When last we spoke, I was playing catch-up with the blog, finally photographing and writing about recent completed projects. I am not sure where the time went since then; I started a couple of posts but got interrupted each time. I do have a little bit of knitting to show here although I have posted photos on Ravelry already. And yet, I am not one of those who feel like Ravelry takes the place of blogging. Thinking aloud about dream-projects or figuring out what goes on in those mind-games that every knitter experiences, from row to row, one knitting-day at a time, is a process so tied to the knitting itself that I couldn't just leave it at one paragraph of project notes on my Ravelry page. I need this much space to figure things out aloud. Blogging is all at once a task, a challenge and a reward to me, and I intend to keep at it. Besides, as I just mentioned, I have some finished knitwear to show you. And some new knitting plans to firm up as the summer finally kicks in in earnest.
Remember the Tulip and Pewter shawl? Somehow, I finished another shawl soon after.
Meet Dawn, designed by Grace Anna Farrow. Yes, another purple and grey shawl. Those were the colors I picked at the Isager Yarns booth at Stitches West, the instant I discovered Dawn and other gorgeous wraps designed by this most talented designer and published in her booklet The Fine Line. The Isager sales-team was terrific at guiding customers through color choices and another knitter who was there at the same time was picking an appealing selection of blues and greys for her own Dawn. It took me a while to select this one and I never regretted it. Each grey on its own was lovely, and I find this almost earthy shade of purple very pretty and easy to wear.
In fact I was so taken with this color combo that it didn't occur to me until I returned home from Stitches that I had bought enough yarn for two different shawls in two ever-so-slightly different combinations of purples and greys. All in the course of a weekend. Not that the coincidence was enough to make me revise my plans. The shawls couldn't be more different.
Dawn is a wrap, resolutely modern, almost edgy. In fact all the wraps in the booklet share this quality: a combination of elegance and modernity. They are shawls for knitters who wouldn't otherwise wear shawls.
The knitting itself was very straightforward. The wrap starts at one corner and grows diagonally from there, then one reverses the pattern with progressive decreases. It is all stockinette and requires little focus. I'll admit some of the knitting was plain monotonous, although that didn't stop me from dropping the odd stitch now and then.
As I was knitting, my mind was free to wander and to notice the cleverness of this very simple design. Notice, for example, the four-row stripes in off-white that stress the geometry of the wrap and show off its diagonal construction. How brilliant to have placed them in the center of wide color sections instead of right at the color changes. This way the colors blend more subtly into each other. The fine line in Dawn is bold and soft at the same time. I can tell that this booklet has a lot more to teach me and I hope I can apply some of its lessons to future stash-busting adventures.
As wraps go, this one is a tad short for my taste. Then again I always knit my wraps way too long, so I wouldn't be surprised if Dawn proves much easier to wear than the miles of knitted kid mohair that have piled up on my shelves. Still, if I knit this pattern again, I will experiment by adding at least 4 rows to each wide color section, which should add a few inches and make this just perfect.
I was also happy with the needle size at the time (I used a #6 circular, not that circulars are needed but they are the only type of needle I own), but all things considered, I would go up to a #7 for a more sheer look and texture next time.
Other technical notes: the applied i-cord didn't take nearly as long as I had feared, but I found that because the rectangle had been knitted on the bias, it required me to pick up more stitches as I went than if I had just picked up along a plain rectangle of stitches and rows. Think of it as picking up stitches on the diagonal part of a v-neck. If you want the result to lie flat, it is going to take a few more stitches. Once I figured this out (and disregarded the designer's instructions on this particular point) I was fine.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will add that if softness matters a lot to you, you may consider substituing another light-fingering weight yarn for the Isager Wool One. I loved knitting with this yarn, but I think I was hoping that it would soften a bit more in the washing and blocking process ... and it didn't, quite. I may try a few drops of hair-conditioner if the spirit moves me to block it a second time. Or I will just get used to it. The crispness of the yarn has its own appeal, too.