After a tiny shawl in laceweight with nupps I wanted something a bit more substantial. Meet Kassiani.
This is a lovely semi-circular shawl with a half-pi construction. That makes it a joy to knit, with each section providing an easy level of reward and a pleasing sense of progress before moving on to the next.
The factor that was new for me with this one was the yarn- it’s Triskelion Mona 4 ply, which is a blend of alpaca, silk and linen. Linen is a notoriously marmite fibre to work with. Some people love it for its drape and rustic heritage, but others report it can be a pain to work with, feeling papery and rough in the hands, even if after blocking it apparently turns soft and silky.
This blend with alpaca and silk was a great way of dipping my toe into the water of working with linen. The linen adds structure and heft to the alpaca, and compliments the drape and colour saturation of the silk. The result is a shawl that drapes well and that I’m confident will hold its shape and blocking for some time to come. The blend of fibres gives it a rustic, slightly tweedy effect that adds to the knitted result. This is definitely not a yarn to be using where you want a delicate result.
This was a two-skein pattern, so it makes a substantial shawl. The semi-circle is a practical shape that means it can double up as a scarf as well as a shawl.
J has probably been the hardest project in this A to Z of shawls. For some reason I really didn’t connect with the pattern I chose. On the face of it, the June Bride Shawlette was exactly the palate-cleanser I needed after Ishneich – a simple, single colour, lace shawlette from a single ball of laceweight yarn, and with a bit of challenge from nupps in laceweight.
But, oh, I struggled.
I just couldn’t get excited by this project, and I actively avoided picking it up. Which is ridiculous for such a tiny project.
And tiny it is. A little wisp of a scarflette, that I definitely wouldn’t call a shawlette. Just enough to wrap round your neck, and that’s about it. Compare it to some of my other FOs shown on the same chair, in the same position, and you can see how tiny it is.
But on the other hand – nupps! In laceweight! Yes, I cheated and used a crochet hook to form them on the RS row. But that’s another new skill mastered, and I found them much easier in laceweight than I did in 4ply. So that’s a thing!
The pattern is by Lidia Tsymba. The yarn was a single skein of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace (a solid, commercially dyed pure merino laceweight) that I picked up for about £3 in a John Lewis sale.
I was glad to finish this one. If only because it meant I could move on and start something else. Ah well.
Time for another FO.
This is Ishneich. Pattern by Lucy Hague, part of her Celtic Cable Shawls collection.
This is another project that continues to push my knitting boundaries. I’ve tried once again to be a bit bolder with use of colour. This is a two-colour shawl, but this time it mixes two colours – one semi-solid, one variegated – rather than a colour with a neutral.
This is also a project with a new technique for me – closed loop cables. This is a technique perfect for creating Celtic-inspired knotwork like in this pattern. It’s definitely the trickiest set of charts I’ve ever worked with. Long chart repeats combined with cabling on both sides and a garter stitch background required a lot of concentration and faith in the pattern. Particuarly as to deliver the elegant sweeps in the cabling there is little predictability in the charts.
But I’m really delighted with how it’s come out. It’s a grown up shawl, big on texture rather than fussiness of lace. And the 4 ply yarn means it will eb snuggly and relatively robust.
The yarn is Qing Fibre Merino Single in Okinami (the semi-solid teal) and Elderwood (the variegated). Definitely a dyer worth looking at if you like super-saturated and sophisticated dyeing.
For H in my A to Z of shawls I’ve opted for Holyrood by Justyna Lorkowska. It’s a great casual shawl to throw on at the weekend for a bit of warmth and a pop of colour.
The pattern is a lovely mix of lace and texture, with multiple techniques on the go. It includes mosaic knitting, stripes, garter stitch, chevrons, lace and a wonderful textured rib. That gives it a lot of interest when you’re knitting, engaging you as you work and making you keen to get to the next section.
The yarn I used was Companion 4 ply from Third Vault Yarns. The purple is called Inara, and is one of the first skeins I ever bought from Lola. It’s a much more variegated finish than later skeins of Inara. The grey is Dragon Scales, which has subtle shadings of green and purple within it. The two work really well together.
I’m trying to get bolder with my colour pairings. Both of the two-colour shawls I’ve made as part of this project have included a neutral (grey) as one of the colours. The next step will be to use non-neutrals, and maybe more variegated skeins.
The next in the A-Z of shawls is Glenallen.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, this is another monster of a laceweight shawl. It took well over 900m of yarn, and has made a massive triangular shawl.
I loved the angular geometry of this design. It’s all diamonds and triangles, in a triangle shaped shawl. But it was not an easy one to knit. The charts were not at all intuitive to follow, and it needed quite a bit of care to make sure that the design flowed and followed. There is plenty of variation as the pattern develops, with each motif flowing into the next in a very pleasing way.
The yarn is some laceweight I’ve had in my stash for a while – Schoppel-Wolle 6 Karat in a shade called Rot Gewinnt. It works out in a heavy laceweight, and is a lovely variegated heavy laceweight yarn with a red base but flashes of green and purple throughout. If I have one quibble, it’s that this is a very splitty yarn that was at times a pain to knit with. I’m very glad there were no nupps in this pattern – I could see this yarn being a real pain for things like that. But it’s blocked beautifully, and really opened up to show the lace design.
The pattern is by Dee O’Keefe. I’ll certainly keep an eye out for more of her patterns.
I’ve been really remiss lately about posting knitting and craft content, but that means I have a pile of FOs to tell you about.
First up is D in my A-Z of shawls. This is Dancing Butterflies. The pattern is by Carfield Ma.
I’ve been trying to get a bit more adventurous with my colour choices when I knit. In particular, I’ve been trying to experiment with more variegated yarns. This is another amazing colourway from Lola of Third Vault Yarns. It’s called Deep Space, and is a lovely rich mix of purple, turquoise and blue, on her heavy laceweight base Tesseract. I’ve matched the yarn with some rainbow coated beads in the same colour mix – they look like the refraction of colours you get on spilled oil.
I was careful to pick a pattern for this yarn where the stitch count is constantly changing, to try to avoid pooling. I was really paranoid about some patches of pooling that were appearing as I was making it, but they don’t show up nearly as much in the finished shawl as I thought they would.
I think the semi-circular shape helps avoid too much pooling. And semi-circular shawls are just so wearable, aren’t they?! This one is another that’s loosely inspired by the German lace designs of Niebling, giving those lovely complex designs. The heavy laceweight means it’s quite a bit more open and less delicate than some other shawls I’ve made, but the bold design and colour choice mean it goes with so much.
Onto E. If all goes well, she should be a real stunner of a shawl …
Two FOs in one week?! I am spoiling you. This is Ceciliana, next in the A-Z of shawls.
The sharp-eyed among you will have spotted that there is no lace here. With Ceciliana I’ve tried another technique that is new to me: mosaic knitting. This is a style of colourwork knitting, but unlike fair isle there are no floats running at the back of the work,, making it much more flexible, stretchy and less stiff. And unlike intarsia there are no pesky bobbins to contend with. Instead, the pattern is made using slipped stitches, with each of hte two colours of yarn used on alternate rows of garter stitch.
It works up really quickly and is very satisfying to knit. Just like any other colourwork pattern, there is a chart to follow. The trick is just getting your stitch counts right. As always, stitch markers are your friend. It’s definitely a technique I will try again when I want a hit of colourwork without the faff.
I really like the textured effect the garter stitch and mosaic knitting style gives this shawl. The two shades of grey (a lovely silver and a darker slate colour) give it a very modern look and feel. The grey was hard work for me to knit (my mood is strongly affected by colour, and subdued colours = subdued me) but the overall look is modern and sophisticated, and I can see it going with lots of things. This is a practical shawl that I can see myself wearing a lot this autumn.
The pattern is by Lisa Hannes, who has a number of patterns for shawls of this style using mosaic knitting on Ravelry. This one is a shallow crescent, and incorporates short row shaping to create wedges of the colourwork pattern, as well as the bands of the diamond motif.
The yarn is Travelknitter’s Silky Merino, a 50/50 silk and merino blend in a ply weight This is the yarn I bought at Festiwool in Hitchin last year. It’s a great yarn to work with and I’d really recommend it – perfect for projects like this and the colour range is superb.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an FO. So here is Brina, the second in my A-Z of shawls.
Brina is a crescent shawl with short-row shaping, from the queen of that technique, Susanna IC. The pattern is from Twist Collective, one of my favourite pattern sites.
Brina was the chance for me to vanquish one of my knitting demons: nupps. For the uninitiated, nupps are a particular type of bobble, common in Estonian lace knitting. They create quite a flat bobble, unlike the more pronounced bobles typical of Wastern knitting styles. They are conventionally worked by increasing stitches in one row, and then purling them together on the next WS row. Being able to do that depends on leaving your stitches loose enough that you can manipulate them on the reverse row, with the added trickiness of putting a needle through and then purling together anything up to 7 stitches. I frogged an entire lace shawl once out of frustration at not being able to master the nupps in it. So I was determined to learn how to do them.
I’m afraid I cheated a bit on this shawl. I used the crochet hook method. It involves finishing the nupp on the RS row, and using a hok to pull the yarn through all the loops. It may be cheating, but it worked. It’s definitely a technique I will use again.
The yarn I’ve used here is Nimu Lingmell. It’s a lovely spatter-dyed wool/silk blend in a 4ply weight and this skein was in a 150g size that was the perfect yardage for this pattern. The colourway is called Bright Flashes of Panic, and it was part of a limited edition yarn club run by the dyer a couple of years ago. Nimu sadly don’t produce much yarn at the moment (the dyer has gone back to full-time education, which is taking up her time) but if you watch the Nimu Facebook page you will occasionally see a destash or a summer yarn club like the one where I got this yarn.
The shawl blocked out to be a lot shallower and wider than I was expecting, but that makes it the perfect length to wind round one’s neck loosely while still displaying long tails. It’s a great extra layer for those coool early Autumn days.
One of my aims for this year, is to make a bit more of a dent in my stash of laceweight and sock yarn. So, inspired by a friend of mine, I’ve decided to copy her idea and start an A to Z of shawls. It’s a pretty simple idea: pick a pattern from my ever-growing queue on Ravelry that starts with the appropriate letter, match yarn to it and get knitting.
First up, is Alberta.
The pattern is by Anne-Lise Maigaard. It is based, in part, on the famous designs by Herbert Niebling. Niebling is known as the father of modern lace knitting. He collected and documented traditional lace knitting patterns, and they are still used as the inspiration for modern patterns.
Despite the complexity of the design, this was a surprisingly easy and fast shawl to knit. There is a lot of interest in the design, which made me really want to keep picking up my needles to make progress.
The yarn is Sparkleduck‘s Harmony, in a colourway called Rosemary Remembers. It’s a 50/50 merino silk blend, which I bought at Festiwool. It’s quite a subtle colourway, but I love the bright flashes of violet and lime green that pop through it. To me, they are suffragette colours, which is one of the things that drew me to this skein of yarn in the first place.
It turned out I also had the perfect beads in my stash too. These are a 6/0 bead in a pretty pink with an AB coating. That iridescent AB coating perfectly matches the variegation in the yarn. The weight of the beads also adds a lovely drape to the shawl. I used around 62g of beads in all (of the 66g that I had), and was panicking that I was going to run out of them – these were not the most uniform of beads, and I had a lot of mishapes and discards to get rid of.
But I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. Onto the letter B …