It is no secret that I love yarn; 4ply, laceweight, double knitting, aran – you name it I have it in my stash in large amounts. I am especially drawn to hand-dyed sock yarn, and can never resist buying it. One of my favourite dyers is Kirsty at Wharfedale Woolworks, who seems to like the same palette as I do – misty purples and greens, kingfisher blues, rich reds. Last year I joined the Wharfedale Woolworks Flora Sock Yarn Club and acquired some beautiful yarn, each skein enough to knit a small shawl or scarf. I knitted two, and then household duties stopped me from knitting anymore, although the beautiful hand-dyed yarn continued to arrive and fill my stash. This year, I have joined the Wharfedale Woolworks Colour Therapy Sock Yarn Club, and more beautiful yarn has been arriving each month, so I need to do something to keep up with the flow. I needed a challenge to get things moving, and so I came up with The Year of Knitting Lacily, a challenge to myself to use this beautiful yarn in a constructive way.
You may think that this is not much of a challenge, 30 days in which to knit a fairly small shawl or scarf, but when you factor in my City and Guilds coursework, keeping up with fairisle projects, and knitting baby blankets in our knitting group, it is a wonder I have any time left over for cooking meals and keeping chickens! Plus, each skein is a unique work of art, 110grammes in weight and 385metres is all I have to play with for each item. In order to make the best use of each skein, I need to choose patterns for small shawls (sometimes known as shawlettes) or scarves where I can just knit until the yarn is used up. Most sock yarn shawls seem to require 400m or more, but I have to be conservative in my choice otherwise I risk running out part way through the pattern, and I shaln’t be able to go out and buy another skein. With these caveats in mind, I have selected my first two pattern/yarn combinations.
I should have started the challenge in January this year, but I was too busy trying to keep warm and dry to be thinking about lacy knits, so I am starting now, March 2015, and I shall knit one shawl or scarf a month for the next 12 months. I shall be blogging about the challenge and posting each of the shawls on Ravelry.
The first shawl: Winter is Coming
I’m one of those knitters who, when presented with a beautiful skein of yarn, has to wait until the right pattern comes along; the yarn has to tell me what it wants to become. When Zen Garden dropped through my letter box in February, it immediately whispered “Winter is Coming” and I knew that I had found my first shawl project. I like the simplicity of this pattern, which I bought on Ravelry from the designer Pink Haired Girl, as well as its inspiration, The Game of Thrones (we have just finished watching series 4 on blu-ray and it just gets better and better). Last year I knitted a shawl designed by Lara Smoot called Mother of Dragons, which was a lovely quick project and a smashing shawlette, so Winter is Coming seems like a good fit. It is also a good fit with the skein of Zen Garden, a semi-solid silvery grey bluefaced Leicester 4ply yarn. It speaks of winter skies, white walkers, icicles, The Wall. I am going to enjoy this!