Monday, June 1, 2015

Butterfly Lace Shawl

I promised myself to make some shawls this summer.

I started with an abstract lace design.  After 3 tries, I was very not thrilled.  I didn't like the motif for many reasons, one of which was it felt too familiar as others I'd designed, like I was just rehashing the same thing. The other one, the design was just not good at all.  I sat around and didn't know what to do for coupla days. Then it came to me that I should go with a butterfly motif, something more concrete to start with. When I didn't have any good ideas of motif nor could I just find a flow and be inspired, it helped to have a concrete shape to guide me, even if I'd preferred a more abstract motif.  Well, I'll save that for next time.

the failed designs

yay, butterflies!  
I went with the bottom one for less fillet looking lace.

Here, after 2 tries, I felt a lot happier.
I knew immediately it's gonna be a triangular shawl to both echo the shape of the butterfly, and to keep the elongated shape of the butterflies.  Yes, I finally learned from my experience, crescent shawl does stretch out the motif sideways when blocking.

I kept waffling back and forth about the body whether I should keep it simple in stockinette stitch or find something from stitch dictionary to make it more all over lace.  I decided I'd go for the simple stockinette stitch and started knitting.

As I moved passed half of the shawl, I thought, "why not simple butterfly motif so the transition from plain to border is softer?" I put aside the shawl and spent the day coming up with a motif that would work since I didn't find anything that fits the idea from my collection of knitting dictionaries. (Little confession, I only have 2 knitting stitch dictionary books, I feel like I should get more to be a proper designer, but somehow I always end up spending money on more useless things.)  

I'm pretty thrilled with it the transition lace. In the end, I might be even more thrilled with it than the large lace border.  Somehow, the lace border ended up more abstract than I thought they were in the swatch.  Not that it mattered much in my eyes.

I used Madelinetosh Prairie, a lace weight, single ply yarn from my stash.  The color is called Thunderstorm, a dark subtle variegated black/charcoal. The shawl used about 715 yards. It's a pretty good yarn yarn to work with.  (Another confession, I generally don't care working with lace weight yarn.) I used needle size 6 for an airy fabric. Couldn't help it, I added some beads to the last 3 RS rows that matches the color of the shawl. I wanted the beads to add just a little weight to the otherwise very light shawl.

All in all, it's personally a great exercise, some problem solving and learning how not to get so hung up a direction. I'm happy.