Tag Archives: wool

Making: Simple, Lovely Shawls

Making; Easy, quick knitting project for hand-spun wool

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I’m very, very lucky to be friends with a super talented hand-spinner and I’m very lucky she likes me enough to give me some of her wool. My immediate reaction (and I’m sure most knitters would agree) is that I want to make something akin to a bean-bag chair of all the skeins and just collapse into its softness. I want to make some kind of shrine to admire (and squeeze) the skeins forever. Unfortunately, this isn’t practical. The other option is being too afraid to do anything with the wool and this seems like a massive shame to the beautiful yarn and hard work that was put into making it.

With the first skein she gave me, I agonised (agonised!) over what to do with it. Until the day I came across a simple pattern for a triangular shawl to show off the texture of wool rather than to show off the knitted pattern. I think I originally saw this on Brooklyn Tweed (who is probably one of the most talented knitters and designers out there.)

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The first shawl turned out more of a neckerchief than a shawl, but is so soft and so warm. I think it’s camel wool and seriously, it’s incredibly soft

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The second shawl is almost shawl-size and is also super cozy and warm. I used two colours of hand-spun wool (not sure what kind) and since the wool was two different thicknesses it made the stripes into two slightly different textures, which I quite like the imperfection of.

The whole idea behind using this simple pattern is to let the natural shape and size of the wool shine through so it can be used for lengths that are of varying widths or of variegated colours.

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In case you’re curious, the pattern is very simple. Cast on 5 or 7 stitches in any way you like, marking the middle stitch with stitch markers. So cast on 2 (or 3) stitches, put a marker, cast on a stitch, and put a marker then cast on 2 (or 3) more stitches. For every row, knit up to the marker, yarn over, slip marker, knit the middle stitch, slip marker, yarn over and knit to end. Continue this pattern until you either run out of wool or reach your desired length.

You can play around with the garter stich pattern by knitting one row and then purling a row then knitting a bunch of rows. You could also knit a row, purl a row, then knit 4 rows and repeat to make another pattern. This will had some more texture. Or instead of having the yarn overs in the middle, you can also put them at the sides of the shawl. Although, I really like how they’re in the middle in my shawls. It looks a bit like a back bone.

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Emily’s Knitting Hall of Fame

Debbie New knits in the legacy of Meret Oppenheim and modernizes knitting in a multitude of ways.

She knitted a wool teacup that reminds me of Oppenheim’s Fur one from 1936. They both defeat the functionality of the original object, but while the fur-lined cup induces a shudder, New’s cup creates the same kind of feeling as the knitting process itself– a state of repose. It is a beautiful, delicate work that is a product of the creation process itself. Knitting is modernized like sculpture and painting was 50 years or more ago.

She’s also added to the traditional knitting techniques with Scribble Lace, Cellular Automaton, Sculptural, Virtual and Labyrinth Knitting. It’s chronicled in a book of hers Unexpected Knitting which I unfortunately do not own so I cannot elaborate. I understand that they’re inspired from more high art types of processes and in the case of Cellular Automation, biology.

You can see more pictures here.

She is also speaking at the Iknit weekender which I will be missing. I’m excited to find more fiber-arts related artists. I think the traditional forms of fine art have been explored to the extent that they can be and knitting can, and should be explored.

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