Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aeolian reloaded

Well, I did say I was going to make another. I only had one skein of Malabrigo sockyarn in Violeta Africana to use for this one, so I stuck to the pattern as written for the shoulderette shawl. I did toy with the idea of adding two extra Yucca repeats, but balked at the last minute (or rather, I actually knitted them and then pulled them back) because I didn't know how that would affect yarn use further down the line.

Here is the result, with gorgeously glamorous Toho seed beads purchased from

The amoeboid mass that came off the needles

The Stuck Pig Effect (for more on which see below)

During blocking, on a beach towel lest the yarn stain the carpet

Gothy glamour...

Detail of the Yucca and Agave patterns...

...and a detail of the edge

In the event, I needn't have worried about running out of yarn with the extra Yucca repeats, as I still have 23g left over. But the shawl came out a decent size anyway; it measures 110cm from tip to tip along the top edge, and 48cm from top centre to the bottom. Quite adequate for a shoulderette.

I love the way it looks; the colour is so lush and the beads add an extra touch of glamour. Unfortunately, the yarn doesn't seem to be at all colourfast. The colour actually came off on my hands while I was knitting, and the picture of the shawl soaking in water actually makes the bleeding look less serious than it was. In real life the water was much more purple than the camera chose to see, and the shawl didn't stop shedding colour even after many rinses. I've never had this problem with Malabrigo yarn before, not even with their black laceweight and certainly not with their Dusty Olive laceweight, which is pretty dark as well. But after this experience I'm going to think twice before taking a risk on their darker shades again. It certainly doesn't seem safe to try to wear this shawl over light-coloured clothing; I'd be afraid that it would stain anything that isn't black.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Septifoil beret

These days, when I'm not furiously knitting lace, I'm into hats. And what is it about hats that I seem to end up making them up as I go along rather than sensibly following a pattern? Recently it was a beret with cables starting at the edge and tapering upwards and inwards towards the point. Last week I hit on the idea that it might be fun to walk around with a seven-petal flower on the back of my head.

So here it is. My own improvised Septifoil Beret. Seven petals, hat shaping courtesy of the lacy yarnovers that create the flower, reverse stocking stitch between the petals for extra definition, and a band of simple k1, p1 ribbing... but lengthwise. The band is knitted on like a lace edging for extra firmness and to eliminate the need for kitchenering off all the way around the hat; I started it with a provisional cast-on and then did a three-needle bindoff once I'd got all the way around the brim.

Here be pictures.

The yarn is Schachenmayr nomotta 100% Alpaca (50g=100m), of which I had a couple of balls lying around from a previous project and which I knitted up with 4mm needles. I used up slightly over 1.5 balls for this beret.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Aeolian shawl: Done!

All blocked now, and the ends woven in. Here are a few pictures.

The finished product:

I omitted the beads, but placed groups of three little five-stitch nupplets in the stocking stitch sections of the Agave and Edge Setup charts where it called for three beads in a triangular array. I'm very pleased with the way this turned out; they looked pretty indistinct while I was working them but stand out just enough now that the shawl has been blocked. I would definitely do this again.

And here's the closest thing I could get to an overall shot while it was still pinned out. It came out so big that it's difficult to fit it all in the frame! (It measures about 95cm from the long side to the tip. I did two extra repeats of the Yucca chart because it seemed to be a little on the small side after I'd done the number the pattern calls for. In the event, I needn't have bothered. Though I do like the size that I ended up with.)

I have one bone to pick with the pattern. When you print it out in greyscale, the chart symbols for "P on RS, K on WS" looks identical to the symbol for "place bead". As a result, I worked purl stitches in knit rows on the central spines of the Yucca motifs for fourteen repeats until I referred to the charts onscreen for some reason and discovered my mistake! Luckily it looks all right anyway, but it's still a surprise I could have done without.

Regardless of this nitpick, I love this pattern so much that I'm planning to make another, smaller version. This time I'm going to do the beads, too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not exactly instant gratification...

Is it a pile of discarded styrofoam packaging material...

...or a stranded jellyfish washed up on some nameless beach?


It's an object lesson in the importance of blocking lace! (Also about a kilometre's worth of yarn.)

(Aeolian shawl, just off the needles. Blocking will happen the minute I can find the time.)