January 30, 2015

New Pattern: Wicker Asymmetrical Shawl

Meet Wicker, my just-released (and a very quick knit) asymmetrical garter stitch and openwork triangular shawl.

Did I mention that this pattern is completely reversible, so there is no right or wrong side once it has been blocked?  How fabulous is that!?

I'm afraid I didn't have any supermodels on hand when I took these pictures, so I had to use myself.  Many thanks to my two photographers who thought they were being tortured were very happy to act as my photographers.  The pictures were taken in my back yarn; thus, the pictures may also include an occasional hungry sheep.

The name, Wicker, comes from the openwork panels of this shawl.  The design, when blocked, appears to be very similar to the traditional wicker furniture pattern that I grew up with.  If you are old  young like I am, and you grew up in the '70s and '80s, then you will recognize this pattern from the wicker furniture craze.  Come on.  You know you your parents had some, and it was probably not patio furniture, am I right?

I have to confess that I rarely use a shawl as such; rather, shawls double as scarves for me.  This pattern makes a REALLY attractive scarf, by the way.

When you look at this shawl, know that this shawl is actually 2 separate sock patterns, worked and ripped a total of 5 times, in addition to being this shawl, which also includes about 30 invisible rows of knitting in its current form. I had originally planned to use my favorite Journey colorway, Cappadocia, to knit up one or the other of two new sock patterns that I've done (coming soon!), but the yarn had other designs for its eventual existence, and so we have this nifty shawl pattern.

There does need to be a quick note about this pattern and my own style of knitting.  Since I am a European Continental knitter these days, I knit all of my flat rows through the back of the loop.  With garter stitch, since there is no purling, this causes the stitches to twist.  You do not have to knit like I do in order to work up this pattern, though your finished product may look a bit more like traditional garter stitch rows and a bit less like woven rows.  OR, you could try it my way and you might find that you really like this simple method.  There's a note to this effect in the pattern.

The pattern is available through this blog (left-hand side links), on Ravelry, on Craftsy, and in my Zibbet.com shop as a pdf download.  I hope you will check it out the next time you are in the neighborhood!

January 21, 2015

To the elbows

I am nearing completion of a sweater that I have been working up for about three months.  The sleeves are nearly finished and this brings me to a realization about my own knitting.  I rarely knit sweaters, though I have drawings and charts on my bulletin board waiting to be realized and I have a gazillion--wait, maybe that's too much of an under-estimation--sweater patterns printed and in binders, plus a library of magazines and books, and let's not forget my Revelry library ... The point is, I LOVE SWEATERS!! I pine all through the warm months for sweater weather, and when it gets here, I have no new hand knits to show for it.  Oh, I have sweaters on needles in bags in hibernation that I have started and abandoned. I have a few hand knits in the closet, even if they became sweater accidents and felted to a size too small for me to wear, but there are very few.

So, why is that Captain Ron?

It's the sleeves.  I can work up a back and 2 fronts in a jiffy, but once my needles and I get to the sleeves, things go South pretty quickly.  It's knitting like mad to the elbows and then I've had enough and I need a new project.  And guess what?  I've knit to the elbows on this sweater and I'm already thinking about how I should maybe cast on for something else, even though this test knit is all that is standing in the way of publishing my new sweater pattern (and it's fabulous, by the way!). I've even been knitting the sleeves 2-at-a-time on the premise that when one's done, so is the other and there won't be a chance for second-sleeve syndrome to set in.  It's not working. I'm not really working on these sleeves and thinking "Wow!  Look how fast these TWO sleeves are knitting up!"  I'm thinking "Wow!  This is really getting cumbersome."

So I'm at the elbows and I guess we'll see just how much further this goes. With any luck, I'll make it to the collar by the end of the week.

January 15, 2015


How about some new yarn for the new year?

Introducing JOURNEY. This 100% superwash merino is your next favorite yarn. Squishy. Soft. Hand painted in small dye lots.  Each hank is unique in its patterning. This is the yarn that you will want to carry with you on all of life's journeys, even if you are only journeying to work or to the grocery store.

Each colorway is representative of a landscape or a cityscape that is a bucket list kind of destination.  The colors in each hank are representative of some overarching quality of the destination.  For example, Lerwick is a sea port in Shetland that is characterized by its fishing industry history and the beautiful seascape that is such an integral part of this village.

Norris Point, Newfoundland is a western coastline town around which visitors and natives are sure to find wild lingonberries.  Nature enthusiasts enjoy lengthy nature trails through bogs, hillsides, and cliffscapes.  Here lingonberries are called "bake apples", and the restaurants of the region serve them in "apple pies". Yum!!

Norris Point
Avignon, France.  Although this area of the French provincial countryside is a bit more out of the way than most tourist destinations, this agrarian landscape boasts, among many others, the stunning Abbey Notre-Dame de Senanque.  This stone abbey, built in 1148, exists in remarkably preserved condition, having been used as a monastery through 1988.  In the summer months, this amazing architecture is surrounded by fields of lavender.
 Ah, Glen Coe.  This is one of those idyllic countrysides that epic movies and romantic poems are written around. The highlands of Glen Coe, Scotland are both stunningly green and inviting and historically important.  When I think of sheep grazing on lush green pastures near small, quaint villages, these highlands automatically come to mind.  The highlands are accompanied by surrounding mountains of volcanic origin, so this is also a bucket list destination for hiking and climbing.
Glen Coe
Speaking of volcanic origins, I first became aware of the mythical Cappadocia in Anne Rice's novel Lestat. Curious to see if people really carved there homes in contemporary times into the face of rock and outfitted them with all the modern conveniences, I, of course, googled it.  Yep. They do, and some of these homes are AMAZING! What is also amazing are the Byzantine cathedrals with gold-leaf walls and breathtaking ceiling frescoes.  Of course, the mythology of the place is, like Stonehenge, centered around some unusual rock formations, the "Fairy Chimneys". These look like very tall mushrooms of similar shape and size that remain to remind visitors of a more ancient time. 


Hey, I think you have a little drool on your lip.

These colorways are available in limited quantities in my Zibbet.com shop, so click the link and pop on over because you know you want this yarn!

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