next Aeolian; I ordered some wonderfully yummy Merino laceweight yarn from The Woolen Rabbit, which I think will be perfect. It’s a deep purple, like the other yarn, but I think it will be interesting to do this shawl in a springy Merino yarn. I’m already swatching to determine what size needles to use, and hopefully I’ll be casting on tonight! Seriously, I think I need an intervention. 😛
I’m getting soooo close to finishing my Aeolian! I’ve finished the first 24 rows of the edging, which means I have 22 rows left. I’ve been really good about inserting a lifeline along the way, usually at the beginning of every chart repeat, although I wasn’t so good about it when I first started. I had to rip back and start over a couple times, and once I finally started putting in lifelines at regular intervals, my mistakes didn’t require such drastic measures to fix! It’s funny how when you have lifelines you don’t really need them, but when you neglect to put them in you pay for it later! In this case, I don’t know if I was screwing up more in the beginning simply because I was getting used to the yarn/needles/beads/pattern, and now that I have the hang of it all I’m just not having many issues. That’s probably the case, but the superstitions about lifelines are still floating around in my brain!
After I finish this Aeolian, I would really like to make the smaller version. This one will still be with Habu Bamboo, which I have in a deep purple. I’m tempted to double up the yarn with the silk stainless steel that I have in a similar color:
I’ll need to make a test swatch and see how it knits up. I still want to use beads, just not as much throughout the shawl. I’ll probably only use them through the agave and edge charts, and maybe in place of the nupps. We’ll see!
Amazingly, this is my first pair of socks knit up with Artisan Sock yarn, and I love this yarn!! Wendee has some amazing colorways, too, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more.
Ok, one more picture of the shawl: