I’ve always been curious about how designers actualize their designs. It’s one thing to come up with great idea, but translating that idea into a set of charts and written instructions is easier said than done. I’ve been lurking on the testing pool forum of Ravelry for a while, curious to see the variety of patterns that are being developed out there. But when I saw the opportunity to test knit for Tincan Knits, one of my favorite design duos, I jumped at the chance. They are partly based out of Vancouver, BC, and many of their designs draw inspiration from the Pacific Northwest.
I like to think that the stars were aligned for this test knitting to happen. The timing was right, and I knew that I had a stash of this lovely Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in “Bloomsbury” that would be perfect for the project. Also, sleeves are optional, which is another plus! But what’s more important is that Little A loves this sweater, and I really enjoyed knitting it.
This pattern is tentatively called “Prairie Fire,” and it was a really quick knit. The lace pattern was simple yet varied enough to be interesting but easy to memorize. I love how the lace pattern starts at the top front and wraps around in the back. I can see myself doing more test knitting. It was fun to knit with other knitters and to try to decipher certain sections or offer suggestions on clarity. It totally appeals to the nerdy editor in me.
As for this pattern, I’m not sure when it will be released, but I’m guessing it will be soon. And what’s more, it will be available in sizes from infant to adult extra-large! That’s the part that blows my mind–calculating the stitch counts for the various sizes. This sweater, which is sized 6-8 year old, is a little big on Little A at the moment, but there is a lot of room to grow. And since it is already getting too hot to wear it in San Antonio, it might fit just right when we return to the Pacific Northwest!
Out there in internet land. If only you could feel how soft this is.
You, too, would wear it in 80 degrees weather,
Rub it against your husband’s face, gushing, “Isn’t it sooooo soft???”
And when he shrinks away from the shawl in his face,
You know he secretly wishes he had one of his own.
Pattern: Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West
Handspun yarn: Pigeonroof Studio’s “Tangerine Dream” in 85 polworth/15 silk blend. The braid was split length-wise down the middle into two, and then spun across the top of each section. This is a 2-ply yarn in fingering weight.
I am so in love with this stitch pattern, and my mind is abuzz dreaming about the different variations and permutations possible. The pattern looks a bit like a cable but it’s not, and the fact that it’s reversible and incredibly adaptable makes me eager to experiment.
Here’s Lynne Barr’s Reversible Knitting book. She calls this stitch pattern “folded fabric” and I’ve heard it called a “scrunch stitch pattern.” Either way, it’s essentially a knitted rib (width of your choice) in which you bring up the stitches that are a few rows down and on the wrong side to knit together with current stitches.
Here’s a good photo demonstration of this stitch, and you can see that the purl stitches on the back end are folded up and knitted together with the live stitches.
Eunny Jung, former editor of Interweave Knits Magazine has a wonderful video in which she explains this stitch:
Whereas Jung describes a particular formula for the scrunch stitch, Barr demonstrates the variety possible when you play with the width of the ribbed columns as well as where in the previously knitted rows you choose to join your current live stitches.
This scarf is inspired by Cheryl Beckerich’s waved wrap. For my version, I knitted 5 repeats of a 6 by 6 rib, meaning that I [knitted 6, purled 6] five times, and I had a 4-stitch border on either side. I also brought up the purl stitches from 6 rows down. And as you can see in the photo from Barr’s book, this is a very textured pattern. I was tempted to leave mine unblocked because of the amazing undulating ridges, but I decided to block it in the end to highlight the delicate halo of the BFL/silk blend from Wooly Wonka. As you can see, the unblocked and blocked scarf are like two totally different scarves.
I’ve got another project that I’m currently trying to finish, but after that, I’m going to be happily swatching.
There is folly in loving your creations just a bit too much.
As this scarf was being blocked, I found myself checking in on it every five minutes just so that I could run my hands on the damp silky knit and admire its waves of delicate stitches. I tried lying down on it to feel it against my cheek, but I poked myself with a blocking pin. Later, I tripped and bent the blocking wire. Eventually, I had to remove myself from the apartment just so that I could be a normal productive human being and concentrate on the grading and writing I needed to do.
I love this scarf in all its various metamorphoses–when it was still a beautifully dyed silky braid from Wooly Wonka and then as it transformed into a glimmering skein of gold and pinks. And as it knitted up into warm puffy ripples, I was almost tempted to leave it unblocked. Now that it has been blocked, I love how airy and light it is. This was also the first time I tried this scrunch stitch, which is the same on both sides and perfect for scarves. Though this pattern is based on the waved shawl pattern by Carol Beckerich, it was only after having read Lynne Barr’s Reversible Knitting, a creative collection of stitch patterns and funky unexpected patterns, that I got the confidence to play and make some modifications.
I’m definitely a hot-weather girl, but this scarf made me long for the grey windy days of the Pacific Northwest.