Monday, August 26, 2013

Bliss

Bliss by Amanda Lilley
I have been out of my blogging routine this summer. You see I worked summer school, commuted via the T for more than an hour each way, and the extended periods of heat and humidity were not  welcomed elements. I did get plenty of commuter knitting done, but I have not been diligent in sharing my progress here. Sorry. Can I make amends by extolling the virtues of my current WIP?


I found this beauty in my Facebook news feed one Saturday and shared it to one of the Knitting group pages that I read. I thought the lines were stunning and the shawl looked like it would be a versatile piece. Amanda used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport on a size 3 needle. She designs many patterns using the Knit Picks yarns. A little over a year ago, I knit Top Down Baby Bunting, another pattern by Amanda Lilley and I found it was instrumental in teaching me techniques I normally avoid.


Imagine my glee when checking Ravelry and finding the pattern had been gifted to me? It was such a delight, and a bit of a challenge. What better way to show my gratitude than to cast on and make one for myself? I went to my stash page and discovered that I had no sportweight in the amount needed. Imagine? My knitting friends will appreciate this irony, given the recent additions of a multitude of skeins bought in the waning days of our LYS, Windsor Button, but I digress.  I was working near my other LYS, the Stitch House in Dorchester, so I popped in to see what they had for this project.

Bliss in Pewter
I fell in love with a new yarn, at least new to me. I got two skeins of Louet Gems Sportweight in the Pewter colorway. This yarn is a merino wool 5 ply consisting of 225 yards in a 100 gram skein. I liked the tight twist of the yarn, it made me think of Quince and Company Finch, but in sportweight. I bought two skeins and then headed to Mind's Eye to get some Chiagoo circulars. (Mind's Eye is now under new ownership; I promise to give you a post with pictures later, but if you are in the Porter Square area of Cambridge, stop in and check it out. You will like what you find there!)

So, are you wondering what new techniques I have mastered in creating this bottom up shawl? I learned to do a purled cast on, I watched videos on YouTube and with practice, it has become one of my favorite cast-ons. I knew how to do the twisted stitch, but I guess I never realized the impact of the ribs when done in multiples, as Amanda used in her design.


I am now on the body of the shawl and doing short rows. I knew what short rows were and have used them on sleeve caps, but my wraps were not very neat in the past. Craftsy has a free Short Row class, taught by Carol Feller. After watching the four different methods of doing short rows and using the class hand out for my reference, I was making neat wraps in no time.

I recommend you check out the Craftsy website. They have classes in many craft categories, some are free and some you pay for. The benefit of a Craftsy class is that you can pause, rewind, and replay the videos at your leisure. The content will be there for you to refer to in the future. There is a section of the class where others post questions, pictures of their work and in some classes, the instructor joins into the conversation. I really enjoy the Craftsy classes I have taken so far, I highly recommend you go to their catalog to see if there is something that interests you.

One last thing, a tip of sorts. I can be a bit of a space cadet when I get into the knitting; I find I make fewer mistakes if I use markers for each stitch repeat. It is important to share what I learned the hard way, if I placed the stitch marker at the end of each repeat, I needed to move it forward by one stitch on each row. I learned this the "hard way" in that I ripped back more times than I dare to confess. You see, you use the purled cast-on and do 302 stitches. I thought there was an error in the pattern, (so quick to point the blame elsewhere). It took doing a swatch with two repeats to realize that the marker needed to jump forward on each row. After you have a few rows knit, it becomes more intuitive where each repeat begins. (Or maybe I am a dunce relying on the training wheels of stitch markers and now you all know.... don't judge me harshly)

I would highly recommend this pattern if you like shawls and want to step it up a bit. I do love garter stitch, but I also love patterns that push my knitting skills to the next level. Tell me if the pattern appeals to you, and what yarn might you choose to make it in? Better yet, venture over to Amanda's Ravelry page and leave her a comment and buy a pattern!

(All pictures were used with Amanda's permission).


7 comments:

Stitched Together said...

That is a very pretty shawl, I can see why you raved about it. Well done for working through the scary techniques.

Erin Mcdonald said...

Chrissy, I hope my write up will not scare knitters off of this pattern!!!! It is well written, the techniques are not hard to do, and the shawl was trance inducing and once I had my set up row of pattern repeats established, it was steady going. In my defense, I am often occupied with more mindless knitting, garter stitch or an easy to memorize (for me) pattern and so making Bliss was a more mindful, "connected to the progression of rows" kind of a knit.

Amanda said...

I love the natural color, I can hardly wait to see your blocked shawl! Thank you for sharing your progress. What a great post to wake up to.

Renee Anne said...

I may have to add that to my queue......

Alicia said...

I love the way the twisted stitch fans look! And I agree, Craftsy is wonderful.

Cleo said...

Beautiful already! I have watched that class of craftsy and it helped me design a heel for a pair of socks.

Kris said...

That pattern is STUNNING. Going into my queue. And I already have the Carol Feller class in my Craftsy queue, just need to find time to watch it!