A Bramley Shawl

I've been seeing in the New Year with friends who live in the village of Bramley in Hampshire and and it's inspired me to knit a shawl with some very special yarn that was hand spun for me a couple of years ago and was just calling out to be used. I spent several hours combing Ravelry for the right pattern but couldn't find something that really seemed perfect for it, because it's quite a variegated yarn, though I have been inspired by many different shawls, particularly the Textured Shawl recipe by Orlane (Ravelry link).

So I thought that it might be fun to blog the pattern as I knit it. Part public note of what I did, part pattern for anyone else who might be crazy enough to join me on a very random, but hopefully, simple, elegant and attractive shawl knitalong.

So here goes.

Use whatever combination of yarn and needles makes you happy.

I'm using 6.5mm and a handspun yarn that feels like heavy sock weight, possibly 4ply and intend to knit until I run out of yarn. I have no idea of the yardage but I've got about 140g of it.

Cast On 3 stitches (sts) Knit (k) 12 rows Pick up and knit 10 sts along long edge and 3 sts from cast on edge

This gives a lovely garter stitch border along the top of the shawl and is worth the fiddliness of the picking up and knitting.

K3, yarn over (yo), purl (p) to last 3 sts, yo, k3

Section 1

K3, yo, [k3, yo, k1, yo] x3 yo, k3 Next and all wrong side rows: K3, p to last 3sts, k3

Begin all right side rows with k3, yo and end with yo, k3

Repeat the following 3 times for each right side row K5, yo, k1, yo K7, yo, k1, yo K9, yo, k1, yo Etc.

The number of stitches in each repeat increases by 2 each row. Continue until there are 21 sts in each repeat before the spine [yo, k1, yo]

Section 2 [this section subject to change - it isn't working the way I hoped it would]

Knit 2 together (k2tog), yo to last stitch before the spine, k1 K1, yo, k2tog through back loops (k2tog tbl) to spine Repeat these two rows 4 more times

Section 3

(To Be Continued)

Knitting for Lori

There are generally considered to be two kinds of knitter: those who are process knitters and those who are product knitters. I used to consider myself firmly in the product camp, choosing small projects for that instant gratification, look I made a thing feeling. That said, quite often recently I've found myself not completing a project, ripping it back (at more than 75% complete) and not feeling particularly bothered by it, which would seem to lump me in the process category, where I knit because I want to knit, but I'm not particularly fussed by producing anything of particular worth. Journey, not destination.

Of course, there are more than two kinds of knitter. In fact, there are as many kinds of knitter as there are actual knitters - no two are exactly alike, but they can be sorted into broad categories. The next great schism is probably monogamous/non-monogamous.

I'm distinctly non-monogamous with my knitting. I've got *cough* projects in various stages of completion, and I don't feel any need to finish one before starting another. In fact, you could even term it start-itis. I start lots of things, but after a while, the enthusiasm wanes and I move onto something shiny and new.

It's easy to be whatever kind of knitter you are when you're knitting for yourself, but when you knit for a friend (or family), things necessarily have to change. All the usual distractions and mid-project lulls will still kick in, but now you have somebody waiting for something, which is why it's really important to only ever offer to knit something for someone who will appreciate the time and effort you're putting in, and treat the finished item with the love, care and attention that it deserves.

"wrong" side ripples close up

Four years ago (excuse me for a moment while I boggle about how time has flown. Ok. I'm done.), I was in the midst of a very serious knitting addiction. My drug of choice was the Clapotis, a large scarf/wrap which captured my attention. I think by the time I was done, I'd knitted five and a half Clapotis(es?) in various sizes. The final, full-size Clapotis went to the lovely Lori Smith, who'd admired one of mine (I only have one still in my possession) and asked if I'd knit her one.

By the time I started knitting hers, in truth, the attraction began to wane, but although it took me far longer than I anticipated, I kept going through the miles of middle section, and finally, to the end, and I was so pleased that I had, because it really suited her.

Lori wearing her Clapotis

Recently, Lori mentioned on twitter that she would like a snood knitted, and I offered my knitting services once more (there is no drug greater than the sincere appreciation of a handknitted item). She had very specific ideas in mind (which is a good thing) and a couple of weeks ago we met up at John Lewis in Oxford Street go do some yarn shopping.

It was originally supposed to be red and woolly, but after wandering round, our attention was grabbed by a 50/50 wool/silk blend in a pink so bright it was almost offensive. Pink is not the colour either of us would go for by choice, but it just refused to be put down, so not long after, we left John Lewis with a bag full of pink yarn and a pattern.

PINK!

I'm about 75% of the way through the snood, and while the yarn is wonderful to work with and I've enjoyed the feel of it running through my fingers as I knit, I'm reaching the knitting equivalent of the point of maximum dread. You know the end is near but it isn't near enough to give you that second wind to push to the end and the pattern has leveled out to being knit, knit, knit all the way. With each day, the urge to start something new grows. It's a sickness, I know.

The point of this post is not to have a moan about knitting for someone else. I love knitting for people who appreciate it. It really is a wonderful feeling when you've put time and effort into something and that effort is appreciated. It's just an acknowledgment that my inclination is to start something knew, even though I know the satisfaction will be less than that which will be felt by finishing this and handing it over. After all, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Hi, my name is Ann and I have chronic startitis.

(Hello Ann)

etc.

It's also an excuse to show off some pictures of yarn and stuff, because there's not nearly been enough knitting on this blog so far.

Swatch A Day January 8 Knotted Openwork

Swatch a day: January 8 Knotted Openwork

Similar pattern to yesterday, just with no complicated purling, which would make it great for socks. Quite stretchy too.

Note to self: find more interesting way to take pictures of swatch and calendar.

Swatch A Day January 7 Crocus Buds

Swatch a day: January 7 Crocus Buds

Lovely stitch pattern this. Really like the fabric it creates.

Lifting a stitch over two others purlwise all along the row is more difficult than I thought, especially on public transport. I dropped stitches here, there and everywhere in doing this.

This is also a pattern that could really stand heavy blocking. As it was, I had to push it in a little to get it to the same dimensions as day 1.

Swatch A Day January 6 Simple Lace Rib

Swatch a Day: January 6 Simple Lace Rib

Six days in, and I've managed to start and finish each swatch on the day, which is longer than I thought I'd last.

It's fun though, and I'm learning lots about how stitch patterns affect gauge.

I'm also learning that the occasional twisted knit stitch is okay, but twisted purls are the devil's work.

Swatch A Day January 5 Lacy Rib

Swatch a Day: January 5 - Lacy Rib

Today's lesson was how much lace can increase the stitch gauge, especially when blocking. I actually had to push the sides in to get it to be the same width as the other swatches.

Swatch A day January 4 ZigZag Openwork

Swatch a Day: January 4 - Zigzag Openwork

Started on the tube to work.

Continued on the tube home from work.

Finished on the sofa, during an episode of NCIS Season 3.

Nice quick pattern this, with every other row having only half the stitches.

Swatch A Day January 3 Brick Rib

Swatch a Day: January 3 - Brick Rib

Started: on the tube to work. Finished: during NCIS Season 3, Episode 1.

Notes: 12 row repeat made it more complicated for tube knitting than I'd have liked.

Swatch A Day January 2 Whelk Pattern

Swatch a Day: January 2 - Whelk Pattern

Some details, for those of you who like that kind of thing.

Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style Colourways: Asparagus, Storm, Moss, Cinnamon, Pine, Hollyberry Needle: Addi Lace 4mm 60cm No of Cast on Stitches: 25 (fudged with knit stitches at either side if the stitch pattern repeat comes up short) Rows: however many to get the same height as the swatch from day 1 when blocked.

The (self imposed, and therefore liable to change) Rules

Swatch has to be started and finished on the day in question. Ideally, washed and blocked the same day too.

The Plan

Knit as many swatches as I can from the six balls of yarn, hope they come out in a relatively even number, then stitch them together in an afghan, the arrangement of which is yet to be decided.

Swatch A Day January 1 Basket Rib

Swatch a Day: January 1 - Basket Rib

One of the things I bought when visiting Hill Country Weavers last March was a 365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar.

I've used it a few times in 2007, mostly as a stitch dictionary, and hadn't really thought about it beyond that, until two days ago, when I was struck with a brilliantstupid idea.

The idea being that I'd knit a swatch, every day, from my perpetual calendar (taking a day off on the 29th of February, because it wasn't made for a leap year), and I'd see how many afghans I could make.

I thought about it a bit more, because I wasn't sure I could commit the time, but then I thought about it even more, and figured what the hell - I'll make the time.

So yesterday, I picked a ball of yarn and a suitable circular needle, sat down and got started. I cast on 25 stitches, knit 40 rows, then cast off. It took me less time than The Simpsons Movie.

Then, in the break between finishing the Simpsons Movie and starting to watch Evil Aliens, I nipped into the bathroom, gave it a wash and blocked it a little, so it could be nice and perky for it's close up, which was taken today (2nd January) at the Royal Festival Hall, where the I Knit group had chosen to have its first outing of the year.