Monday, May 21, 2012

From knit to next

Once I cast off my last shawl, I was free to begin another. Any delay was only due to indecision. I'd say lack of yarn, but that would be so wrong. Maybe lack of the perfect yarn would be more correct. After fuddling around through the stash for a couple of days, I settled on an almost-cobweb, lace-weight yarn, knitting a bit, then putting the bit aside. Next, I tried holding a cobweb-weight gray merino with a lace-weight pale blue alpaca and, boom, there it was. The yarns blended like a variegated yarn of my dreams, producing subtle color shifts with no pattern, no pooling, just an illusion, a hint of change.

I found an appealing pattern that began with plain stockinette, the Dew Drop shawl by Bex Hopkins, and marched right through until I managed to create a big hole in the middle of the first lace repeat. I was knitting the lace with the merino alone, convinced I didn't have enough of the alpaca to double-strand the entire shawl. Besides the big mistake, I was bothered by the sudden shift from blue-gray to gray. After a hard look, I ripped it all back and started again, settling on a simpler bird-eye lace like those I've seen in several bi-color Aestlight projects. Once I found an agreeable contrasting yarn in my sock yarn scraps, I was eager to get through the lace and a bit of ruffle, ignoring the unevenness of the marled fabric. Although the stitches contorted, I held out hope that blocking would smooth them. I was not disappointed.

That bit of ruffle came straight from a photo on Wendy Bernard's blog. The funny thing is, I didn't pay much attention to her words, just to the photo. (Who would be so inattentive?) Now that I've settled down from my shawl-knitting frenzy, I have read her words and learned that she is teaching a class on that very shawl. Eep. I considered attending, but thankfully clicked around enough to discover that traveling across the country to snag a knitting pattern wasn't necessary. The pattern is a variation of a shawl in her latest book, Custom Knits Accessories, the Sangria shawl. Now I can buy the book and knit the shawl with the fabu edging--and a few other fabu deets, as well.

As regards deets in photos, I've revealed above that I actually do save yarn bands and labels in a big glass cracker jar.  Although they are not very decorative, they do come in handy when I have neglected to record project information in my mad march from one knit to the next.

Another factor in my fascination with Wendy's shawl pattern is coincidence. Her design is red. I had only just become convinced I need to knit a red shawl, convinced by a photo in the latest issue of Knitting Traditions.

The red yarn in that photo is so beautiful.  I've read and re-read the vintage pattern in an attempt to decipher the brief instructions. Although I'm still fascinated with the design, now that I've seen Wendy's pattern, I'm considering that I might just be satisfied with any red shawl. Perhaps the Elle Rae merino I bought to try the vintage pattern would work well for Wendy's.

 Or, I could try to knit the vintage shawl. After all, my vintage take on a baby bonnet came out ok.

There's not a ghost baby in there, just a yarn ball that is too small to represent a baby's head.  It does round out this little bonnet from Knitted Gifts well enough to show off the lace edging.  The edging is part of the lining, actually a second bonnet I knit with Berroco Vintage yarn when I decided the Kid Classic was too scratchy for a new baby.  The second bonnet is sewn into the first one, but could be removed and worn separately.  We'll see what baby wants...

There's even more deets on my project pages in Ravelry, for both the shawl and the bonnet.  Nothing on the red yarn yet, as that decision is likely to change many times from one knit to the next.