I read about fractal spinning and had to try it out. Like magic, colorful high-contrast fiber fluff became self-striping-ish prismatic handspun. I absolutely adored the finished yarn, but it needed to be knit up into something special.
Pattern searches left me unsatisfied — the only solution was to design the perfect stole. My requirements: mostly stockinette, with just enough pattern to keep my interest without distracting from the colorful yarn.
Nahant highlights the color changes of my fractal handspun with a subtle leaf pattern that doesn’t fight for attention. Knit on the bias, it resists curling. Use any weight yarn (just choose the appropriate needle), and make it as wide or as narrow as you like. Length is flexible too, so you can make the most of that precious handspun yarn.
Extra thanks to Donna (who helped me get photos at Nahant Beach for submission to Knitty) and Rebecka (who modeled “springier” pictures for me, as per Knitty’s quite reasonable request).
I first encountered White Birch‘s amazing self-striping colorways at Stitches East. I picked up two skeins of her DK-weight 100% SW Merino, in part because I recognized the base yarn (Crazy Eight, from Wool2Dye4). I’m familiar with Crazy Eight, because Kate uses it too! I love this bouncy 8-ply yarn that straddles the line between sport and DK. Knowing the base made it easy to invest in the dyer at White Birch — and her self-striping colorways are fantastic, so I really wanted to take some home.
Finding the right pattern for this spectacular colorway — “Emo Enough?” — took some time. I cast on a number of projects and ripped, ripped, ripped. Eventually I settled on the Knitted Scarf Butterflies pattern, marking my first time doing entrelac. To my surprise, the back-and-forth rhythms of entrelac knitting were soothing and fun! Each tier of tilting rectangles feels like an accomplishment. Each rectangle has a single cable cross, further livening things up. This isn’t entrelac for newbies, but it certainly is a nice, chewy knit — and the results speak for themselves.
Alas, my yarn didn’t go as far as I’d hoped … my FO was not quite long enough for a scarf or doubled-up infinity scarf, and was a bit long for a single-loop cowl. No amount of thuggish blocking got me anywhere near the length I needed, so I played a bit with it in the mirror, and decided that some buttons and i-cord could bridge the gap. I’m quite happy with the result, and may use this “shape” again with an otherwise-awkwardly-short scarf.
This was the perfect little pattern for my gradient handspun. I worked reeeealllly hard at getting the yarn to come out right, and I’m very pleased! The roving (from Mad Color Fiber Arts) had a high-contrast and interesting color progression, and I feel like I preserved that in the finished scarf.
I did get a tiny bit nervous as I neared the end of my knitting … that tiny bow of black yarn is the sum total of my leftover yarn. Whew!
Two skeins of Iachos ends up being not quite enough yarn for a Rhea Silvia. If I’d read the pattern thoroughly, I would have know this. Instead, I got caught off guard … fortunately, I was able to bind off a row or three early on both edges, and it still looks pretty good. Even with blocking, I’m finding the border flares more than I like. If I make another Rhea Silvia, I’ll probably decrease more when transitioning from the cabled body to the border in order to limit/eliminate this flare.
That said, I’m delighted with the end product! Kate’s yarn shines (glows, even!) in this pattern. The striping and pooling of hand-dyed yarn can be SO much fun! I’ve been wearing it doubled-up (see below) and getting lots of compliments.
Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Lustre DK (sample used 215 yards)
Objects Below is a narrow lace stole/scarf designed especially for A Hundred Ravens Lustre DK. It uses nearly a whole skein — 215 yards in my sample. With complex lace patterning on both sides, this pattern is a challenge to make and a joy to behold.
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Full written translations of all charts are included.
This scarf is for a good friend, the owner of TSS (aka Trial Secretary Services). She handles the scoring for dog agility trials, and often asks me to help her at the big trials. Scoring is one of my favorite jobs at agility trials, and working with Judy is always a pleasure. I’ve been wanting to make her something knitted for a long time, and I finally settled on a project that she would like and use.
I held the fingering-weight yarn doubled, and used #8 needles. Using an i-cord cast on, I cast on for 30 + 3 + 3 = 36 stitches. The three edge stitches stayed i-cord throughout, and the I worked the center 30 in linen stitch. I think the simple stitch pattern allowed the doubled hand-painted yarn to really shine. I finished the top with an i-cord bind off, and grafted the last three stitches of i-cord to that side’s i-cord edge. The seamless i-cord runs all the way around the whole scarf, giving a soft yet polished edge. There was some curling in the FO (as a mostly-stockinette stitch pattern, that’s expected).
I recently had a brainstorm … you know the kind. I wondered, was it possible to knit, say, a three-layered scarf, with all three layers worked at the same time — no seams or anything else — so that I could use a slow-color-change yarn with different-width layers and have the colors change at the same rate? Well, I had a vision of circular needles flopping and changing, and I made it work!
I’m releasing “Eye of The Storm” any minute now on Ravelry — watch this space for an official announcement on Friday. In the meantime, here’s a quick video and photo tutorial of how it works:
These photos show the scarf in progress…
#1 — Ready to knit the wrong side of the long leg — outbound from the center spine. Note that the needle tips match — the same circ is used to work the outbound legs, always.
#2 — A view of the back of the work — the long leg is next up to be worked, the middle leg is hanging off the back of the scarf, and the short leg has just been worked.
#3 — At the end of the outbound leg, drop the circ you just freed up …
#4 — …. turn the work ….
#5 — …. and pick up the far end of the other circ.
#6 — Work the right side of the long leg — inbound towards the center spine. Notice that the needle tips do NOT match — on inbound legs you always use two different circs.
#7 — When you finish the inbound leg, push the stitches for the short leg (now the “hanging off the back” leg) onto the cable of that circ.
#8 — Push the stitches for the middle leg (the next leg to be worked) up onto the tip of the circ. Ready for the next leg!
I am always interested to see how variegated yarn knits up. Check out this comparison of the skeined yarn …
…with the full shawlette:
This pattern used an interesting technique to warp and ruffle the top part of the shawl. The ripples are achieved by working stockinette stitch for a spell, then on a “pickup” row you knit the stitch on the needle together with a stitch from a previous row. Very cool textural and 3-D effect!
Although many club members chose to knit an additional repeat of the feather-and-fan bottom edging, I decided to knit the pattern as written — I like this compact scarf/shawlette size.
“Starboard” is a quick and fun knit, using just two hanks of soft and colorful Seedling Handpaint. I was asked to make a store sample for the shop, and I was pleased to do so! The cast-on edge of 135 elongated picots was … sorry to say … a bit tedious. But, I knew that once the edge was done, the rest would be quickly completed. I played a board game with friends while making the picots, and two hours later, I was at work on the short-row ribbed body. I finished the next day.
Thanks to my model Eli for showing off Yar for me! 🙂
Last week I finished my “purse project” — a portable project that I carry with me and work on in tiny increments when I have time on my hands. I bought a skein of Tonos Pima Silk after reading a review in Interweave Knits, and I totally love it. The hand-painted colorway is subtle and intriguing. The soft, soft yarn is lovely to work with and lovely to behold in the finished item. I’ll talk more about the yarn in an upcoming yarn review post.
I let the yarn determine pattern choice for this project. I wanted something with a lot of stockinette and uncomplicated structure so that the hand-painted colors could take center stage. However, it couldn’t be TOO boring to knit, or it would never get done! I also wanted a pattern that was flexible, so I could use as much of the skein as possible.
The ZigZag Shawl fit all my requirements! It is worked from point to point, and is easily adapted to be larger or smaller. I knit until my skein was half gone, then decreased down. I have a tiny bit leftover, which is perfect. The wide swath of stockinette is beautiful, and the garter-stitch edging helped speed the knitting along and helped me keep track of the increases and decreases.