Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More September Knitting

In addition to LeLe's Square Shawl, I started two other projects in September. One was a pair of socks, which I completed; the other was a shawl, which I started at the end of the month and didn't complete until early October.

The socks were Wendy Johnson's Diamond Gansey Socks, from her book Socks from the Toe Up. I knit these socks for a fellow knitter, with yarn she provided. The socks were knit with Knit Picks Shadow Tonal in the Dusk colorway. The yarn was 30 percent silk, and because of the silk content, the socks aren't as stretchy as socks made of all wool yarn or of wool-nylon yarn. The ankles (to me) seemed baggy, but they fit the recipient, which is all that matters. I started these socks on 15 September and finished on 26 September. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

The shawl was a test knit. It's called the Sabrina Shawl, and it was designed by Marisa Hernandez. It was a fun---and fast---knit, and the shawl is lovely. I knit this shawl in Dream in Color Smooshy (one of my favorite yarns) in the Visual Purple colorway. My shawl required a bit more than one skein of yarn (477 yards) and was knit on a US5 needle.

I started this shawl on 28 September and finished it on 06 October, so it only took eight evenings to knit. In the photo at right, I'm modelling the shawl at my LYS (local yarn store) for the lace knitting group I lead on Tuesday afternoons.

I've been thinking about bigger projects---sweaters, specifically---but I'm trying to complete several projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while before I start a sweater. I've also been working on my next-to-last Christmas project (a shawlette for my son's fiancee).

What are you knitting or thinking about knitting?


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Danish Work Shawl

In August, I test knit the pattern for Marilla's Very Practical Shawl by Rachel Henry. The shawl is named after a character in Anne of the Green Gables, Anne's practical friend, Marilla. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

This was my first ever attempt at a Danish work shawl. Although I liked the shawl, as a design engineer, I found the method of construction (which I was told was traditional) extremely inefficient. Since I can easily think of several other, much simpler ways to knit this shawl, I won't be knitting any more traditionally constructed Danish work shawls.

The bottom edging of the shawl was knit first. (The photo below shows the corner of the edging, which became the bottom tip of the shawl.) Then, with a lap full of edging, you knit the thirteen stitches at the bottom center and worked your way up the sides, increasing a couple stitches each row.

The lap-full of edging was a constant problem, with the two ends flapping in the breeze, so to speak, while the body of the shawl was knit.

Once the body of the shawl was knit, the top edging was knit on, then the final tail of the shawl was knit.

The shawl was BIG! The final dimensions were:
shawl body (excluding ties): 72 by 47 inches;
shawl including ties: 140 by 47 inches.

To help you better appreciate the shawl's size, the model in the photo is just under six feet tall, with junoesque proportions, and the shawl fit her with room to spare.

I knit this shawl with Dream in Color Classy in the Dusky Aurora colorway. My shawl used 1038 yards (4.15 skeins). I started the shawl on 03 August and finished it on 26 August.

As an engineer and a designer, if I were to create a shawl like this, I would knit the body of the shawl from the top down, then knit on the edging (neck  edging and bottom edging) and the ties. It would look the same---and use the same stitch patterns---but it would be far less awkward to construct.

It is not my intent to malign Danish work shawls, traditional methods of construction, or knitters who enjoy both. I do not know the history and traditions behind Danish work shawls. I don't know the reasons for the traditional method of construction. All I am saying is that this particular method of shawl construction did not appeal to me.


August-September Shawl

My late August and early September shawl was LeLe's Square Shawl by Nancy Bush from her book, The Knitted Lace of Estonia. My shawl was knit in Fiesta Gracie's Lace in the Arctic Ice colorway. This gorgeous shawl looked challenging, but it used the same basic stitches as any other shawl. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

The shawl was constructed from the bottom up. The bottom diamond panel was knit first, then the center square and side panels, then the top diamond panel was knit. Finally, stitches were picked up along the sides and from the provisional cast-on to knit the edging.

I encountered a slight problem, due to misreading my knitting. As I neared the end of the side and center panels section (which did not have the same number of rows in each pattern repetition), I realized that I had only two rows left in the side panels section, but six rows left in the center section. I had to fudge a bit to work out the problem, but the difference is barely noticeable. (I later determined that I had twice skipped two rows in the side panel section; when I should have knit yarnovers on top of the yarnovers in the row below, I started shaping the upper half of the diamond.)

I started this shawl on 17 August and finished on 13 September 2011. Although the pattern stated that 1100 yards of yarn were required, I only used 860 yards.

What have you been knitting? Have you planned your fall and winter knitting yet? I'm starting to think about sweaters.


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