I’ve got another new design to tell you about today. Honestly, you spend three months working on new designs, and then they all come out at once!
My latest design to be released is Denman, a shawl with an unusual construction in Artesano’s gorgeous new Linen Silk DK yarn.
I wanted to design a shawl that was a little different from the others I’ve designed in the past, something more like a wrap which would stay on your shoulders easily and not slip off, with a stitch pattern that would show off variegated colourways but still be a bit different from the usual suspects (feather and fan, chevrons etc).
I’ve been fascinated by Estonian style increases (where between three and nine – or sometimes more – stitches are made from just one stitch) for some time now, ever since I designed Cleome using them.
I’d been experimenting with other ways of using them in my own original stitch patterns, so after some quite substantial swatching and a lot of frogging, I came up with a stitch resembling falling petals. I realised that I could use the same increases to work a circular shape. What would happen if this became the central section of a wrap…. with two sides radiating from it at an angle, like this? That would help it to stay securely on your shoulders!
Of course, in order to test out this theory I had to knit one of the largest swatches I’ve ever knitted! It probably would have been even larger, but I ran out of yarn (this was the yarn I had left over from Tatyana – about 70g or so of Manos Silk Blend if I recall correctly). You will have to excuse the fact that it looks like a massive boiled sweet wrapper! Because of the way the pattern works, the circular section of this swatch had to be as big as that section in the real life shawl, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to test out the pattern on each side of the shawl at the same time.
Despite this idea being a bit mad and off the wall, Jenny at Artesano was able to see past the big sweet wrapper swatch to the sketch and commissioned my design! I was pretty chuffed, as I love working with Artesano and I also love doing more unusual designs – working it out is fun, but the sense of achievement when you realise that your mad idea actually works is even better ;).
I was pretty excited when the yarn arrived. You never know which colour you are going to get for your design until it arrives, but I was absolutely delighted with the beautiful colour that I ended up with, #EX52/Paradise, a beautiful mix of blue, turquoise, pink and purple. It was perfect, both for the shawl and for me, as those are my favourite colours!
The yarn (a DK weight mix of 40% Wool, 35% Silk and 25% Linen) was beautiful to knit with and I loved the way the linen added depth to the colours. Also the skeins were incredibly evenly matched even though they were hand dyed, which is very impressive (although I still decided to work the yarn in stripes from two skeins at a time in order to guard against pooling – I don’t think it would have been a particular problem, but when you’re working a large item to a deadline the last thing you want to have to do is frog your work, so I didn’t want to take any chances).
After a few weeks work it was done! The wrap is quite large (though it looks even longer on me – I’m only 5’3″) which allows it to be worn with the circular section either at the front or the back, but it would be easy to make it a little shorter if you prefer. If I remember correctly one skein will knit 5-6 pattern repeats. I have to admit it was very cosy and I was rather reluctant to let it go! I might have to avail myself of some more of this yarn. Here I am looking tired after many late nights knitting, but chuffed (standing by the back fence trying not to look cold):
You can see more pictures of the finished wrap than I could possibly include here on my Ravelry project page.
I’m delighted with the beautiful pictures Artesano have taken of this for the pattern photography. The colours are very true to life and almost glow, just as they do in the flesh. Thanks Jenny and the team!