Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Shetland Garden Shawl

When I saw this pattern I knew it had to jump to the head of the To Do list, and I knew exactly which yarn I wanted to use... the first cone of cashmere I bought from Colourmart, which has been quietly sitting and waiting for the perfect project. Here it is:

The photo doesn't really do it justice... it was hard to get the whole shawl into the picture, and the lighting wasn't ideal. Here is a closeup:

Pattern: Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl by Sivia Harding
Yarn: 4-ply Cashmere from Colourmart, approx. 120 gm
Needles: Addi Turbos size US 5
Blocked size: 26" long at center back, 31" from neck to tip at center front

Sivia Harding describes the shawl as "a lacy garden of delights: marguerite daisies, Shetland ferns and Shetland leaves fall gracefully over the shoulders, while rose trellises adorn the bottom border." It is knit from the center top down, and the Faroese shape lets it sit gently on the shoulders without slipping off. It was a pleasure to knit. The charts are easy to follow, though I admit to having blown them up to see them better.

And then there is the yarn. On the cone, it looks more or less like a thin twine you might use to tie up a box. But the Colourmart instructions (and the advice of other users) warn you that it contains oil from spinning and that the finished garment should be washed in HOT water in dishwashing liquid and then... get this... put on low heat in a clothes dryer for a few minutes before blocking. I had done that with a swatch, and the metamorphosis was amazing! Nonetheless, washing a finished object in very hot water was nerve wracking, and I don't think I was able to breathe while it was in the dryer. But when it came out of the dryer, still a bit damp, I could already see how incredibly soft it had become, and blocking did its usual magic on the lace design.

Thank you, Colourmart, for this amazing yarn, and thank you, Sivia Harding, for your beautiful design.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Travel Knitting

For our winter getaway trip to Panama and Costa Rica it was hard to know what knitting project to pack. It had to be
  • small enough to be portable
  • light-weight so as not to be uncomfortable to handle in a warm environment
  • interesting enough to work on in airports, on long flights, and during "down time"
  • simple enough to knit while enjoying scenery, chatting, or watching a movie
After a few false starts I settled on the Lacy Moebius Scarf, using leftover Zephyr laceweight yarn. It met all the above requirements, and it turned out to be the perfect travel project. I swatched and cast on the day before we left home, and finished the last row on the (seemingly interminable) plane-ride home. The only thing left to do was the Kitchener stitch to join the ends, and since I couldn't remember how to do that, the finishing had to wait until our return. Here it is:

Pattern: Lacy Moebius Scarf by Mary J. Saunders
Based on: Roman Stripe pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr laceweight, Aegean Blue, approx. 40 gms
Needles: Addi Turbos #US 3
Modifications: Slipped first stitch of every row
Finished size: 15" wide by approx. 30" around. (I should have measured it before joining the ends together!)

I really enjoyed knitting this scarf. The pattern is simple, with a 7-row repeat, and easy to memorize. Zephyr is delicious to handle and squishes up to practically nothing, and so it was perfect to stick in a pocketbook or backpack. I know the moebius will be a staple of my winter wardrobe, maybe even indoors, now that winter has arrived in earnest.

More about the trip in a few days when I get the photos together...