Spinning Rainbows

Draped over my shoulders right now is the most awesome thing that I have made yet. It is a rainbow of lace, spun, designed, and knit by me. I am so excited about this shawl!

It started out like this –

This is Renee’s 12 Color Rainbow on Mystic MCN Roving from Family Pendragon. Beautiful, yes? Yes.

And a very pleasurable spin it was! I separated out the colors and spun all of one color before moving to the next, being careful to blend the transitions evenly, for a gradient rainbow. The yarn is exquisite light fingering singles in a gorgeous riot of color. (Ravelry page here with notes on the spinning)

I agonized over what to knit with it. I really wanted a half-circle shawl that would accentuate the rainbow, but I couldn’t find just the right one. Then I remembered my handy Elizabeth Zimmerman book collection and inspiration just started coming in waves! I looked up the formula for her Pi Shawl and adjusted it to make a half-circle. It was laughably simple once I got going (seriously – so very simple!).

Once I got the shaping figured out, it was just a matter of choosing lace patterns to knit in the arches between the increase rows. Out came all of my lace stitch dictionaries (and quite a bit of Amazon dreaming, I admit! Oh, what I wouldn’t give for some Barbara Walker treasuries!) and I started knitting. The end result? Fabulous! (if I do say so myself) (Ravelry Project Page here)

I didn’t plan too much at once, just letting myself create over the course of the project. Each time I came to an increase row, I sought out the next lace insert, poring over my lace volumes anew.

The only thing that I really knew was that I wanted scalloped edges, so “Feather and Fan” was the obvious choice for the border.

The other goal was to knit a different stitch for each color. This worked out until the rows exceeded 300 stitches and the color repeats shortened to one inch, but by that time I was ready to start the scalloped edge anyway, so it worked out.

Among the many pleasing bits in this project is the lovely fact that the colors cooperated so well, leaving the dark purple for the bind off. I love the dark edge. Perfect.

Another thing that I love is the way that the various lace patterns work together in a pleasing way, even though I didn’t plan them. I was a little concerned that my haphazard method was going to produce something that looked, well, haphazard. On the contrary, I think it looks pretty good, and there are very few things that I would change (one of them being that I wish the orange section was less geometrical and looked more like leaves, as I imagined that it would). The yellow section is inspired by the Kai Mei socks, altered to make an all-over pattern, and the orange section I totally made up myself. For the other patterns I used Vogue Knitting Stitchionary vol 5 for guidance, but tweaking it to my liking along the way.

It is quite a thrill to start with a wad of wool and turn it into something so lovely, and even more thrilling to start with a plan and actually accomplish the goal almost perfectly.

And, though all the girls are vying for ownership, I think this one is for me.

Advertisements

A Spunky Rumpus KAL

This was a cool knit along to be a part of. The pattern was really a recipe so everyone has a different shawl at the end. This is how mine turned out.

 

Rumpus Recipe Shawl in Family Pendragon Mystic MCN Sport, Eden and Family Pendragon Superwash Merino/Silk, Violet (trim for Miss Giraffe). Modeled by my darling Dancing Queen who, upon hearing my input for her poses, informed me, “Mama, I have modeled for you before” in and oh, so teenager tone.

She’s right. She has. And she is a natural. Until she gets goofy.

 

But, back to the shawl. To get the idea of scale, here it is on me.

 

Three things about this knit.

1. I love knit alongs! I love the chit chat, the exchange of ideas, the friendly incentive to keep going (and to finish). I love to see how one pattern can turn out so different when knit by different people and with different yarns. This one was especially fun because of the mix and match nature of the pattern, and because the people in this Ravelry group are so fun.

2. I love Family Pendragon! Every yarn, every fiber, it is all perfectly lovely. I love the colors and the textures. They do not disappoint. Check it out!

3. I love the way the layered ruffles look! I did not, however, love how long it took to knit them. Don’t even get me started on the binding off. Whew! The last row and bind off of the last ruffle took me an hour! But it was good movie knitting. And I love the end result!

Anything else that I have to say about this knit (and there was quite a bit) I said on my Ravelry project page here.

And with that, Christmas knitting is officially begun. Wanna guess who this is for?

 

 

Frivolity

It feels good to have some lace on the needles again.

Sure, I always have a lace project in progress (or two…. or three). Alas, the time that is required to concentrate on such complicated frivolities has been quite limited as of late. As in, I’d rather spin. Ha! The lace has been taking up needle space and collecting dust for a few months, now. Untouched, unloved.

Actually, the three lace projects that I currently have on the go have been collecting dust because my knitting has been more utilitarian. I need to make a baby gift for so-and-so. I must finish this sweater for a customer. I should get that test knit finished. And while I would love to while away my time on complicated lace shawls that have no purpose in my life whatsoever, there just aren’t enough hours in my day.

That is why I jumped at the chance to test knit a lace shawl for Cosy. At last, a lacy knit that has a deadline and a reason and a sense of urgency that my other lace projects utterly lack. Besides, look at this shawl that I am testing. Beautiful, right?

And another look:

Mary Louise Shawl in Cosymakes Snapdragon Light Fingering, Red (Raveled here, and Cosy’s finished shawl here)

It feels so good to be working on lace again. And not just because it is so stimulating and interesting. Not only for its delicate beauty or the gorgeous yarn. Not merely for the charm of turning a chart into art. All of that is true, to be sure. But at this moment right now, I am taken with the way an entire large shawl project still fits inside my new knitting bowl. (From Blue Room Pottery on Etsy. A “Happy Nothing Day” gift from the Mother-In-Law from Heaven)

Oh, sweet frivolity!