Wild Poppies shawl – now available!

I have something really exciting to share with you today; a new shawl pattern!

Meet Wild Poppies; the latest addition to my eBook ‘Wildflower: The Lace Collection‘.

The petal pattern reminds me of the shape of poppy petals, hence the name!

Wild Poppies by Charlotte Walford

Copyright Jesse Wild/Charlotte Walford

This one has been quite some time in the making, so I’m delighted that I finally have it ready to share with you.

To celebrate the launch, there’s 20% off this pattern (no code needed) until the end of Monday (23.59 BST on Monday 13th July 2015).

Wild Poppies features an unusual lace patterned spine and a border inspired by poppy petals; which you can bead as much or a little as you like.  I’ve beaded the spine and the border in the purple variegated version (shown above) but in the red version (shown below) I’ve just added beads to the very edge.  The pattern provides options for both versions so you can really make the shawl your own.

Wild Poppies By Charlotte Walford

Copyright Jesse Wild/Charlotte Walford

I’ve designed this shawl to be knitted in just one skein of either heavy lace (lace weight yarn with around 600m/100g skein) or 4ply weight yarn (with around 400m/100g skein) and the lace pattern works well with solid or lightly variegated yarns so you can easily pick a favourite skein from your stash and make something pretty with it (if you’re anything like me then you’ll have quite a lot of single skeins to choose from).  There’s also a handy table of estimated yarn and bead quantities in case you want to make a larger or smaller shawl.

As usual with my patterns, all lace patterns have both charts and written instructions so you can work from whichever you prefer and the charts are provided on a separate page at the end of the pattern, so there’s no wasted paper if you don’t want to use them.

Wild Poppies by Charlotte Walford

Copyright Jesse Wild/Charlotte Walford

So, why design this shawl?

I loved the original border pattern I designed for my Rockrose Wrap so much I wanted to incorporate it into a heart shaped shawl, not just by adapting it into an expanding border pattern, but also using it to add interest to the increases at spine of the shawl as well, creating a softer, more flattering shape than a traditional triangular shawl.

I’ve thought for a while that the design opportunities that the spine of a triangular shawl presents are to often ignored.  Just because you have to work increases doesn’t mean they always have to be a straight line of yarn overs!  Why not use a different increase or make a feature of it?  It certainly makes the body of the shawl more fun and interesting to work!

Wild Poppies By Charlotte Walford

Copyright Jesse Wild/Charlotte Walford

I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever made, (even if I do say so myself) but I can’t claim all the credit, the beautiful yarn I used certainly helps; Posh Yarn Lorelei Sock (the purple variegated shawl) and Posh Yarn Valerie Heavy Lace (the red shawl).  Unfortunately Valerie Heavy Lace is being discontinued, but Posh Yarn are having one last update with the yarn this Sunday at 7pm.  If you miss out on that, their Diana Heavy Lace or Miranda Heavy Lace yarns would both make lovely substitutes.

Hope you like it!

Lottie x

Thanks to Jeni from Fyberspates and the amazing Jesse Wild, who took these lovely photos of me and the shawl on their photoshoot earlier this year and also to my lovely test knitters. 

 

 

Advertisements

Going dotty!

Hello everyone!

Long time no see!  (Figuratively of course,  I can’t really see you.  Except you there in the pyjamas, go and get dressed!)

Once again I should apologise for my lack of posting, it’s been one of those years where life gets in the way of blogging.  As is traditional, I’ve once again missed my Blogiversary last month (as I have every year so far I think!) oops!

Anyway enough of this aimless chatter, I guess you want to know what I’ve been knitting?  Well, quite few things I can’t show you yet, but all will be revealed in due course.  At the moment though, I’m having a bit of rest from knitting new designs and taking the opportunity to have a go at a pattern that has been intriguing me for a little while.

Dotted Rays

The pattern in question is Dotted Rays by Stephen West.  I’ve chosen to use a self striping yarn, Louisa Harding Amitola, in shade #120/Winter Rose, but although there is a self striping version of this pattern (written for worsted weight yarn) I’m using the original version as it is much closer to the thickness of yarn I’m using.  (Louisa Harding Amitola is sold as a DK weight yarn, but it really knits up much more likes 4ply).  I’m using 4mm needles to give the fabric a nice airy feel while still keeping it soft and bouncy.

It’s a really interesting construction, with increases and short rows creating a crescent shape.  I’m really enjoying the relaxing simplicity of the garter stitch combined with the rhythm of the increases and short rows.  It’s just simple enough to do while watching TV, yet interesting enough to occupy my mind.

Dotted Rays

The other thing I’m enjoying about this project is the yarn!  I wanted to use self striping yarn to highlight the unique construction of this shawl (which should be easier for you to see when I’ve knitted a bit more of it).  I love the colours in this particular shade, Winter Rose.  It shades from black to dark green to light grass green, then back to dark green and black and on to deep pink and repeats in this sequence throughout.  I love that the colour sequence is mirrored like this, unlike Noro yarns for example, which have a more linear progression.  It’s a great motivator too!  I can’t wait to knit another short row wedge and get to the next colour!

Which pattern have you found addictive?

Happy Knitting! 😀

Lottie x

Boo! Ocean Breeze!

The parade of projects from my blog hiatus continues!

This time it’s a rather pretty shawl:

Posh Ocean Breeze

This is my version of Ocean Breeze by Boo Knits, knitted in some rather indulgent Posh Yarn Robynn Sock (100% silk) and Posh Yarn Tabitha Sock (silk and mohair) in a beautiful deep pink shade called ‘May Day Is Lei Day In Hawaii’, with size 5/0 Miyuki triangle beads in Cranberry/Crystal from Crystals and Ice (their service is really good, I can’t praise them highly enough).

Posh Ocean Breeze

If you’re not familiar with Posh Yarn, it’s divine, hand dyed yarn, available in one off, non-repeatable colours (hence the unusual names).  Buying Posh Yarn does require a bit of dedication and possibly ninja skills or fighter pilot standard reactions!  Their shop is updated every Sunday evening at 7pm (details of the upcoming updates can be found on their website as well as their fun and friendly Ravelry group) and with all the yarn being dyed in beautiful one off shades (and no more than 10 skeins of each one available) it sells out within minutes.  I was lucky enough to snag this yarn in a destash, it was one of just a few sets of matching yarn dyed especially for the Boo Knits Midsummer Ocean Breeze KAL.

Posh Ocean Breeze in progress

This in progress photo shows the colour a little better (it’s really difficult to capture it accurately, it’s a bit pinker and less red than most of these photos, but perhaps not quite as pink as the picture above).

Posh Ocean Breeze

This is the second knit-a-long I’ve done this year, and while I did enjoy it, I think I enjoyed the Ysolda Follow Your Arrow KAL more.  The pattern parts were released every few days as well, so not much time between clues, which meant I had absolutely no chance of keeping up!  (Though I did start a week late, as I had something else to finish first for a deadline.)  Also most parts of the pattern were fairly similar to the last part, so while it was a mystery, none of it was that surprising (not that that is necessarily a bad thing, the pattern flows nicely and isn’t disjointed like some patterns which were designed for knit-a-longs).

Posh Ocean Breeze

I think that while I like the crescent shape of the shawl, I’m not keen on the bump at the top of the shawl (which you can see at the top of this photo), despite my best efforts to block it out.  I think it would be better to work a longer garter stitch tab and pick up more stitches from the sides of it to eliminate the bump.  Alternatively, I think it would be less noticeable if the main body of the shawl was worked in garter stitch, as the rows aren’t as tall.  If I made another one, I would definitely fiddle about with the pattern to improve this as it really does get on my nerves!  (I’m fussy I know!)

But on the whole I’m pleased with it.  The lace is very pretty and delicate, it’s a lovely big shawl and drapes beautifully (helped by the beads and the silk based yarns), but I’m not sure I’d make another.  It’s perhaps a little big for my petite 5’3″ frame (thought I could fix that by using smaller needles) and I would prefer a slightly denser fabric (most of the shawl is knitted on 4mm and 4.5mm needles, which I think makes the fabric a little loose and not as neat as it could be, especially under the weight of almost 800 beads).  I do like some of the other Boo Knits designs though, so I’m not ruling out trying another design, but I’d definitely alter the start to eliminate this annoying bump.

Next time, I’ll show you the project that kept me busy before this!  I’m pretty excited about it 🙂

Lottie x

Guess who’s back……

…. back again….. err.. me!  (Points to you if you’re humming Eminem right now – I’m showing my age.)

I’m sorry my absence has been rather protracted.  Life seems to have got in the way and my enthusiasm for blogging has waned accordingly.

But I haven’t stopped knitting and I also have some rather exciting news of a self-publishing nature to share with you very soon!  But first, what have I been knitting?

Well, I don’t think I ever properly showed you my finished Follow Your Arrow KAL shawl (a fab pattern by Ysolda Teague)….

Follow Your Arrow KAL

This was a really fun and interesting knit.  Unlike many mystery KALs (knit-a-longs) this one had options!  So for each of the five clues you had a choice of either option A or option B, giving a huge variety of finished shawls.

Follow Your Arrow KAL

There were also one of two colour options…… at this point the more observant amongst you may have noticed something about my shawl…… yes, I used three colours.  Why?  Because I’m impossible and almost incapable of following a pattern without changing something, and I had three colours of the same yarn (Araucania Botany Lace) kicking about in my stash, which would go perfectly with one of my dresses, not the one in the picture above (a happy accident), but this one:

Follow Your Arrow KAL

It’s got budgies on it… I know, amazing!

I seem to have amassed rather a collection of dresses with birds on!  But you know the best thing about this shawl?  Because of the options I chose for each of the clues, I ended up making a BAAAA shawl, entirely by accident.  A sheep shawl, made of wool, perfect!  Which brings me neatly on to the next project I have to share with you…. but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow for that.

Lottie x

5KCBWDAY1 – A Day in the Life of…. erm…?

So it’s the first day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014!  Want to take part yourself?  You can find all the details here on Eskimimi Makes, there’s a post on the daily topics here and a post on the tags you need to use in your posts here if you’re interested in joining in.

Last year it was a lot of fun and I certainly learnt a lot, even if I deviated from the post topics a little bit and put my own spin on them!  I never was very good at following the crowd.  You can read last year’s posts here.

2014-Annual-Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-on-Eskimimi-Makes

Today’s topic is ‘A Day In The Life’ of a project you’ve made or are in the process of making.

I’ve just briefly scanned through my posts from last year (having had to find them in order to give you that link) and I realised that I had been pretty honest in those posts.  Not that I ever lie in my posts you understand.  Perhaps candid is a better word.  It’s just that often life is messy, dull or even bleak and:

a) I think you probably don’t really want to read about those days and mostly I want to just put it behind me rather than write about it.

b) Even if you do want to read about that, I don’t really want to write about it on the internet – and as this is my blog, I’m the boss 😉 – sometimes the internet encourages you to overshare and I want to avoid that.

So in the spirit of honesty and being candid I need to come clean about today’s topic.

You should probably know that my immediate reaction to this topic was a silent, internal ‘arrrrgh!’ that only I could hear.

Also, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time staring at a blank screen or reading everyone else’s blog posts for the day, hoping for inspiration to hit me.  It hasn’t.  Or it sort of has, but I can’t decide if it is tolerable, dreadful, or quite good.  I hope it’s the latter, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to post it and find out.  Indecisive as usual (a recurring theme in my posts from last year).

I could write a day in the life of a project I wear frequently (most likely a shawl – maybe this one that I finished recently)….

Follow Your Arrow Shawl

Follow Your Arrow Shawl (Designed by Ysolda Teague)
Picture Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014

But it would probably be a bit like this:

The wardrobe door is flung open and I’m pulled unceremoniously from my comfy resting place on top of a pile of knits on the top shelf.  Lottie has to remove me in this way as she can only reach me on the high shelf by standing on her tip-toes with her arms at full stretch (she’s only 5’3″), so I’ve got used to it.  Lottie doesn’t always plan what she’s going to wear until she opens the wardrobe so I never know if it will be my day or not. 

Quickly flung around her neck, a brief glance in the mirror on the inside of the wardrobe door confirms I’m not going to slip off.  I’m rudely shaken about as she leans heavily on the uncooperative wardrobe door in an attempt to close it.  More often than not it pings open again after she’s turned the key and we repeat the process (If she doesn’t turn the key exactly the right amount clockwise we’re snookered).  I know that this is because she’s got too much yarn in there, but I’ve not plucked up the courage to tell her yet.  Then I experience the exhilaration of having to hold on tight as she rushes down the stairs and out of the house.

Once at work (at Stash Fine Yarns) I get blown about in the breeze as she takes the shop sign outside, ready to tell all the other knitters that the shop is open.  I try my best to stay securely wrapped around her neck while she picks orders, answers the phone and helps customers, but sometimes I lose my grip, or I get cast aside on warmer days.  Sometimes I get used as an impromptu hair covering in the rain because she hates it when her hair goes frizzy in the rain (having straightened it out of it’s natural curly state).  I don’t like this part.  At.  All. 

But I’m not just a shawl, I’m a badge of honour, helping Lottie (who doesn’t really look like a stereotypical knitter) to prove that she knows what she’s talking about and that she is a knitter too, just like the customers.  Sometime I even get compliments from them!  If I had a blood supply I would blush.  I’m a comforting presence, a piece of armour against the world, part of the unofficial uniform of ‘clothes for work’ that helps her to feel professional and more confident (she’s quite shy really).  

Sometimes at the end of the working day I’ll have the opportunity to internally roll my eyes (if I had any – mind you, I’m a lacy shawl, so maybe I could roll my eyelets?) when Lottie buys yet another ball of yarn, knitting book or pair of her favourite Addi Premium circular needles (why she needs another pair I don’t know, as she must have plenty already, but I suppose they’re probably holding another WIP, perhaps one that will join me on the wardrobe shelf in a few weeks?).   

Then it’s back home and into the wardrobe until the next time.  Just as soon as she’s got that door closed ;).  

Wouldn’t that be a bit… dull?

Ah.

I seem to have written a blog post by accident.

Whoops!

See you tomorrow for the next post 🙂

Lottie x

Denman

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!

Anyway, onwards!

My latest design to be released is Denman, a shawl with an unusual construction in Artesano’s gorgeous new Linen Silk DK yarn.

Denman Shawl

Denman Shawl
(Photo copyright Artesano Ltd 2014, used with kind permission)

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).

Denman stitch pattern detail

Denman stitch pattern detail
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014)

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!

Denman Shawl Sketch

Denman Shawl Sketch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

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.

Denman Shawl swatch

Denman Shawl swatch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

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!

Denman close-up

Denman close-up (Photo copyright Artesano Ltd 2014, used with kind permission)

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):

Finished!

Finished!
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014)

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!

Lottie x

Siskin

I’ve got another design to tell you about today, but first I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who followed, commented, liked or tweeted about my last-post-but-one, Barmouth.  I was really overwhelmed by your heartwarming responses and I never expected such a big reaction, thank you!

Now I suppose I should tell you about that design, Siskin:

Siskin

Siskin, photographed at Gorton Monastery
(Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing 2014, used with kind permission)

Siskin is published in the latest issue of Knit Now Magazine (out today!) as part of a collection inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement (you can see the rest of the collection and the mood board that inspired it on Pinterest here).

My original inspiration for Siskin was the work of William Morris.  I really love the use of flora and fauna in his patterns, such as the famous ‘Strawberry Thief’ print and I wanted to create my own original colour work pattern, using some of the key elements and characteristics of designs from the Arts and Crafts movement.

The more you study various Arts and Crafts style repeating patterns and prints for wallpaper, fabrics, tiles etc, the more you begin to notice recurring themes, such as the use of motifs from the natural world (birds and flowering plants especially), mirroring and hourglass shapes.

After absorbing all these different inspirations and leaving them to ‘brew’ for a bit in my head, I got to work with Stitch Mastery, charting out a repeating pattern through trial and error.  I really enjoy this stage of designing stranded colour work patterns, when you’re really inspired by something it just flows and is very satisfying, just like the endless drawing I used to do as a child.

Eventually, after faffing about with various subtly different ways of representing birds, I came up with a design I was happy with. Then, on to swatching:

Siskin swatch

Siskin swatch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

This swatch was knitted in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in Tweed Imps (for the background) and Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in Oyster (for the birds pattern).  I wanted to use a subtly variegated yarn for the background to allow me to use all the rich colours popular in Arts and Crafts designs, without introducing too many different yarns and give the pattern depth.

But what to do with the colour work pattern?  My original idea had been to use it for a small crescent-shaped shawl, but that would be a bit of a faff working to a tight deadline, so I settled on a tablet/e-Reader cosy, just the right size for a Kindle or iPad Mini.

Arts and Crafts tablet case sketch

Arts and Crafts sketch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Of course it didn’t end up as a tablet case did it?  Kate from Knit now emailed me to tell me that she would like my design to be in the magazine, but that they had rather a lot of tablet cosy designs…. could I make it into a hat perhaps?

I panicked for a weekend while I worked out what to do.

The pattern repeat was big, I knew the shaping would probably end up interrupting the pattern messily and that grading it for three adult sizes would be impossible.  But I really wanted to accept the commission, because I was excited about the design.  What to do?

Being a glutton for punishment and not good at saying no to offers of work I decided to offer a couple of alternatives.  A cushion, or a little crescent shawl (my original, rather ambitious plan) perhaps?  Kate replied that either would be fine so I could choose.  So I chose the crescent shawl, because I really wanted to make it!

In due course, the yarn was chosen and sent out to me, (Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend Fino in Lava #6921 for the background and Topaz #2220 for the birds pattern) and I got to work.  I had a panic about the amount of work I had to do in the time available (with Christmas slap bang in the middle) and got started! After a lot of late nights and only Christmas Day off from the long rows of fairisle, I finished knitting the shawl!  Yay!

Siskin finished!

Siskin finished!
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

…..it’s just as neat on the back too (I always stranded the background colour above the birds pattern colour – this makes the stitches for the birds pattern very slightly longer and gives it more impact – doing this consistently throughout the whole piece keeps the knitting neat on the right and wrong sides of the work) making the wrong side look almost like a tapestry.

Wrong side vs right side

Wrong side vs right side
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

So, all the hard work was worth it in the end, just look at the gorgeous photos taken on the photo shoot that Kate arranged at Gorton Monastery:

Siskin

Siskin, photographed at Gorton Monastery
(Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing 2014, used with kind permission)

Hope you like it!

Lottie x

A.W.O.L.

This post starts with an apology. I have been very neglectful of my little blog recently, but unfortunately this has been unavoidable.

First, deadlines for new designs kept me away, though I expect that when said designs are published it will prove to have been more than worth it!

Much as I would like to keep my blog updated at least once or twice a week, I have to remember that the reason I have a blog is because I design knitting patterns and if it wasn’t for that, this space wouldn’t exist at all. There are only so many hours in the day, so with freelance design deadlines and going to my day job, at some stage something has to give.

Well, the deadlines have been met, but since then other things have kept me away. Personal, non-knitting related things. To be perfectly truthful I would quite like to start the year again, as apart from the excitement of my first front cover (which I would have gladly traded for all the other things to be fixed) everything else has been difficult, upsetting and exhausting. Some of those closest to me have been put through the mill and this is always a very difficult thing to witness, especially when you are in many ways powerless to fix any aspect of it.

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom. Things are beginning to slowly return to normal, so I thought I should pop in and let you know I’m still here and haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.

I guess you probably want to know what I’ve been knitting as well!
A little while ago I started Ysolda Teague’s incredibly successful Follow Your Arrow KAL, so when a few moments have been free for a bit of relaxation I’ve knitted a few more rows on this.

I’m up to the final clue on this now (the clues I’ve chosen – each of the five clues have an A or B option – are BAAAA, which surely makes it a sheep shawl 🙂 this pleases me greatly even though it is really a happy accident!) and I’ve really enjoyed seeing this take shape. I expect that time to make another will be in short supply, but I’d love to make more with different combinations of clues!

20140319-140406.jpg

Please excuse the iPad picture! In reality the red is more of a coral red than the orange it looks in the picture, but the blues are fairly accurate.

As you might be aware if you’ve been participating in the KAL as well, the pattern is really for either one or two colours, but I’ve decided to use three colours because 1) I just can’t leave a pattern alone without faffing about with it to make it my own, and 2) I wanted to make a shawl to go with the budgie print dress underneath it in the picture and these colours of Araucania Botany Lace from my stash were just perfect! I’ve seen a couple of other three colour shawls on Ravelry that looked good, so I just decided to go with it. I did start with a plan of how to use the colours, then promptly forgot what it was and just decided to wing it, but I’m pretty happy with how it looks at the moment despite this.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly, but I need a little time to re cooperate first! I’ll try to catch up with your blogs when I feel up to it.

Take care of yourselves!

Lottie x

Swirly Whirly!

When I blogged about Swirl a few weeks ago I told you I’d made another for myself and I said this:

I enjoyed making it so much I’ve already made another to keep for myself, but more about that when I get some decent photos (I’m waiting for the weather to pick up a bit).

Well no excuses with the weather – it’s certainly been sunny, but as I keep saying too hot for me!  You’d have thought that whoever is in charge of the weather would have taken the hint by now wouldn’t you?  😉

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

The trouble is that when it’s too hot, by the time I get home I feel about as motivated to get changed and have my photo taken as I used to about English Literature at school.  I hated English Literature.  To me it just seemed the most pointless subject known to man.  (Can you tell I have a science brain?)  I like facts, stuff with evidence behind it that you can be pretty certain about, like physics (I can still remember the names of all six quarks – up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom – in case you’re wondering) although if someone reads that in 100 years, new physics will have been discovered at CERN and it might all be wrong.

I like arty stuff too, but English Literature just seems like speculation to me.  Read a poem/book/etc.  Try to figure out what the author really meant by all of it.  If it’s a historical text, the author isn’t around any more to check.  What if they wrote a poem about a dog and you think it might be about the futility of existence, but they really just wrote about their dog, with no hidden meaning at all.  Isn’t it arrogant to assume that we know what they meant, what they were thinking?  Sometimes I want to get a poem into a school anthology just so someone can analyse it, find the ‘hidden meaning’ and then I can prove them wrong.  Or give it a subtext on the futility of English Literature.

I’m rambling again.  I must stop doing that.  But today it has been slightly less hot and more bearable, so I have photos!

Back to the shawl!

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This was originally my swatch for Swirl but it seemed a shame to waste the yarn (Easyknits Biffle-Boo which I bought at Andyfest last August) so after my submission had been accepted by Let’s Knit and I had finished the sample, I undid the cast off on my swatch and just kept knitting until I ran out of yarn (it’s the sort of shawl where you can pretty much do that).

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

The only difference between this and the sample in the magazine is the edging.  I nearly ran out of yarn so I had to cast off a row early – on the same row where you work the edging – which is not ideal, but I wanted to use every inch of yarn I had!

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This yarn is lovely to knit with and I love the colours – which is the reason I bought it in the first place!  I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything quite the right shade of pink/red or purple to wear with it for the pictures but then I remembered this dress and luckily it was the right colour. 🙂  I’m really pleased with it and I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot once the weather is cooler.  It’s rare for me to actually get a chance to make one of my designs to keep for myself so to have made this feels like a nice treat!

Enjoy your weekend!

Lottie x

Swirl

Last week I showed you Swirl and promised you a post all about it, so I’m keeping to my word!

In case you’re not a regular reader of my blog (Welcome!  Make yourself at home!) or you have a particularly short memory, this is Swirl, my latest shawl design featured in the current issue of Let’s Knit! Magazine (Issue 69, August 2013):

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Let’s Knit 2013, used with kind permission

I really love the styling in this photo!  But enough of that.  You want to know the design ‘story’ behind the shawl.

I wanted to create a shawl that would work really well with all those pretty variegated yarns that really call to you in the skein, but once you get them home are difficult to find a pattern for.  Obviously you could knit variegated yarn up to any pattern you like, but an intricate lace pattern or detailed cabling would be lost in a highly variegated yarn and all your hard work in knitting something complex would be for nothing.

Just one teeny problem.  I love variegated yarns, and have many in my stash.

I also like more complex interesting patterns.

They say that all designs start with a problem that needs a solution (although I’m sure there would be a more eloquent way of phrasing that) and that was my problem.  Most of the stitch patterns that I swatch in variegated yarn just give me that little niggle in the back of my head that says ‘it’s ok, but it would look better in a solid colour’.  It’s rare that I think a stitch pattern looks just as good in a variegated yarn as it does in a plain one.  So I really needed to find the exception to prove the rule!

Gorgeous yarns from 'Andyfest'

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012 – 2013

So I had a look through my stash to find the most variegated yarn I had, one with lots of contrast, the sort of yarn that screams ‘If it works in this, it will work with ANY variegated yarn!’ and I came up with a gorgeous skein of Easyknits Biffle-Boo that I bought at Andyfest/Bluefaced Open Weekend last year (such a lovely day out, and such a lot of nice yarn – I did of course buy far too much!).

Then I thought about the usual shawl shapes, and whether there was something a little different I could do.  There are so many beautiful shawl patterns out there, mostly triangular or crescent shaped, but as my stitch pattern would have to be quite simple I thought it needed a shape that would add extra interest.  After all, as long as you have the right number of increases every row, you can put them wherever you want!

With all that in mind, after letting all these thoughts simmer in my head for a bit, I came up with this:

Swirl Swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Large eyelets, for lots of contrast with the stocking stitch sections and an asymmetrical swirl shape for something more unusual!  Plus the swirl shape is easy to wear around your shoulders without it slipping off.

The swatch was fun to knit and I got a bit carried away!  But eventually I cast off with a scalloped edging that flowed nicely out of the eyelet pattern:

Swirl Shawl Swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Now it was sketching time:

Swirl Sketch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Once the shawl had been accepted I had to choose a more widely available yarn for my design.  This wasn’t difficult – I have a bit of a weakness for Manos Fino (a 4ply version of their popular Silk Blend yarn) and that comes in some pretty variegated colours, so we chose #6881/Jewel, a pretty mix of blue, turquoise, pink and purple.

And here is the finished article 😀 I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Rubbish model though!  I enjoyed making it so much I’ve already made another to keep for myself, but more about that when I get some decent photos (I’m waiting for the weather to pick up a bit).

Hope you like it!

Lottie x