Spring is in full bloom now. The pink blossoms are on the ground and the trees have deployed their leaves. Everything is green and colourful, and we just had a very warm, summer-like week last week.
I had to get used to the warm weather, but after a few days I started to enjoy it. I went outside to take photographs of all the pretty flowers, and to enjoy the air that is filled with the lovely perfume of nature.
The evenings are light and long, still a bit chilly though. Freya is starting to shed fur a bit. But last weekend, the temperatures dropped back to normal, and I find that refreshing. It even rained, finally.
I started spinning some other green fibre a few weeks ago, but then I got distracted by the shawl that I had started to knit before that. It’s Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust by Lily Go designs. I used some silver-coloured handspun yarn to knit this. I never blogged about spinning this yarn (which was a treat!), but I got the fibre at a nice wool party at my LYS. It’s from the Indie dyer Under Dutch Skies, Blend S, to be precise. This gorgeously soft blend consists of 50% merino, 25% silk and 25% bamboo fibres. I spun it in 2017.
I had been looking for a pattern that suited the yarn, and I finally found it in the beautifully textured design by Lily Go. As I am also participating in a MirkwoodArts SAL at the moment, my mind went immediately to the mythical mithril from the Tolkien universe: a metal that looks like silver, but is lighter and stronger.
The shawl is knit from the bottom up, and it starts with a picot cast-on. Those are quite labour-intensive – casting on 552 stitches that way takes some dedication. Of course I had to choose the L version…
Intermission: while that tedious cast-on is proceeding, here’s a happy picture of Freya to delight you.
Anyway, after that cast-on ordeal was finished, I could really start knitting. The edging of the shawl incorporates beads as well. I asked my husband which beads would work well from the ones that I have in my stash, and he chose some Miyuki rocailles 8/0 in silverlined light sapphire. He has a good eye for it!
I used size 8/0 beads instead of the more usual 6/0 for fingering weight yarn. That’s because I like the delicacy of small beads. They look like little dew drops, and they don’t dominate the fabric. I used a 0.60mm crochet hook to put the beads onto the stitches.
The edging consists of a few repeats of a simple pattern of increases and decreases. You can hardly see the beads in the picture, but they are there, one next to each hole.
Incorporated in the body of the shawl there are three beaded diamonds. The center one is larger than the other two. The rest of the shawl is basically reverse ribbing. I love the result.
As you knit, the rows only become shorter, so as you proceed, knitting the shawl becomes faster and faster. The unblocked shape is a bit different from the shape after blocking. The bind off stitches in the middle don’t follow the curve, but that is easily corrected by blocking the shawl properly. If it bounces back a bit afterwards, you have a bit of a collar on the shawl, which is not that bad. My husband said “Oh, it’s not that big” when I showed him the unblocked shawl. Just wait and see.
I started blocking the shawl and had to chase off Freya. She thought it was great that I was moving a blocking wire around for her to hunt. She also bunny-kicked my shawl when I laid it down for the unblocked picture. Mischievous kitty! Still adorable.
This is what the shawl looks like while blocking. Note that I had to add some extra blocking mat pieces compared to the previous picture. Blocked, it’s about 30 cm wider. When my husband entered the room, he was surprised how much it had grown.
The shawl looks quite dark because it is still wet. I pinned every picot and used blocking wires for the top edge.
I also put pins around the diamonds. This is one of the smaller ones. The beads fit well, don’t you think?
I like the way the reverse ribbing looks, and how well it works with the simple edging pattern.
Here you can see how I pinned the diamonds.
Freya! That shawl is still soaking wet! Why are you sitting on it already!?
And now that it’s dry, she’s going for a proper cat-press.
I’m really looking forward to wearing my mithril shawl. There will be more chilly days.
And here are some pics of wearing the shawl. It was a sunny day today, so I tried it out on the balcony.