Tag Archives: Echo Flower Shawl

Behind the scenes

Lately, I’ve had many things on the go and they’ve all been taking longer than planned to complete. Rather than rushing them to finish them off to show them here, I’ve decided to show you some photos of the work in progress.

First, some resin casting, with some birdy whorls soon to be drilled on my brand new press drill to become top whorl spindles:

Magpie whorls in 6 and 7 cm diametres, weight ranging from 27g to 38g.

In terms of spinning, I’ve been spinning tussah silk on my Russian spindle Annia for the last couple of months, and loving it. I’m aiming for a 2-ply laceweigt, which I’ll probably leave undyed and plan to knit into a stole. I didn’t do a sample and I’ve just been spinning without much control, as I was still getting to know Annia, so I’ve no idea of the yardage I’m going to have when I’m done:

Tussah silk: Fibers, one cop spun, another in progress on my Russian spindle Annia.

Also on the spindles: I’ve got quite a bit of Blue Faced Leicester in yummy browns spun on my little Grace and on Jarod, destined to be a 4-ply. I’ve done one Turkishful and almost twice as much on Jarod, which I’m going to make into an Andean bracelet to ply once it’s exactly double the weight of the first cop. For the last of the singles for the 4-ply, I’m currently spinning a second Turkishful:

Blue Faced Leicester, including knit swatch.

On the knitting side of things, I was waiting on some T-pins I ordered to get the Echo Flower shawl a second blocking. They finally arrived this morning, so I gave my shawl a soak of Eucalyptus Eucalan bought at Unravel, and it is now blocking again.

I suddenly realised last night that I needed an instant gratification project. So I decided to take some merino I spun a little while back as an attempt to spin thickish, and I cast on an improvised cafetiere cosy. When Eddie comes round and the expresso machine is just not right for the amount of coffee we drink, but the cafetiere always goes cold before we’ve had the time to drink it all… This, I hope, will be of help. And in the meantime I’m having fun with braids and making things up… Here is last night’s progress, I think it’s already half way there:

There are always a few more projects on the needles and the spindles in the background, but those are my main points of focus at the moment.

How about you? Are you quite monogamous in your projects or a bit of a philanderer like me?


Blocking take 1…

I finally completed the Echo Flower Shawl at knit night last Thursday, and washed and blocked the shawl as soon as I got home.

 

Echo Flower Shawl, with just a few rows to knit

It was the first time I blocked anything so fast, I usually keep putting off blocking because I don’t have the space, the time or any excuse really… I love the magic of blocking, but I’m always a bit put off by the process. But this time I’d been wanting to wear the shawl every time I was picking up my knitting for the past couple of weeks, so I couldn’t wait for it to be blocked, and had to do it immediately.

I tried a couple of things I’d never done before, and which I’ll definitely do again. First, after washing the shawl and finishing it with a vinegar rinse (the water was a beautiful turquoise after the wash), I put it in the spin programme in the washing machine. I’d never even thought of doing that, fearing it might felt the yarn or something similar, but Eddie told she did it all the time with her handwash only knits. It was magical, the shawl came out ever so slightly wet but dried so much faster than usual because most of the water had been spun out of it in the machine. Definitely will do that with all my hand washing in the future.

New thing the second: I blocked my shawl on the floor, on my carpet (with a layer of towels to protect the shawl from any dirt that might be in the carpet and the carpet from any dye that might still come out of the shawl). This worked out well too, except for the fact that I couldn’t find my T-pins anywhere which are my only pins sturdy enough to keep my blocking wires well in place for a taut blocking. The shawl was dry in time to take with me to Crafty Coffee, even though I hadn’t even yet woven it the ends. I did that there and wore it all day but I have to admit I didn’t think it was open enough and I decided to block it again.

Echo Flower Shawl, a week after first blocking

I’ve been wearing it almost every days for almost a week now, and it’s shrunk back quite a bit… That’s made me realise a second blocking was not just a good idea, but a necessary step. I’m not very patient, and not a great fan of putting pins in, but a full size shawl represents so many hours of knitting it deserves a tiny bit of patience in the finishing stages.

Just another close-up of the nupps just before I finished the shawl, because I can’t help it:

I’ll try and take more pictures of the second round of blocking, if my camera behaves…


Slowly but surely

Life is getting in the way of my knitting and spinning these days, and I’m not getting much done on many of my on-going projects…

Still, I’m slowly making progress on my Echo Flower Shawl for the KAL at Historic Crafts. I love it, I now have the pattern for the lotus blossom stitch pretty much memorised and it’s easy to keep track of even in social situations…

Echo Flower Shawl in progress


My first ever KAL

Over on the Historic Crafts group on Ravelry, Eddie and I decided set up a knit-along (KAL). Since lace is one of the Historic Crafts winter themes, we decided a lace shawl would be a perfect fit. The beautiful Estonian lace of the Echo Flower shawl by Jenny Johnson appealed to both of us and so we settled on that pattern.

Lotus blossom stitch

Last spring I knitted Elizabeth Freeman’s Laminaria, and absolutely loved the lotus blossom chart. Knitting it and watching it grow never got boring, even after I added an extra two repeats. This was more or less what drew me towards this model for the KAL. That very same stitch lotus blossom stitch is used in the body of the Echo Flower Shawl, which takes its inspiration from Laminaria. I love the more rounded edges which finish Echo Flower, and after knitting two full-size shawls for gifting, I am looking forward to keeping this one all to myself.

 

Zephir by Fonty, 100% wool

After many back and forth between yarns I wanted to use for this first ever KAL, I finally settled on a cone of laceweight yarn I’ve had for about a year now and have not started on yet. It is a French yarn: Zephir by Fonty, in a teal colorway I absolutely love. Can’t wait to see how it grows, and see the choices of the rest of the Ravelers in the KAL.

Here are my modest efforts for today as I cast on quite late in the day. They were further delayed by my lack of focus which led me to frog my starting garter stitch about four times. By the time I had to leave Eddie’s I had just completed the set up chart and was about to move on to the next chart. The colour is truest in the photo on the right, taken in natural light before I started knitting, whilst the picture below was taken in an artificial light.

 

Come and join us if you like, the pattern is beautiful, it’s free, we’ve just embarked on an exciting journey.


2011, here I come!

2010 was the year I learned to spin, started casting resin and set up on my spindle quest as a result, which led me to start this blog (well, about a month before the end of the year anyway). I also wrote up my first ever pattern (December was a busy month),  so there was definitely some good in it, but I have to admit that overall, I was not so sorry to see the end of 2010.

2011 is  still brand new and holds the promise of many fun things to come and I’ve got many hopes and projects for the coming year on the fibre front.

With my spinning, I’ve been so far mostly letting the fibre do the work, and just focussing on consistency. It turns out fibres seem to speak to me almost exclusively about 3-ply laceweight, so maybe it’s time we had a serious talk. So this year, I want to learn to  spin with a specific yarn or project in mind, I’ve been reading up on the subject, posts and reviews to come.

My friend Eddie and I have also been working on a project involving bicycle wheels and quite a few hours of trial and error, which might just give us a spinning wheel each if we manage to iron out the last few structural weaknesses… So I will hopefully dive into wheel spinning at some point, even though I can’t see myself giving up on the spindle and its portability. Still it is, for this fibery geek, an exciting prospect.

I’m also planning to take part in the SpinDoctor Wool Breeds Challenge, in which points are attributed for spinning sample skeins of fibres from breeds listed either by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy or the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. I’ve got quite a bit of Black Welsh Mountain that I’ve started working on, more to come soon on this topic, and I’m looking forward to trying more breeds. I’m not entering it so much as a contest, but more as a challenge to myself really, a bit of an incentive to be more adventurous in my fibre choices.

As for the knitting side of the fibery obsessions, I will be starting a new project I’m excited about from next week. I’m going to participate in my first ever Knit-along, happening on the Historic Crafts forum over on Ravelry. We’ve chosen the Echo Flower pattern for a lacy shawl, and I’m still not entirely decided as to which yarn I’m going to use, but will be before kick-off on the 8th of January.

Merino yearning to be knitted...

One of my new year resolutions is to knit more with my handspun. There is already a nice skein of about 300 meters of merino 3-ply laceweight which is nice and squooshy and I’m thinking will become a nice lacy scarf or a shawlette once I’ve dyed it. I’m not sure yet what pattern I’m goint to use, and I might even just make one up, but I know I want to feel the softness of it on my neck.

The feedback on the tiny little pattern I wrote was so overwhelminghly gratifying that I want to write some more. I’ve got a few things I’ve been wanting to make which would not require size grading and I think that’s where I’ll start. I don’t expect it will happen overnight, but I’m definitely going to try and write up at least one of those ideas this year.

And finally, my entirely new thing to learn this year will be woodturning. There are some classes in the pipeline, and I’m very excited about it all, as I hope this will also mark a further step into my spindle quest. I’ll be sure to report on it.

Wishing you all the best for all your projects and endeavours for 2011, may this new year bring many beautiful and happy things into your life.


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