completenotesBUTTON.gif l'Atelier ChicKnits : the Flower Basket Shawl

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A more sane, nay, a more moderate person would've been within the laws of fiber and nature to just go home and unwind. Après Fest requires a cooling off period; perhaps a nice foot soak with some scented oils in a dark room with some candles...

That scenario was NOT the one that played out at Chez Chic after the close of Stitches Midwest. Even after two days of stuffing my head full of new and exciting knitting techniques, even after gabbing my fool head off with new and old friends, even after zooming around the market hall and getting absolutely, thoroughly INTOXICATED with YARNneedlesPATTERNSfellowship, I needed more...

I needed to MAKE Something...


On the way home, while I was driving my little Jeep Wrangler in thick traffic, I became obsessed with the above yarn. Said yarn was not in my car among the new fest fibers; it had been deep stashed for, hmmm, several years after my very first Fiber Frenzy - the TKGA convention that was held in Chicago in 2002. It was slated for socks but was destined to become more, after my brain exploded somewhere in Exhibit Room G, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Who cared if my first flirtation with shawl making ended in a disaster? Why should that experience hold me back? (Hmmm - just because a girl commits the crime of trying to knit (May 29th entry) a 6 foot long stole from Black Slippery Devil Yarn, she should'nt be sentenced to a lifetime sans shoulder coverings SHOULD SHE?)

So, as soon as I got home I found and wound the yarn from the skeins and opened my new book - wrapSTYLE - and started an Evelyn Clark number called "Shetland Triangle". My master plan is to do 1/3 blue and 2/3's orange which I believe wil make an incredibly BOLD but wearable color combination for me to head into FALL.


Three Swatches made over an evening and morning taught me some Lace Making Manners!

FIRST PITFALL: too small of a needle for the stitch pattern.

SECOND PITFALL: pattern was too bumpy and boring even expanded a little with a larger needle size.

THIRD PITFALL: changing the stitch pattern might not be the solution unless you also change the needle size.

I found Ms. Clark's other much loved shawl pattern, the Flower Basket Shawl in my stack of mags, and decided to give it a try instead of the wrapSTYLE pattern. The yarn I am using is a Hemp/Wool blend that is slightly elastic but not enough to do justice to the book pattern. I think the Shetland Shawl in the book was made from super springy yarn and they blocked the bejesus out of it to get the pattern to really open up. The picture makes it look very spirally (which I adored and am now going to have to find a stitch pattern that does this!) but my own swatch showed a dense, more closed-up version.


The stitch pattern used is the classic Shetland Fir Cone - which Barbara Walker warns: "has a tendency to pucker" which it did, badly.


But the Flower Basket stitch has more open spaces and compliments the fiber structure of my yarn better. Here is where I am now, starting the third lower basket on the body. I am going to do 5 baskets out of blue and see where I am at that point before I start the orange. be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This is turning out to be a lot more FUN! than I ever thought it would. Compared to my 1st Shawl Fiasco (black yarn, boring pattern), this one is whizzing along.


A few days ago, I had a swatch; now it really is starting to L@@K like a Shawl! Woot! Since you start at the neck with just a few stitches, every pattern repeat reveals a wonderful new dimension to the piece. Even the learning curve with the initial crochet provisional cast-on wasn't too steep (thank you LOIS for your cool tutorial - I won't bore you all on how many tries I did until I liked the way it looked! Let me just say it was a question of balance and skill not unlike riding a two-wheeler bicycle. You were either riding or flat on the ground.)

Also extremely pleasing to me is the variegations of the yarn and the way the colors are revealing themselves in the pattern. I've pinned it to its little Mother Ship of a chair and pillow in my living room (the two were partially responsible for me trying this Bold color combo to begin with). Now I can see it when I glance up from my other knitting; it's across from my favorite stitching chair.

Dirty Little Secret: You see, over the last couple of years, all of my projects are Test Drives until proven otherwise. In the past, I used to just blindly finish (or bury) garments to completion; now I pause a little along the way to test their appeal and my attraction to the initial idea. If they don't measure up, I'm much less inclined to continue and will rip that sucker out!

But this time, I must say to myself: "ON with its Thread!" be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Friday, September 2, 2005

Knit1 YO K1: the Worry Beads of a Troubled Mind...


It Grows! It actually LOOKs like a shawl! I am amazed and humbled. I had not the faith to think it actually, by my hand, could.

All I had was time; lots of time with nothing but the temptation to immerse myself in the negative so instead I kept my head down.

And I kept my hands busy.

The Worry Beads, they tumble...

With most of the projects I've worked on in the last couple of years, I do a parallel color study. This shawl was the actual result of me looking at a favorite orange chair in my living room that had a
blue patterned pillow on it.


It seemed, once that color pair was in my brain, I started to see it everywhere, in and out of my house.

As the shawl started to grow, once I added the Orange to the Blue, the drama jumped; it was reminiscent of something else I was very, very fond of: Oriental Fabrics and Tapestries.

The piece below, a Chinese embroided Court Robe, (from the galleries of Marla Mallett Textiles), has been my touchstone while I continue to knit the Flower Basket...

used with permission ©2005 Marla Mallett

Now that I've arrived in the area where the rows are long and the repeats are a plenty (you told me there'd be days like this!), I NEED inspiration to continue. I need to have stimulation to keep moving in a forward direction.

So I look at this picture and picture in my mind the day I will wear my shawl and connect the past to the present to achieve my future chic...


more breathtaking textiles...

Skirt with Paired Aprons
China C'hing Dynasty. Late 19th century

Embroidered Jacket and Pants

Child's Pinafore be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

the Pensieve of the Lacemakers


At some point in the lace making,
the memories of the ancients arrived.

No longer was I jerking along and bobbing my head reading the charts; my hands became fluid in their movements. I found the areas of pattern repeats by touch not sight and flew...

This enlightened state took place not at the beginning. Not in the middle when tedium and mass crush the spirit, but at the very end, when now, empowered by intuitve understanding, I could've knit forever and a day.

At this moment, 7/8ths of the way, nay, 98? 99% of the way to the finished (and highly desirable edge) I stumbled.

Or more correctly, the Little Bad Muse HOT-5.gif stumbled...

I was almost OUT of YARN and there were 2 rows to go!

Surely my calculations/estimations were correct? Surely the amount the pattern called for was accurate? Sadly, I'm sure, this was not to be...

Desperately, I started thinking about what was to be done.

Tear out my hair! NAY - it was once again growing out from a bad haircut and I could not spare a millimeter.

Rippout the last pattern repeat and repurpose the edge with that? NAY - I was stuck to my proportions of blue to orange like the Super Glue bonding to your finger and the package wrapper when instead you're trying to repair an earring or two...

Rant and Rave and Raid the STASH? LIGHTBULB! But alas, there's nothing there remotely in the dramatic range of your first two colors...

But wait. Look UP. See your Sock Yarn Stash. See sticking out one lonely little ball of Hemp/Wool left over from some socks...


This yarn was not the same color but it was almost the same colors - shades of yellow, rust, brown touched with orange. Applied on the very edge of my shawl, it would make a light little froth of color, maybe accidently banded on the curving edge wherever the darker tones arrived.

It was meant to be... be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

Comments (4)

Friday, September 23, 2005

New Threads FRIDAY!


the Flower Basket Shawl

Pattern: Interweave Knits Fall 2004
Designer: Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Dzined *Handpainted Wool/Hemp Sportweight*
Color: Orange & Blue & Yellow
Gauge: 20 sts/28rows over 4"
Needles: #7


Now that I've finished my very 1st Shawl, I'm wondering -
WHY THE H Did I wait so Long to Try This?

1. Was it the thought of having to pay attention to the charting and details? Nope - after several Aran cardies, I should've realized that fundamentally the stitch patterns are etched in the brain after a few repeats.

There were, counting right from the top neck edge, 7 full pattern repeats in Blue; 8 full pattern repeats in Orange; and the final edge chart in Orange, with two rows of Yellow. All yarn was one-of-a-kind handpainted Wool/Hemp Sportweight from Dzined.

2. Maybe it was because of all that skinny, tiny yarn - it might take forever and a day to finish something so small in gauge. But actually, the gauge was really rather large - I was using size 7 needles which resulted in a standard worsted gauge of 20/28...

3. Hmmm... Fear of Blocking? NAY, I was able to score some blocking wires at Stitches Midwest this summer and they were wonderful! I washed the completed shawl (it was filthy - old, stashed yarn & weeks of manhandling - EEEWW) - you just thread the wires through the shawl edges and pull and pin to shape.

The only thing I found out about blocking that was a little scary was I JUST COULDN'T STOP moving the Pins. Pin. Re-pin. Pin Re-Pin. Eventually I grew so weary from the neurotic fussing, I just collapsed on the couch and dozed - good thing too because the damn shawl was TAKING UP THE ENTIRE BED!

4. And yes indeed, my lace making friends - I am HOOKED!

...More Images HERE in the Flower Basket Picture Gallery

...Read the Complete Notes HERE...

Comments (32)

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