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Archive for June, 2013

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Qinnitan is a pretty, pretty design from Melanie Berg. In the photo above you can see how lovely the drape is, due in part to its circular shape and in part to Finch, the light weight, springy yarn it’s worked in (colors Petal and Twig).

The shawl is knitted from the back of the neck to the outer edge and forms a half-circle. The garter stitch rows form graceful lines that, like the markings on a sea shell, swirl gently toward and away from each other. The shaping between stripes is made with short rows, and increases in the garter stitch stripes create the expanding, rounded shape.

A strong, garter stitch border in the contrasting color finishes things off beautifully.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pieces in this year’s Shawl Week. Let us know!

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Fulmar names a kind of sea bird, and our fourth shawl for Shawl Week. So appropriate, the name, because this lovely looks, indeed, very wing-like. Fulmar is a Veera Valimaki design and worked in sea bird colors, Egret and Iceland. I love anything in garter stitch. Add stripes and I’m home. But note that the stripe pattern in this piece isn’t quite predictable; it takes off like wings as it moves to the front. Nor is the shawl shaped in a standard triangle. Instead, it has three axis points, not just one.

It’s wool, yes, but  buoyant and light in little Finch. Wear it around your shoulders, above.

Or cozily around your neck, below.

It’s muted in pale neutrals, but I can imagine it, too, in a soft palette with color added, in Twig, say, with Bird’s Egg.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Mindy Wilkes’ Everly begins with Vine Lace, one of my all time favorite lace patterns. It’s a simple 4-row repeat that’s easy to keep track of. A single row of reverse stockinette delineates the border from the body of the shawl. The shawl’s crescent shape is achieved, as most are, through short rows. BUT. The joins in the short rows are neatly made with decreases in lieu of wraps and turns. The gauge is relaxed for better drape. And the bind-off edge works in an i-cord finish, smooth and refined. You can just make out the i-cord edge in the photo above.

I can’t say much more about the structure of this piece, a few short sentences tells you the back story. It looks great wrapped around the neck (below), even when it’s mostly the wrong side showing.

Or just hanging loose in the breeze.

I love it in the color Petal (Finch), the softest of peaches. But given my penchant for anything moody and gray, I’d love to see it in Iceland, too.

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Kristen TenDyke’s lovely Leaves ( in Sparrow, color Little Fern) is Tuesday’s piece for Shawl Week.

How to convey its light hand? Note in the photo above how the tip of triangle lifts in the breeze. Does that help? Leaves probably won’t fit through a wedding ring, but it’s light and airy as a feather. This is best explained by the fineness of the yarn (sweet linen) and by the relaxed gauge that Kristen used for her design. In garter stitch, after blocking, the gauge is 17 stitches to the inch on a size 4 needle.

Like many things in knitting, Leaves‘  deep lace border looks intricate, but it’s no more (and no less) than three repeats of a straightfoward leaf motif separated by a faggot pattern. For a smaller shawl, you could work two repeats of the leaf pattern instead of three. The picot edging is worked as you go by casting on 3 sts at the end of a picot row and binding off on the return.

The pattern is given in chart form and it begins at the bottom point. Not sure what your chart method is, but my favorite way to keep track of my knitting when working from a chart is to stick a long post-its above the row I’m working on. That way I can see how the current row relates to the one below it, the one on my needle.


Some shawls are for warmth and coziness. Some are simply for the pleasure of working beautiful stitches and draping them over your shoulders. Am I right?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Paula Emons-Fuessle’s pretty shawl, Lullabye Rain, is a stitch sampler shaped like a pie with a wedge cut out, a graceful piece that naturally hugs the shoulders on its own–no hands needed to keep it in place.P

Begin the shawl at the center back neck on a few stitches and increase on a single row to double the number. After a few more increase rows that double the number of stitches from the  previous row, it’s time to start the first stitch pattern, a simple knit/purl moss stitch. This part is child’s play, no shaping at all.

At the end of the first pattern section, work another increase row, pretty yarn overs from beginning to end, to double the number of stitches again. Then launch the next stitch pattern,  another knit/purl pattern in a larger scale, and work without shaping until it’s time for the next set of increases. And so on.

Finish off with a picot bind off.

Below, spread out, you can see the circular shape of Paula’s shawl, and the increase rows that so nicely delineate her stitch patterns. It’s knitted in Chickadee, color Glacier, marvelously soft and drapey in this particular piece.

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Qinnitan. A shawl design by Melanie Berg. You can’t see the back of this piece in the photo, but suffice it to say that, like the periwinkles and whelks that scatter the shore here, the stripes in this shawl spiral softly, almost, but not quite, following the shawl’s graceful curve. Knitted in Finch, 2 skeins Petal (such a shell pink) and 2 skeins Chanterelle, if you want to get ready. Pattern available next week. Be sure you’re signed up for our e-letter so you’ll get the announcement.


Thursday, June 20th, 2013

We briefly interrupt our shawl previews to announce that in conjunction with Creative Knitting Magazine, we’re sponsoring an early summer giveaway! We have three prizes: The first is a bar of Quince Lanolin Soap and two skeins of Tern in one of the four new colors we’re about to release, and second and third prizes are a bar of our sweet soap in your choice of fragrance. Quince Lanolin Soap is made from a blend of coconut, olive, jojoba, avocado, and hemp oils; it’s gentle on your knits, and comes in three fragrances: lavender, lemongrass (love), or plain and simple and unscented.

To enter, comment below on your favorite Quince soap scent . We’ll take comments until noon next Thursday, June 27. Then we’ll pick the winners from our commenters and announce them that afternoon.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Loving garter stitch stripes. Especially in a misty palette, soft and pretty as a gull’s feather.

Designed by Veera Välimäki who lives and knits in Finland and understands a lot about rainy day colors.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Last Tuesday we offered a batch of not-quite-Osprey. Same soft fiber, same relaxed twist, same quality spinning. The only difference between our special offer yarn and our usual Osprey is that it knitted up a little differently. It’s a little heavier than our standard, either the plies were off a teeny bit or the amount of twist. So many things go into making a specific yarn that it’s hard to say.

When we discovered that the yarn in question wasn’t quite the same as our standard, we decided not to follow usual procedure and wash and dye it. But it’s in the washing/dyeing process that our yarns blossom and evens out. So if you’ve ordered some of our not-quite Osprey, when you receive it, best to swish it in a little gentle soap and tepid water. (Quince Lanolin Soap is great for this, but dish soap will do.) Then rinse, blot in a big towel, and hang the skeins over your shower rod or spread out on your dining table until dry. If you have a fan, create a gentle breeze over your damp skeins and they’ll be dry in no time.

If you skip the washing step, no problem. The yarn will knit up fine and blossom when you wet block your final project. But you’ll enjoy your yarn more and appreciate the look and feel (and gauge!) of your final piece, if you wash ahead of time.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

It doesn’t take much to make something pretty: A simple shape, a simple stitch, a soft and gentle color. Everly, by Mindy Wilkes.