Monday, April 9, 2012

ravenwing shawl

in which our plucky heroine looks on the dark bright side, and talks a bit about design decisions...

another significant doctor appointment coming up, and rather than dwell on that, instead think about how it was a spring day warm enough to be able to wear the just finished Ravenwing Shawl.

This project started out as a design experiment, adapting a favorite simple texture to a new shape, using a basic recipe found in an online "cheat sheet". Great success, the heart-crescent shawl really wants to stay put around your shoulders, which is an excellent characteristic. I suspect that most future shawl knitting will use this basic recipe, but then my personal preference is currently strongly in the shawl rather than scarf camp.

I then went a little over the edge and decided on adding a knitted beaded twisted fringe as the border. Why? Tosh Vintage is a very smooth multi-ply yarn with exquisite colors and a somewhat polished appearance, at least compared to my beloved Noro Kureyon, which is far more rustic. My favorite Noro shawlette has a border of knitted long picots, which give a sort of rough tentacular fringe effect, for Ravenwing, something more refined seemed appropriate. The tendrils from Cat Bordhi would do nicely, and even better if they were tipped with beads...

You'd think that in such a large and crafty city, that finding suitable beads would be easy. Nope. So often, when inspiration strikes, the specific materials seen in the mindseye are not seen in the shops. Even a field trip to the vast warehouse of Shipwreck Beads outside Olympia did not provide the exact beads I envisioned, but they did have some matte black glass beads that would work. Oh my word, the border took almost as long to knit as the body of the shawl, as each individual fringe had to have three glass beads picked up with the most tiny crochet hook, slipped onto the yarn loop before twisting, plying and then knitting on... didn't bother to actually count, but there were somewhere between 200 and 300 beads used.

The results make me very happy indeed. The beaded border adds a fair bit of weight to the edge, the fringe hangs nicely because of the beads (some wool yarn fringes can tangle up in an unbecoming fashion) and the rich subtle colors of the yarn is set off by the grey/black border. I call this a win.
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Just in case you need another thing to do with knitting needles, check out this demonstration:

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If all goes well in the land of med-fu, and my restrictions are lifted, there will be a modest return to work happening. Some marmalade made from some of the last of the organic blood oranges, currently sitting in the fridge, is scheduled for this week as well, it would be a very sad year if no marmalade was made at all. There may be some experimental jam bars happening too, suitable for long distance transport; I have promised G that homemade cookies will prove to be a good substitute for truck stop sweets, a promise he is looking forward to collecting on... here's hoping that my energy proves up to the tasks set for the week!

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