Shawl Challenge 2014 – July FO

Sunshine, hayfever, holidays, air conditioning – that’s summer to me. So there’s not a lot of knitting going on at the moment, anywhere. I keep seeing blogs and podcasts from the most ardent of knitters, and we’re all struggling for inspiration. I can’t even get worked up about the new Rowan magazine. It won’t last long, I’m sure.

KALs definitely help, and I’ve finished my Lilac Drizzle. This is the second of the Meteorology collection from Agnes Kutas Knitwear, featured in the associated KAL on Ravelry.

Lilac Drizzle

Here’s detail of the body, showing the moss stitch (yes!) bands between the lace sections:

Lilac Drizzle body detail

and the border:

Lilac Drizzle border detail

I picked the larger size, which meant that I had over 500 sts when knitting the border section, and over 800 to cast off.  Not a problem! The thing I like best about knitting in laceweight – and I sometimes forget this – is the stage when I’m 60 or 70 grammes into a ball and I’ve a lovely bundle of lace in my lap. And the same applies to the finished article – I just love lots of frothy lace!

I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace, shade 10, which is definitely Lilac, although very pink. And guess what colour I’m planning to use for the last shawl in the collection?

My sock thing has abated too, so it was a struggle to finish Minster:

Minster sock

My first Rachel Coopey knit, and definitely not my last. But it makes you feel hot just looking at them, doesn’t it?

Having nothing on the needles, I turned to my crochet. But not for long, because it’s too warm to crochet with an acrylic blanket over my knees! However, I think I’ll have a go at Lucy’s Bower Bird, now that she’s published the pattern as a PDF. Since this may not interest non-hookers, I’ll blog about it over here.

Do you have a skein of yarn which looked really special in the LYS but you can’t do anything with it? Let me just say Zauberball or, more particularly, Lace Ball. What would you do with a Lace Ball 100 in Heißes Eisen?

Lace Ball 100 in Heißes Eisen

I have tried THREE times to knit something with it, and it may be third time lucky. But more of that next time…

Shawl Challenge 2014 – July Shortlist

The shortlist of shawls published in June is the shortest yet – only 14:

So this is going to be quick. Last month I joined Agnes Kutas-Keresztes’ Meteorology KAL and knitted Mist. This month, I’m going to carry on and knit Drizzle. In purple. Although the “lilac” shade of yarn I’m using is really rather pinky. And it’s likely I’ll knit Rainbow in August.

So that’s my 12 shawls for 2014 completed and I’ve duly posted in the banner thread. At which point, considering the dearth of appealing (to me) designs in June, I thought this challenge was pretty much over. But perhaps not. A few designs have appeared in the last two days which have tickled my interest. The wonderful Heidi Alander has published another gem, so I’ve revived my board for July.

Do I sound grumpy? Sorry. Put it down to the ridiculously high pollen count.

Shawl Challenge 2014 – June FOs

After a day or two of indecision, I picked Positive Thoughts #1 as my shawl of the month. The name is so inspiring, it just had to be chosen.

Knitted in one of my favourite yarns, Drops Lace, here’s Positively Purple:

Positively Purple

It was a bit of a struggle to get started with laceweight after so much 4-ply, and stocking stitch is never very even on large needles. Once I’d got into the eyelets section things got more interesting, and by the final lace border I was really enjoying the knit. This is definitely a “therapy knit”, so if you’re in need of something relaxing but with enough going on to keep you absorbed, grab some yarn and a circular. The design calls for 4-ply but, as you can see, it’s fine in laceweight as well.

On my shortlist for July you’ll see another two Ágnes Kutas-Keresztes designs, and she’s running a KAL for her Meteorology collection on Ravelry. I have the first, Mist, from Knit Now 21, so there was nothing for it but to join in and cast on.

Here’s Purple Mist, knitted in Knit Picks Gloss Lace.

Lilac Mist

I really love this design: it’s made by the contrast between the open lace sections and the tighter, textured bands. The main pattern repeats are short (only 6 stitches over 8 rows) and easily remembered.

Here’s a bit of detail to show you what I mean:

Lilac Mist detail

And yes, those are bobbles! I must have been enjoying the knit because I don’t like bobbles (unless they’re crochet) and yet I followed the pattern conscientiously.

What next? Since it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, knitting is going through a bit of a lull. Not that much of a trough, because there’s lots of sport on TV and that’s great for couch-knitting. But I’m not feeling too inspired and I might take the somewhat simple option of working through Agnes’ Drizzle and Rainbow in the coming weeks. Hey, that could be my next challenge: complete an entire collection over 3 months.

In purple.

Shawl Challenge 2014 – June Shortlist

Here’s my Pinterest board of shawls published in May which I’d like to knit this month.

Not as many as previous months, but there’s more crochet this time. However, while I’m still ploughing through my Granny Stripe I’m not that likely to hook a shawl as well.

When I last posted on this blog I thought I’d already picked a design for June. It seemed a foregone conclusion that I’d knit Kate Davies’ A Hap for Harriet. But yesterday I changed my mind.

As part of my current sock thing, I’m knitting Rachel Coopey’s Jane Bennet Socks, one of the many designs in Jane Austen Knits Summer 2012. Looking through this magazine, I remembered I bought it mainly for the Margaret Dashwood Shawl by Joanna Johnson, but didn’t knit it, possibly because it needs 500m of 4-ply. Or more probably because there’s a lot of garter stitch and not much else.

Here’s a detail lifted from the magazine:

Margaret Dashwood Shawl detail

And here’s Kate’s beautiful shawl:

A Hap for Harriet

If I can’t get round to knitting something like this in 4-ply… And that’s the challenge for this month: a full-sized shawl in laceweight. It’s a shame, because I really like On the Pier, Velvet Rose, Itineris and Pebble Beach as well! And there’s another Paulina Popiolek design (Axis) too – perhaps another month.

Unfortunately, Zsuzsa Kiss’ Steady isn’t available until 14 June and even I can’t manage a full-size lace shawl in two weeks. So that leaves a shortlist of five.

Now, I bet you’re thinking “pink and lacy, for sure” and you’d be right. So let’s start with Lakshmi Juneja’s Ellora, because there are beads as well (I’m so predictable):

Ellora by Lakshmi Juneja

Second, May Shawl by Irena D:

May Shawl by Irena D

A Faroese from Kimberly Gintar, Yvonne’s Wings:

Yvonne's Wings by Kimberly Gintar

Fourth, Positive Thoughts #1 by yellowcosmo:

Positive Thoughts #1 by yellowcosmo

And finally, Herbarium by Alina Appasov:

Herbarium Lace Shawl by Alina Appasov

Hmm. I can’t decide between the last two. Oh dear…

 

Shawl Challenge 2014 – May FOs

Yes, that’s plural. I have three finished shawls this month, featuring beads, slipped stitches and stripes.

First of all, beads. Here’s Custardseed, which is Boo Knits’ Mustardseed in West Yorkshire Spinners’ Signature and some clear silver-lined beads:

Custardseed

Some detail on the beading:

Custardseed detail

The colour, Butterscotch, is part of the Sweet Shop range of the Signature yarn line. Totally edible!

Slipping stitches and dropping triple yarnovers made for some intriguing knitting. Here’s my version of Zoolandia by Stephen West for DrawFour Designs:

Droppin' and Weavin'

The slipped stitches create a woven effect and the dropped yarnovers open up the fabric. Since the picot cast off took several days it was a while before I blocked it, and I could have done it better. Still, it’s small and sweet.

Detail from Droppin' and Weavin'

The design is perfect for the Rowan Fine Art, colourway Tawny, or any other variegated sock yarn.

Finally, stripes. Here’s the Butterscotch Signature again, teamed with Cardamon from the Spice Rack range of the same line. I love this design, I adore the yarn, and looking at the finished object just makes me smile.

So here’s Just Smile, which is my version of Meadowgrass by Heidi Alander.

Just Smile

Now I think you’ll have gathered that I’m totally gone on the West Yorkshire Spinners’ Signature yarn. It takes a great deal of willpower to pass my LYS each week and not add to my stash, so I’ve bought loads of the stuff. The colours, the softness, the lustre (it’s 35% Bluefaced Leicester) are just fabulous. Possibly as a reaction to the shawl-knitting binge, I now have a sock thing.

In the Sarsaparilla colourway, here are Pop Sox, using Mone Drager’s Magnolia Lace Socks design (in issue 33 of Knit Now).

Pop Sox

More beads!

The sock thing is demanding that I finally knit some Rachel Coopey designs. Her Jane Bennet Socks on are on needles, in the Poppy Seed colourway, and I have more Cardamon for Crenate. I could even stretch to Hyacinth Socks in Pennyroyal. After that, if this madness continues, I might revisit Cookie A.

However, returning to the Shawl Challenge, I’m thinking next month should be laceweight. And I’ve yet to knit a Kate Davies design…