Design / Knitting / Spinning

A Shrubbery!

That’s what I wanted. And that’s what I got!

A Shrubbery!!!

Well, not an actual shrubbery, of course. And I did not say “Ni!”. But when I went through my stash, looking for knitting inspiration, and came across this skein of handspun yarn from last year, it was what I thought of.

Shrubbery yarn

I spun this last year during the MirkwoodArts Thriathlon, the Hobbits stage. It’s a mish-mash of green fibres and a rainbow braid. I loved spinning it and I was also looking forward to knitting with it. But what should I knit? It was almost 400 grams of DK/worsted weight yarn, 858 metres to be precise. Enough for a small cardigan, I guess. But I wanted something generous and rustic.

I spent an evening on Ravelry, looking for a pattern that spoke to me, but I did not find it. So, naturally I decided to come up with something myself. A shawl it would become, hopefully one that would use the entire skein. To achieve this, I took the asymmetrical triangular shawl that has been popular in the past few years as a starting point. First, you increase until you have used 33% of your yarn. Then, you increase on one side and decrease on the other until the decreasing side reaches the former middle. Then you either knit a border or decrease on both sides.

Starting with this formula, I decided to spice things up and add some lacework to the shawl as well. I decided on lilies-of-the-valley in the centre, surrounded by a leafy border. Enough theory, on with the knitting!

Leafy start

I started increasing and found out that it matters where you increase… Well, I did know that, but I didn’t think about it at first. That’s why the initial increases create a flowing shape. But I actually kind of liked it, it reminded me of an oak leaf, so I kept it. Happy accident!

The colours of green

I love love love how the green contains so many colours and hues. From a distance it’s undeniably green, but close up it contains the entire rainbow.

Garter stitch progress

I also love the cozyness of garter stitch, especially combined with other textures like in this shawl. It’s neat, toasty, and oh so satisfying to look at.

Texture combination

When I reached the point where I had to knit on the border, I kept on knitting in pattern, just like in some of Martina Behm’s designs. I did decrease somewhat and made sure that I ended in pattern by decreasing the number of leaves.

The leaf borders converge

Then I suddenly reached the end, binding off the single stitch that I had left. It was already evening, but I decided to go ahead and soak the shawl to put it on the blocking mats. I worked hard and finished it. The shawl was huge!

Blocking and the cat press

The next day I looked at the shawl and I noticed that I was blocking it wrong side up… oops! Freya also agreed that that was a bit stupid, but she decided to help me anyway. She moved around the shawl, sitting down in every available spot to properly press it.

Nupps up close

It took a while to dry, and yesterday I took it off the mats. Well, I tried, but Freya was sitting next to me, and as I started pulling out the T pins, she got all territorial and she clawed at my hand to make me stop. Ouch! Later that night, she was sitting a bit further away, so I started pulling out the pins with one hand, and I pulled out one of the blocking wires and played with her with the other hand. This time it worked, and the shawl was free!

Lilies-of-the-valley

Today it was a chilly, rainy day. Perfect to wear the shawl! I wrapped myself in its green goodness and enjoyed. I decided to take some glamour shots on the balcony.

It’s huge!
Now it’s just cozy
Plenty of length to keep your back warm
Long enough to wrap around yourself and tie a knot
And, of course, cat-approved

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