The Unique Sheep asked me to design another shawl for their Zodiac Club. Last year I designed Taurus (in the shape of the Taurus symbol), which is now for sale to non-club members. Pisces features fish done in picture lace and repeats of the constellation Pisces along the border.
This crescent shawl fits wonderfully. The shape ensures that it stays on during all but the most vigorous arm movements, and the Tinsel Toes yarn drapes beautifully.
The colorway is one of Unique Sheep's signature Gradiance dyes. The result looks like it's been knit in one color and dipped in another. I used leftovers from this Pisces gradience colorway for the Sarah Wolbert mitts.
The shawl pictured here is the prototype. In the actual pattern the fish are spaced differently and the border has the constellations swimming in some of the garter waves that cascade down the sides of the shawl. (Thanks to test knitter Kelly Eells for the idea!)
This design was a real struggle, but now that it's finished it's a quick knit. There are both written instructions and charts for the garter wave edging and top, and charts for everything else.
One club member finished it in less than a week. The tencel in the yarn makes it feel actually cool to the touch, and this would make excellent beachwear. I plan to write another version with more garter waves in place of the lace fish. It should be ready by the time pattern sales open to non-club members.
This is my Forest Floor Stole, part of the Contrarion Shawls collection from Universal Yarns. Knit in luscious Fibranatura Llamalini, it begins with a length of stockinette fabric, then adds leaves one by one until there is a pile of leaves at the end of the scarf.
The cast-on end can roll as much or as little as you like. I personally like a lot of roll, but I blocked it with very little to show it can be done. Unwrapped short rows complete each leaf on the bind-off row.
This straightforward pattern has a great rhythm to it and works up so quickly you'll want to make another right away!
Finally! Photos of Taurus being worn.
Over a wrinkled shirt which I tried to iron with the retouch function. . . .
This is the prototype. The back "zodiac circle" is smaller in the actual pattern, so it lies flat. But I'm definitely going to use the larger circle as a design element in a future shawl. I love the way it hangs. I don't think I'm wearing the right shirt to show it off, but it really accentuates my waist when it hangs like this. I also love the way the Green Sheep Fingering feels against my skin, and the way it keeps the chill of the air conditioning off. This is my new go-to shawl. Just in time, too, since my daughter stole my old one!
I finished my Unique Sheep Zodiac Club design a couple months ago, but am just writing about it now. It's been busy around here---children's activities as well as my own work (both knit design and music) and I haven't managed to sit down and write.
The design is for Taurus, and the shawl is in the shape of the Taurus symbol. The head is a Zodiac wheel with twelve sections. There's a pillar-and-post division between the solid center sections and the alternating mesh and solid outer sections. The edging is a leaf-and-bud lace I developed when I couldn't find anything that exactly suited my needs. The pillar-and-post pattern is repeated on the left "horn" of the bull, and the leaf-and-bud pattern winds down the right.
Kelly Eells evolved this colorway from the Cafe Bouquet colorway from another Unique Sheep club. I didn't capture the greenest portions of the shawl, but I think the orange is fairly accurate. I enjoyed watching to see what color the next bud would be as the knitting progressed.
Every time I wear this shawl, my husband comments on it. I think it's mostly the color, but the shape is very flattering on me and I know he gets a real kick out of the bobbles.
I'll have to post modeled photos of the shawl after we take some. The pattern will be available for sale to non-club members around December.
The Unique Sheep has accepted one of my designs for next year's installment of the Zodiac Club. I'm not allowed to say which sign I'll be depicting, but I think it's okay to tell you I'm very excited about this particular shawl. More about this closer to the time.
Heather Dixon's "Glastonbury"
This issue of Clotheshorse is so enticing, I just had to post about it. (All photos are by Peter Demuth and courtesy of/copyright Clotheshorse magazine.)
The collections are each introduced with a runway report by Creative Director Heather Dixon. In two pages, Heather conveys the essence of the story---the colors, shapes, patterns, and textures she and Editorial Director Mindy Brown were looking for as they put together each issue.
The reports are brief editorials followed by analysis of several designers' current lines along with inspiring and representative runway photos.
The first collection this season is Ice Cream, with "lighter than air fabrics." The Raspberry Ripple skirt, by Mindy Brown and Mari Chiba, is a quintessential example of this texture. Worked in cool linen with tiers of lace at the lower edge, this garment clings to the form without sticking. Linen actually wicks heat away from the body---a perfect choice for a story inspired by cool treats.
Also featured is Marika Simon's Peach Melba, a crochet confection with puffed sleeves. It's so cute, it makes me want to learn how to crochet! Other notable patterns in this collection are Lidia Tsymbal's Very Vanilla and of course my own Cherry Cheesecake.
The Tribal Sport collection is full of items that would be fun to knit as well as wear. I absolutely adore Rene Dickey's cardigan, Della (click on the photo at right for a larger view). The diagonal rib provides chevrons that fit your form as well as the theme. The buttons are also perfect.
Susanna Ferguson's Naana is a cool cotton dress that looks extremely comfortable. Mindy Brown's Ogo is a swingy purse with tassles, and Gyorgyi Suta's Sapelle, below right, is a work of art.
Skirts, a hoody vest, T-shirts, and a fringed clutch make up this issues Festival story, the next collection in this issue.
Mountain Jam is Jane Howorth's contribution---a crochet lace fringed top which looks great over a camisole. Clotheshorse provides no descriptive text to accompany the designs, putting pressure on the photographer to show crucial elements. In this case, you have to go to the magazine itself (not the pattern archive) to see a good view of the sleeves, which have shoulder slits in the tops.
I adore Elena Ferrari's Field Day skirt. I'm clearly going to have to learn to crochet.
Besides the pattern collections, Clotheshorse also runs personal interest stories, product features, yarn shop close-ups, and interviews.
The last collection in this issue was inspired by the art game Spirograph. Mindy Brown's Equation looks like it would be warm but soft next to the skin in a silk-cashmere blend. Modeled over a skin-colored camisole and black pants, the crossover stitch and attractive color pooling really make this top stand out.
My Transverse didn't fare quite as well over the same camisole---perhaps the celery green of the lovely ribbon yarn is too pale to make the pattern pop, but I was able to get some photos of my own before shipping it off, and I can assure you it's a cool and versatile garment.
The entire collection is noteworthy, but Melissa Lemmon's Tangent, with I-Cord loops, deserves special mention. A fun piece that would be a blast to knit!
The Spring/Summer 2013 Clotheshorse went live yesterday, and two of my patterns were included. I'll post about Cherry Cheesecake, a really cool textured purse, tomorrow. Today's feature, Transverse, is a reversible cowl/vest which you can wear many different ways.
Transverse is a super-simple construction---a long and wide tube and a short and narrow tube connected by two pieces of medium length and width.
The model wears it with the short end on top, and boy is it cute that way on her! I prefer to wear it with the long end on top (below, left). You could probably even wear it as a hoodie that way.
The stitch pattern is Lynne Barr's Twist Pattern from Reversible Knitting. The yarn is Party from Crystal Palace, a nylon ribbon that not only lends variety to the dropped wraps sections but looks wonderful in the garter stitch intervals as well.
I love the Palm Leaf Wrap I made, and I finally have photos of it to show you. It was especially important to me to get photos because in a few weeks I won't have the actual object. It's intended for someone else, someone who loves everything I knit. (No, not you, sweet husband.)
I ended up seaming every other leaf as suggested in the pattern for the "capelet fit." I especially enjoy the way the leaves cuddle my shoulders this way.
Look for a review of the book this came from, Loop-d-Loop Lace, in a future post.
This is my unblocked version of Teva Durham's Palm Leaf Wrap.
And here it is pinned out for blocking.
Because my son keeps fish, I happen to know the pH of my tap water is extremely basic, so I dissolved a couple tablespoons of acetic acid along with a drop of gentle detergent in cold water to wash the wrap. I regularly do this with red and purple yarns to prevent bleeding because of our water's pH. This tip came from Jill Draper, when I had trouble with a dye that wouldn't stop running when rinsed in plain water.
After washing, I laid the wrap out on a couple of towels which were on a carpet remnant on our carpeted floor. I carefully pinned each lobe of the leaf and the two points below each leaf. I can hardly wait for it to dry.
The Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica that I used is a slightly lighter weight than called for in the pattern. It's a thick-and-thin yarn (just what it sounds like) which I thought would lend rusticity to the design. It's also kettle dyed, resulting in subtle tonal variegation which adds dimension to the color. Plus, I just love the company and its fair trade values. Recently I've been trying to stick to buying fair trade or organic yarn.
It's not a sacrifice.
I've been asked to contribute a design to The Unique Sheep's Zodiac Shawl Club. I can't give you any more details right now, but I'm thrilled to be working with Laura and Kelly. They were some of the first indie dyers to catch my eye, and I appreciate the evocative names they give their gorgeous colorways almost as much as the fabulous dye jobs themselves. I'll tell you more as soon as I can.
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