swatch-o-rama

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what’a big project without a little (or a LOT) of agonizing, eh??

well, i might be exaggerating . . . agony is not a word i like to use around my wool; after all, it’s knitting.

ok, so here goesโ€”i’m going to try to explain my “process”. it’s probably gonna sound like a lot of guessing, cuz, you know what?? i DO do a lot of guessing. educated guessing, maybe, but most times there is a lot of trial and error in the process of coming up with the right cohesion of yarn, stitches, scale, and sequence that make up a shawl design. and even then? it might be crap . . .

i started with a bunch of stitchbooks that i was browsing through, and noticed that there were several bee-themed stitches in them. i thought it would be cool to design a shawl around them maybe . . . if i could find the right yarn.

fast-forward about 10 months and anne approaches me about designing something to go with her hand-dyed yarn. she is willing to dye something to match my idea. she sends me samples

so i got started, using all the colors to swatch with
i took a stitch that to me, looks like the texture of a hive . . .

followed it with a swarm of bees, heading out from the hive for the fields

all the while, i am totally enamored of this dainty edge

after the bee swarm, i added a third tier of alternating panels. i worked three different combinations, because i’m still not completely decided on which pairing is best

there is bee and honeycomb

bee and flower

or, bee and grass waving in the wind

here are some composite shots
i like the progression from the center out in this first one, just not sure of the panel combo . . .

i like the progression here too, but i’m pretty sure i don’t like the honeyb mesh in between the bee panels.

it’s very light and pretty in the sunlight, but doesn’t allow the bee panel edges to hold their shape . . . (i KNOW!! so many things to consider!)

then there is this one. the progression is wrong, but i like the panel combination. only thing is, that alternating fern pattern has been used in several other shawls, and i don’t like to be repetitive.

so, here’s what i’ve decided on the yarn colors

i’ll be knitting it in the greeny-yellow, and the kit will also be offered in the honey-gold.

question for you: what size do you like in a triangle shawl? i am always torn about shawl size. i notice that a lot of patterns in magazines are quite small, but is that what you prefer? or do you like something that is a little larger and stays onthe shoulders better?
i usually write my patterns for a larger shawl, and figure that the knitter can make it smaller by using finer yarn and smaller needles. also, i often include two sizes.

but are they still too big? tell me what size is your favorite . . .

74 thoughts on “swatch-o-rama

  1. The swatches are beautiful. I love the swarming bees in particular, and the waving grass, and the honey gold colorway. I vote for large shawls; I wear shawls all the time and don’t like fussing with small ones. As I was reading your post, I was listening to the radio and heard a story about the mystery of what is happening to honey bees these days–why are they disappearing? Perhaps a swarm of bee shawls will help.

  2. Your shawl designs are always so pretty. I love the yarn and design of your latest creation. Being only 4’11” tall I like smaller shawls, although I’d love to be wrapped in a shawl as a blanket.

  3. OK, OK. I’m going to HAVE to learn lace knitting. Ann, you scoundrel! This. Is. Gorgeous.

  4. Regarding size, I prefer big shawls, personaly. I really love that bee swarm lace pattern! And I find myself oddly drawn to the browny-yellow yarn…

  5. Oh, Anne. Would you slow down? I can’t keep up! I’m only halfway done with Morning Glory! I will have to have this shawl,too. I’m a famous lover of bees and this is going to be beautiful. I’d say that as long as the pattern has the ability to add repeats to make it larger, it wouldn’t matter what size you wrote. But if it would be difficult or impractical with the pattern, I’d say go with large. I tend to think of tiny little shawls that sit on your back as person doilies. Something you can wrap up in and put a pretty shawl pin to keep it on is far showier and more luxurious.

  6. normally, I wouldn’t comment on shawl construction, I leave that to te expperts, lets face it, I am so far from a lace knitter tta its frigtening BUT *ya knew it was coming*, I like the Bees and Flowers, to me, they just make sense. But as always Anne, being the friend that I am, feel free to knit whatever one you want and then I’ll be happy to wear it for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Something you can totally wrap yourself in is the best in my opinion, but Oh Anne! These pieces are amazing. I thnk the panel with the bees with the waving grass is my favorite of the last 3. There is something quite pleasing about the way the grass waves away and toward the bees. And the panel with the bees flying away from the hive, that is just so perfect… okay have to start the Morning Glory now…

  8. Hey, I LOVE the bees! I can’t wait to see the finished shawl.
    I have only knit one triangular shawl, but I like them to be large enough for the point to come down past my belt at least. When I wear shawls, I like them to be big and dramatic:) But I don’t wear them often, I mainly just like to knit them.

  9. I love the bees! I prefer a shawl that covers shoulders and can be wrapped around a bit but not too long. I have been a closet blog reader and this is the first time I have commented on your blog. I am completly blown away by your talent and although I have been an avid knitter for 30 years, I am just now trying lace. Thanks for the inspiration and I just might have to order the kit.

  10. I thought I wouldn’t like the honey-gold yarn at all. It was too dark and I just couldn’t see it. But wow. It’s gorgeous.

    My vote is for a larger shawl. Are you set on the triangle shape instead of a rectangle or Faroese style as other people have mentioned? Although after not seeing the morning glories and then not seeing the honey-gold color yarn, I think I should definitely realize that you have a much, much better eye and imagination.

  11. A- I like the 3rd composite shot – the progression from each panel makes visual sense. Could you also include a pattern for a rectangular shawl – I like those better than triangular. Many thanks. Love your shawls!

  12. I am very impressed. Although I consider myself a fiber artist in many ways, your talent in creating patterns is truely awesome. I admire your talent, but much prefer to be on the receiving end – purchasing the pattern. As to the question of sml vs. lrg shawl – I would have to vote large. Being a rather buxom individual, small triangle shawls look ridiculous on me. Good job, they are beautiful.

  13. I agree with Rachel on two counts. first, make th size dependent on the yarn weight, so if someone wants it different, they can substitute.
    Second, I too love the honeycomb pattern, and wish it was possibly to integrate it gracefully into the larger piece.
    -C

  14. I always prefer larger shawls. They can be worn or draped differently to appear to be smaller if preferred, but I prefer one that is large and that you can really wrap up in.

  15. I would say a larger shawl (if you really wanted my completely honest opinion, I would say go for a wrap or stole instead). But, since we are talking shawls, larger.

    I adore the bee and wheat pattern. You have a gift!

  16. So, how soon can we purchase this pattern? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love the bees and the hives and the grasses pattern. I came over here on a link from JenLa and now am tormented by visions of knitting lace. I admire both your skill and patience in doing so many swatches!

  17. Oh my, I have a sudden urge to knit this shawl. I HATE bees – I’m allergic to stinging things, but I guess honeybees don’t sting? I’m not sure – I’ve always lumped all bee-like insects together and avoided the hell out of them.

    But NOW…now, I must have this shawl. Despite the fact that I have almost no lace experience. Despite that fact that I have never knit a shawl. And, despite the fact that I have no money for yarn or patterns right now.

    You almost got me with the Morning Glory one – you probably still will with that one, actually. But I am weirdly drawn to this bee one!!

    So very cool! Great job!!

    And that edging is perfect – it reminds me of clover flowers, where bees hang out! Oh, and I like the idea of large shawls – I would want to cocoon myself in it like a blanket. I hate the way small triangular shawls look.

  18. Bee and Honeycomb is my favorite, by far. That’s interesting how bees have taken over your mind. Lovely lovely swatches all of them. I do like larger shawls. I don’t see the point of little shawlette-things b/c they don’t look like they’d stay up, so what’s the point? but that’s just my opinion.

  19. I love the pattern, I was thinking about just before I fell asleep the other night. Wondering whether it exists a yarn that is both a soft honey yellow (not to whitebrightyellow) and goes over into a mid brown. Thinking of the colour of bees, honey and the earth. Any ideas?

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