just one thing

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

last easter, my good friend kris handed me a bag and said: please take this before i ruin it—i tried to knit it into lace and i just can’t. maybe you can think of something to do with it; if not give it to someone who can.

i looked inside and saw two balls of beautiful hand maiden yarn. one had a tag that said rumple, though it doesn’t look like the rumple they have on their site now (it’s not a bouclé). this one is a silk 2-ply fingering yarn, which is soft and has a slightly rustic texture—the colorway is a cindery blend of black, bluish charcoal, and deep rust. this piece is from the end of the skein where the colors were slightly lighter

maybe it’s really silken but had an incorrect tag?

kris had a pattern she was trying to navigate with it, but without much success and she seemed pretty discouraged. she’s a sorceress with growing plants, and generously provides us with starters for our garden each year. but knitting lace was getting the best of her. i knew right away that i wanted to knit something for her with the yarn—she loves scarves and little shoulder shawls—she’s the perfect lace recipient.

i rewound it and kept it at the front of my yarn queue for the rest of the year, but never quite came up with the right project—heavier silk yarns exhibit interesting behavior on the needles and don’t always translate well into lace. the 2-ply texture of this yarn demanded a robust motif that would maintain its integrity even with a little bumpiness in the yarn.

the other thing about kris that we love is that her birthday falls the day after mine, and as the date drew closer, i really wished i had done something with the yarn to celebrate. then, last weekend, an idea finally coalesced in my mind. i was missing my caricia project, having gotten it off the needles a few days earlier. while casting about for just the right kind of project to replace it, i came across a stitch pattern in one of my japanese books that i thought would work in a similar type of triangle shawl—easy to do and quick. AND i thought it would look great in the dark brown-black silk yarn.

i really wasn’t shooting for the birthday gift at that point (her BD was wednesday), but then i realized i might be able to do it—i had just 300 meters of yarn to knit up in five days or so. and our dinner date with them wasn’t til friday . . . i was wiling to give it my best.

i found an edging that complimented the body stitch, drew up a quick chart, and cast on right away that evening. can you spell A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D? this was very fun.
i did manage to finish it up wednesday night, so that on thursday i was blocking

this was another design that i could start at the smallest point (top center neck) and knit outwards til my yarn was gone (important since i had just one skein)


silk blocks out so nicely . . . i thought it would be harder to get it to stretch to the size i wanted, but it was pretty compliant—i ended up with mini shawl that measures about 56 inches across the top. it’s a good scarfing size for such a lightweight fabric.

i’m not sure i adore the outer edge; i wanted to put a knit-on edge there, but i wasn’t at all sure how much yarn i’d need and didn’t want to take time to experiment.

this piece will become a pattern, though, and there will be another sample so i might change it at that time. and then, it might be that in a week’s time i’ll be fine with it.

i DO love the join, which falls at the nape of the neck (more pix below)

and here’s a shot of the shawl tip—the top edging on this piece is wider than i usually choose to do and has a more graphic quality

it sorta speaks to the hem, which has a bit of an egg-and-dart look going on, but i’m not sure it’s just right. like i said, i can refine that the next time around (which will be soon, i promise)

i unpinned it friday morning and threw it on the dress form for a little modeling session

ok, maybe threw isn’t the right word—i did fuss a bit with draping and pins (the pins in the photos above and below are from perl grey, a sister company to hand maiden and fleece artist)

and once we get going playing dress up with dolls around here, the fun never ends

here’s a nice shot of the hem point

and that top edging

the center back at the neck

totally kissable.

and here are a few full-body shots—the front

the back—look at how the color gradually changes from that deeply charred color at the top to the burnt-rust at the edges

it’s the color of glowing embers. i didn’t really see the full effect myself til the light was pouring through it.

with and without tails.

the yarn really has a great structure; it’s very soft, but it holds its shape quite well—you’d almost think it would have a starched feeling but no, it’s lovely.
there wasn’t much yarn left at the end; maybe enough for mending if it’s ever needed

the best part of the whole project was giving it away; it was my favorite moment of all.

so this is the secret i was distracted by all week; a really enjoyable surprise to make for a friend. you’ll be seeing more about this project as i develop a pattern for it and knit another sample; i want to knit a bigger one this time.

81 thoughts on “just one thing

  1. Anne, what a lovely match of fiber and pattern. Your design instincts are so strong. I love the border as much as everyone else has said before me. I’ll be interested to see what you come up with for the hem. I have some ebony sea-silk that might need to be this pattern or the stole… Margot’s idea for a stole with the border on each long side and the peaks at the ends is brilliant!

  2. Everything about this is just too scrumptious! I wish I could have seen the expression on your friend’s face.

    I can’t wait for this one! Off to set aside a skein-in-waiting to do this justice! A belated Happy Birthday to you, too!

  3. What a wonderful creation! What an extra-special birthday gift!

    I hope, hope, hope that you’ll create a stole pattern. I have a friend who loves handknits but hates triangular shawls. This — in a stole, with the edging on both sides — would be perfect. Please, please …

  4. When I grow up I want to be able to create shawls just like you! Another great shawl, so stunning. Yes please a bigger one. It is truly lovely, as usual.

  5. It’s just beautiful – lucky Kris 🙂
    I particularly like the ‘graphic’ topping – it’s bold, lovely and suits the piece like a dream. I really really like it.

  6. The shawl is beautiful & so is the wonderful story behind it. God has not only blessed you with a wonderful talent, but a wonderful heart as well. Thank you for sharing your talent with the rest of the world.

  7. this is a lovely colour, and as usual you found the perfect pattern for it. Happy belated birthday, Anne!

  8. I really like this pattern, Anne…especially the leaves around inner border. Do you have any tips/hints for someone who is interested in becoming a designer (hopefully as good as you) someday?

  9. YOU ARE AMAZING! Better not compliment you too much – next year the birthday hat won’t fit.

  10. This shawl is so pretty. Please make a pattern for the small size as well. Some shawls are much to big for those of us in the petite range of sizes.

  11. chiming in with the majority to say that i like every component and how they go together — another one i can hardly wait to get for myself.

  12. What a lovely gift! I really like knits that come with a story; thanks, Anne, for sharing this one.
    The top edging is so pretty! Actually, it’s the first thing that caught my eye in the first full shot of the shawl on the blocking wires. I love it!

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