Archive for the ‘black swan mantilla’ Category

Test knitters make life much easier for me – in the case of BSM there was no way I could have done a second sample to illustrate the simpler border after all the time I spent on the first one.

Here are the two test knits of the unfringed version, both quite different from mine:

The first is from Alex (Winterstitch on Ravelry) who has done lots of excellent test knitting for me, including Blackbird and Europa. It’s made with Colourmart 100% Extrafine Merino Laceweight which is possibly finer than the Titan Wool Merinos Extra that I used for the original version. The yarn choice seems to have added a shimmering ethereality to this one.

The second, beautifully knit and modelled by Lyn (ladyinlotus on Ravelry), is made with DyeForYarn Tussah Silk Lace, which looks like a slightly heavier yarn, as the garter stitch texture of the border is more apparent. Lyn added extra beads to the border – nine on each point instead of one. (Lyn is notable as one of the few knitters to have completed a Gilded Shoulderette.)

Thank you both for this invaluable help (and for the lovely pictures)! – it’s given me the freedom to get on with other projects in the meantime.

I’ve had a couple of enquiries about the Estonian linen – it’s from a shop called Pronski Longapood in Tallinn (that’s a Ravelry link, it doesn’t seem to have a website). It’s a big department store with a basement full of crafts and a big selection of yarn – the linen was available in a wide range of colours. There were also a couple of smaller shops in Tallinn specialising in linen and flax products which had cones of linen yarn in natural colours. There was a little wooden church on one of the Estonian islands which was insulated with wads of matted flax fibres.

Kerry asked about the Bart and Francis yarns – unfortunately I didn’t actually get to see them that time in London, so I remain intrigued, and hope to see them some day.

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Here are some of the highlights from my yarn stash –

– the bird’s nest of Estonian linen is my favourite item.

The Icelandic Lace weight is from Álafoss, outside Reykjavík – I had a fantastic holiday in Iceland a couple of years ago, and have lots of photos to share at some point…

I’m not sure what will happen with the stainless steel – it’s from the Iknit Weekender in London last September – I went there to meet Bart and Francis from Belgium, who have lots of intriguing yarns on their website.

Yesterday, BSM was finally published, and I celebrated the national holiday with a walk around Luggala and Lough Tay. Mini always enjoys a few gulps of rain water from this rock pool near a precipice. The weather was perfect – dry and bright and slightly chilly.

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BSM pics

Here are some more photos from the development of the BSM.

The early ones date back to January, and show the start of the knitting of the sample shawl. There was a previous round of swatching to establish the best cast on method, the rate of increasing and positioning of the increases, the rate of zig-zagging of the zig zags and where the zig zags should begin relative to the increases, and which stitches should be knit through the back loop, etc. The charts went through a number of revisions, and the knitting went smoothly once the increases and the zig-zags were synchronised gracefully. Beads were initially added along the increasing edge, but have been removed from the final pattern.

A couple of the photos show the knitting-on of the knitted-on edging – my first time attempting such a feat – and it took a couple of attempts to establish a graceful transition from the corner point into the border chart – once this work was done, the knitting was straightforward, but relatively slow – working the fringe is time-consuming, and as usual I wondered why it’s so difficult for me to keep things simple – but I can’t help trying things out to see what will happen…

Then there was the question of how to approach the blocking – I used sewing thread, one length threaded through the beads on the fringe with a small sewing needle, and a second through the outer yarn overs along the increasing edge. Unfortunately (as mentioned in a previous post) it became clear post-blocking that the beaded fringes were incompatible with their adjacent yarn overs, and it seemed that the pattern would have to be reluctantly added to the scrapheap of failed experiments!  But inspiration intervened in the form of the sewn on extra beading. Again, there was some calculation necessary to establish the number of extra beads necessary to maintain the spacing of the fringes. This turned out to be a very enjoyable task, and a great use for materials left over from previous projects. Also, the unexpected little dashes of colour and the extra weight along the lower edge add significantly to character of the shawl.

It seemed like a good idea to include a simpler option for the knitted-on edge – so a final round of swatching commenced. Two wonderful test knitters are knitting this simpler version at the moment.

The story of this pattern is not entirely typical, but hopefully it conveys some idea of the time and effort – the combination of finding and interpreting a theme, inspiration, research, sketching, choice of materials, swatching, calculations, experimentation, risk-taking, chance, persistence, frogging and knitting – that is compressed into my pattern pdf’s in their final published form.

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BSM is finished – just need to double check the bead quantities, and fine tune the pdf –

I’m delighted that Seascape (below) is approaching 1,000 projects on Ravelry, and I’ve just started work on an interesting new version of it – details to follow…

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Black Swan Preview

I was hoping to publish this pattern before going to Germany, but encountered a technical difficulty – the beaded fringes get tangled in the yarn overs!! how disappointing – I’m going to run a thread with extra beads along the bottom of the fringe on this sample, and redesign the border – unfortunately without fringes.

This is the first time I’ve tried a knitted on border.

It’s not really inspired by the film, I just like the name.

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Dublin’s Grand Canal is nearby. I’m working on a Swan inspired pattern at the moment.

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