I lost steam on my knitting again after getting near the end of my Wowligan. That project is on my summer to-do list, so hopefully I’ll get around to finishing off the button bands in the next couple of weeks.
I’ve got a couple of summer trips coming up where it will be nice to have a fairly straightforward project along with me. Something that caught my eye immediately was this beautiful Wonder Woman shawl. I’m not especially into comic books but I am into bold, graphic designs and getting more red into my wardrobe. I picked up some yarn on the Love Knitting website but the red was completely the wrong colour. I decided to finally head to I Knit London, which is currently my LYS, to pick up a suitably cartoonish shade.
I’ve been aware of IKL since my days as a fledgling knitter, when I accompanied them to Camp Bestival to volunteer in their tent one summer. It was good to finally get a chance to visit the store just eight short years later (seriously where does the time go?). I’ve got to say that I liked IKL. Gerard dyes his own yarns and I will definitely have to go back as his speckled wool would make a great jumper. I still have a speckled Humboldt sweater in mind.
Anyway, I picked up some red- a bit more cherry than I would have liked, but I couldn’t be bothered to trek to another yarn store. I had some fun using the swift and ball-winder to wind the yarn, helped by the ladies in the knitting group that was running when I visited. I hate hand-winding so much, it was great to be able to skip that step and be left with a professional-looking yarn cake.
So far the knitting on this pattern has been going well. I’m really enjoying the fact that this project is mindless enough for me to work on while I finally catch up on Game of Thrones. I didn’t get a chance to watch series 5 or 6 (though I did read the books a few years ago) and I’ve been loving bingeing them. The other advantage of knitting is that it stops me from checking my phone and therefore missing bits of the action.
It’s not that easy to get a decent picture because of how the shawl is constructed, but here’s how it’s looking so far. You can see that the W shape is starting to emerge.
Pattern: Wonder Woman Wrap (FREE on Ravelry)
Yarn: 1 skein each Ella Rae Lace Merino (Pineapple Soda) and Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply (Kiss)
Bradway was a super quick and enjoyable knit, and gives a warm and striking finished object. Here she is blocking.
This was another knit that I wanted to take with me to Wilderness festival, and it was very useful there but I didn’t manage to get any pictures due to phone battery being limited.
I wore it again to a wedding last weekend and managed a few snaps.
Yarn: Flashdance sock, held double (bright purple) and Sleepover worsted (pale purple) by the Lemonade Shop, leftover Malabrigo Rios (dark purple)
I’ve been in love with The Lemonade Shop’s stunning yarns ever since I started following her on Insta, and I finally caved and bought two skeins of Bad Day sock a few months ago. This yarn. Oh my god. I really love the name, too. As a non-sunshine, lollipops and rainbows type woman (read: angry pessimist), I like things that acknowledge that life can be shit. You might have a bad day. But there might be little colour pops of rainbow beauty even in a shitty day. I feel like this shawl will help to add a few of those moments when I’m in a grey and gloomy mood.
I feel optimistic already.
Here’s how it looks worn the other way.
I actually frogged and reknitted this shawlette since my WiP Wednesday post as I wasn’t sure about the shape. I used up just under a skein of sock weight yarn and I’m a little anxious that the shawl is too small, but I’m going to wear it and see how I feel.
I adore this yarn and it held up well to being frogged.
Pattern: Boneyard 2.0
Yarn: Bad Day Sock by The Lemonade Shop
Needles: 3.5mm circulars
After Rock Island, I craved some very straightforward knitting that I can work on while watching Netflix. And then, serendipitously, the gorgeous yarn that I ordered from the Lemonade Shop on etsy arrived. Just look at it.
It’s called Bad Day sock. They also do a version in white that I originally intended to get, but this was what they had in stock and I’m in love. Plus, the dark yarn is much more practical for someone as clumsy as me.
I didn’t want to waste this gorgeous yarn on socks, but instead make something that I can wear and show off a lot. I settled on a triangular shawl that can be worn as a scarf. I’ve taken elements of a couple of different patterns to make up the design. I want my scarf to be made just in stocking stitch to show off the beauty of this hand dyed yarn. You can check out my Ravelry project page if you want more details.
Here’s how the project is progressing so far.
I can’t believe that I actually made this stunning shawl. I have grown so much in confidence as a knitter over the past five years, I never would have imagined being able to make something like this even a couple of years ago. I’m hoping to get some beautiful modelled shots of my shawl in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime I’ll share with you some things I learned from making this piece of wearable art, which I hope will help others attempting their first piece of openwork knitted lace.
For comparison, here is how it looked before blocking.
Unfortunately I foolishly didn’t measure the size of my blocking mats before I started, so I actually need to re-block this shawl to the correct dimensions. I think that stretching the lace out will make it look even more beautiful. I also found out that I should have used blocking wires at the top edge of the shawl for a cleaner edge, so I will also do this on my second attempt. I can’t say I mind too much as it means I can do this post as well as one with some (hopefully) beautiful modelled shots of the re-blocked shawl in a couple of weeks. Silver linings!
I also think I squeezed too much water out of my shawl before I started pinning it out. It was drying out far too quickly, which means that some of the points aren’t as… pointy as intended. Threading the blocking wires takes time and the piece needs to be damp until you feel confident that it’s in the right shape.
Pattern: Rock Island by Jared Flood
Yarn: Violet Lynx Dyeworks Ariel (bought on etsy)
Ravelry project page including detailed notes.
Just a note, if you are knitting a shawl using a gradient yarn as I did, make sure the yardage of the skein is not much more than the recommended yardage of the pattern. I didn’t know this, which means that you really can’t see the gradient effect in my shawl. I don’t mind as I think it’s still beautiful, but I would have been bummed out if I had had my heart set on this being an ombre shawl.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I like a challenge. In knitting and in life, I tend to go for things 100%, to jump in with both feet, to act first and worry about consequences later (well, as much as a neurotic overthinker can). It was these traits that led me to select Rock Island as the first proper lace pattern I would ever attempt. I am actually crazy. THIS is what I am attempting to knit.
The pattern is Rock Island by Jared Flood. Look upon it and weep.
Maybe the theme of my year is go big or go home. I came into 2015 with my most complex ever knit, Little Wave, on the needles and I have managed to create a garment that I truly love. I also went all out with my birthday bake. Perhaps 2015 is my year to be bold, daring and take risks.
I now own blocking equipment. This just got serious.
Here’s where I was last week. I used my newly arrived blocking equipment to pin out the lace so you can see what it will look like finished.
One of the many scary things about knitting proper lace is that you don’t really know what it will look like until it’s been blocked- washed and stretched to within an inch of its life. Until I finish and block this shawl, I am acting on blind faith that what I am doing in some way corresponds to the incredible beauty of the sample picture above. Oh god of knitting, please bestow your gifts upon this humble madwoman!
I drew a little sketch to show how a shawl can be constructed from the long edge up. For any experienced lace knitters this will be old hat, but it’s all new hat to me!
Here’s where I am right now. I’m working the Rock Island lace chart and I can’t wait for it to be over. I am currently using a lifeline every two rows because if I drop a stitch, it would be beyond me to pick it back up. Each row currently takes over 30mins to knit so having to rip back would be pretty devastating.
Here’s a close up of the lace.
This project has really reinvigorated my love of the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. This shawl is my Ancient Runes OWL- Ordinary Wizarding Level to any Muggle readers. To earn an OWL, Ravellers propose a project to the examiners, which they estimate will take around two months to make. You also agree a 50% mark for the project. You get 200 points for your House (Gryffindor in my case- go Lions!) in total, 75 for completing the midterm and 125 for the final exam. I am making this shawl for an event in April and I genuinely think that without the additional motivation of the Cup, I would not have persevered with this highly challenging project.