Category Archives: knitting

The Year of Knitting Lacily: March Update

The last shawl of the challenge! I can hardly believe it! The challenge has been pretty fraught at times, with too little yarn or too few beads, but this was not one of those times. For my twelfth and final shawl, I have been knitting Lady of the Blue Forest by Ashley Knowlton. There are two versions of this shawl; one is almost square and takes nearly 500m, the second is triangular and takes half that. I have been knitting the smaller of the two, but would really like to knit the larger one at some point in the future. The yarn I used is Amana, which was November’s colour in the Wharfedale Woolworks Colour Therapy Sock Club of 2015. I have failed to find the meaning of Amana and it’s relevance to the colour blue, but there is no denying it is a very pretty semi-solid. I did not use beads this time, although the shawl would look lovely with some blue beads worked into the flower-like edging.

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As you can see from the amount of yarn left, I could probably have managed a third section of the pattern, giving a three-sides-of-the-square shawl, and it would have been helpful if the pattern had offered this option. As it was, I had 44% of the yarn left over, plenty for a larger shawl. Another helpful feature would have been a blocking diagram or advice on blocking. The edge has lots of points, but because the pattern has a number of elements along the edge it is not always obvious what should be a point and what should not. All in all, a very pretty shawl, I just wish it were larger!

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Technical Notes:
Pattern: Lady of the Blue Forest by Ashley Knowlton
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Amana
Needles: Addi 4mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: 48g (approximately 170m)
Finished dimensions: top edge 102cm , widest point 57cm

What Next?
I have been cooking up another idea for a challenge, but it needs further development, and so I am holding off starting it for the moment. Meanwhile I have lots of work to do for my City and Guilds course, and lots of fairisle I want to knit before next winter. I have also opened an Etsy shop, selling knitting and crochet stitch markers, called GranaryKnits, and I am blogging about that enterprise on the GranaryKnits WordPress blog. Never a dull moment!

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: February Update

For once, it was not the yarn or the pattern that was the challenge, it was the beads with this month’s shawl! I have been knitting Fine Vine by Marisa Hernandez, a nice shallow crescent shawl with a pretty border. I had some lovely pearlescent size 6 beads that looked ideal to match the Wharfedale Woolworks yarn in Demeter, a splendid earthy semisolid. I planned the layout of the beads, but didn’t count the total required – 650ish would be enough wouldn’t it?! The problem was compounded because the beads were variable in overall size and very variable in hole size. I ended up having to abandon the fine crochet hook and thread some of them onto the stitches using cotton. When it became obvious that I was going to run out of even the smaller beads, I tried to buy some more, but the shop was closed over Christmas and New Year, so I bought some Miyaki size 6 white perlescent beads instead. They turned out a little whiter than the original beads and so I planned their inclusion gradually so that it looked deliberate instead of desperate! I used all of the second set of beads and needed just one more bead to complete!

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The border and body of this shawl are pretty, but I did have trouble with the top edge. The shawl is knitted outwards from the centre top, and the increases at the edge are achieved by knitting front and back into the first three stitches at the beginning and end of each right-side row. This construction results in a very tight edge, despite trying very hard to keep the increases loose. The blocking was therefore rather a trial!

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On the whole, I am very pleased with the shawl;  the colour is beautiful, and unusual for me as I normally avoid browns. I like the border as well, especially the heaviness of the beading. I’m looking forward to wearing this!

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Technical notes
Pattern: Fine Vine by Marisa Hernandez
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Demeter
Needles: Hiya Hiya steel 3.5mm circular 100cm, casting off with a 5mm needle to ensure a loose cast-off
Yarn remaining: 14g (approximately 49m)
Finished dimensions: top edge 150cm , widest point 46cm

February’s challenge
The last shawl of the challenge! I can hardly believe it! I have two really pretty blue skeins to choose from for this one and a fabulous pattern, Lady of the Blue Forest by Ashley Knowlton.
There are two versions of this shawl; one is almost square and takes nearly 500m, the second is triangular and takes half that. I shall be knitting the smaller of the two, but would really like to knit the larger one at some point in the future. The yarn I have selected is Amana, which was November’s colour in the Wharfedale Woolworks Colour Therapy Sock Club of 2015. I have failed to find the meaning of Amana and it’s relevance to the colour blue, but there is no denying it is a very pretty semi-solid. I shall not be using beads this time!

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: January Update

What a lovely shawl! Slow Dance by Nim Teasdale is a beautiful all-over lace design that you can grow as much or as little as you like. The lozenge shapes fit together neatly, and are flexible enough for you to be able to use up every scrap of your skein of yarn. With this in mind, I started to weigh my remaining yarn during the last two pattern repeats, and determined that each row was using 2g of yarn. This enabled me to knit almost to the end of the ball; I wasn’t sure how much yarn the stretchy cast off would take so I erred on the side of caution and was left with 9 grams.

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This is another shawl from Nim’s Love is Friendship Caught on Fire collection, and features two charts which can be used singly or in combination. The overall effect is more geometric and less flowery (or leafy) than other designs I have completed in this challenge. The yarn is a lovely semi-solid turquoise from Wharfedale Woolworks. It is called Laguna, and is a one-off hand dyed yarn in Kirsty’s beautiful Yorkshire Rose BFL sock range, so I was still restricted to 385m and 110g. I also used approximately 920 Debbie Abrahams silver-lined clear number 6 beads and a 1mm steel crochet hook.

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The cast off I used was the straightforward Russian cast off, as I thought Jeny’s extremely stretchy cast off would be too bulky on the delicate edge.
For the record, I knitted the setup chart, followed by chart 1, chart 3, chart 2 twice, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3 extended, and row 1 of chart 2 before casting off on the wrong side.

This shawl is lovely to wear, sitting easily on the shoulders and rippling down the back in a cascade of silver!

Technical notes
Pattern: Slow Dance by Nim Teasdale
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Laguna
Needles: Addi steel 4mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: 9g (approximately 31m)
Finished dimensions: top edge 135cm , widest point 85cm

January’s challenge
Just two more shawls to go and I shall have completed my personal challenge to knit a lacy shawl a month for 12 months! January here in Yorkshire is usually cold but with lovely bright days even if they are short! I’m thinking of another beaded shawl, this time using some lovely pearl beads I bought from Justadaydream’s Etsy store. These beads have already determined which yarn I use! Wharfedale Woolworks penultimate yarn of this year’s sock yarn club is Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest. Wikipedia says “Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death”, and also suggests that, etymologically speaking, her name could be translated as Mother Earth. With this in mind, no doubt, Kirsty has produced an interesting semi-solid yarn in shades of brown ranging from light stone to an earthy rich humus; pearl beads will enhance this, representing small pebbles in the soil.

The pattern I shall be knitting is Fine Vine by Marisa Hernandez, an all over vine motif with a lacy leafy border. No beads are specified, so I shall be placing them myself, in the border to enhance the leaves.

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: November Update Update

Well, Lila is finally finished! Kirsty at Wharfedale Woolworks came through with a matching skein of hand dyed Eirene, a little paler than the original skein but giving a nice contrast for the body. The body is straightforward short-row stocking stitch. The pattern says to use a firm cast off to help maintain the crescent shape of the shawl, but did not advise on which cast off to use. I opted for Slip Stitch Crochet Cast Off, which is quick and simple and very firm.

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Technical notes
Pattern: Lila, by Gillie Parsons
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Eirene
Needles: Pony bamboo 4.5mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: 83g (out of 220g), approximately 290m left
Finished dimensions: 115cm at neck edge,  275cm at hem edge, 51cm maximum depth

Additions: size 8 silver-lined clear beads, approximately 375 used

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: December Update

After last month’s failure to complete, I have been extra cautious about this month’s shawl. Even though I could have included an extra pattern repeat or even two, I have not done so. As a result I have a fair bit of yarn left over! This month’s shawl is the first to be taken from a published book instead of from individual designers on Ravelry. Sock Yarn Shawls 2 by Jen Lucas contains lots of nice patterns, ranging from simple to complex, and it was difficult choosing just one to start with. In the end I chose Monarda, using Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL sock yarn in Mahuika, a semi-solid in rich fiery tones, issued as part of the 2015 Colour Therapy Sock Yarn Club. It is well named after the Maori fire deity.20151127_122513.jpg

Monarda is an attractive all over lace shawl, well written and with easy to follow charts. The result is a beautiful mix of stocking stitch and garter, with lacy leaves and nice points.

 

The pattern says to cast off very loosely, and I thought I had done so, but when I came to try to block it to the nice curved shape required, I could not do so and maintain the pretty edging points. In the end, I blocked it to a straight top edge so that the points would show somewhat.

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Technical notes
Pattern: Monarda, by Jen Lucas
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Mahuika
Needles: Pony bamboo 3.5mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: 27g (approximately 94m)
Finished dimensions: top edge 144cm , widest point 38cm

December’s challenge
After my delight at the beading on October’s shawl, I really wanted to try adding beads again, and December seems like a good month to be giving my knitting a bit of bling! I also want to try another of Nim Teasdale’s designs, as I like her ethos of mix-and-match charts and knit-till-you-are-finished patterns. Slow Dance is another shawl from her Love is Friendship Caught on Fire collection, and features two charts which can be used singly or in combination. The overall effect is more geometric and less flowery (or leafy) than other designs I have completed in this challenge. Whilst the name of the shawl implies something potentially fiery, I wanted to keep the colour relatively low key and let the beads speak for themselves, and so I have chosen a lovely semi-solid turquoise yarn from Wharfedale Woolworks. It is called Laguna, and is a one-off hand dyed yarn in Kirsty’s beautiful Yorkshire Rose BFL sock range, so I am still restricted to 385m and 110g. I shall be using Debbie Abrahams silver-lined clear number 6 beads and a 1mm steel crochet hook.

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: November Update

My first failure!! I am so disappointed, but I knew as I approached the end of the charts for Lila that I would not be able to complete this month’s shawl within the month and within the skein of yarn I had chosen. To the end of the charts, and before the short row shaping to create the crescent, I had used 87% of the 110g/385m in the skein (approximately 335m). I could not see that I would be able to get much further with the remaining 14g/50m (approximately ). The colourway Eirene, a lovely rich semi-solid purple plum, was especially hand-dyed for the Wharfedale Woolworks Colour Therapy Sock Yarn Club, issued in September. I doubt that Kirsty has any left over but she has agreed to dye some more for me, so I shall be able to complete the shawl before Christmas.
This picture shows the lovely lace of the edging with my addition of silver beads forming simple V shapes.

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I shall definitely be using beads again as I really like the effect, but I shall use size 6 beads next time, as the size 8 beads have a very small hole and necessitated threading on cotton before pulling onto the stitch just worked. I have checked, and the size 6s can take a 1mm crochet hook!

Although disappointing, this shawl is not going to sit in my WIP pile for ever. I shall finish it as soon as possible. Completion is merely postponed.

Technical notes
Pattern: Lila, by Gillie Parsons
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Eirene
Needles: Pony bamboo 4.5mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: to be determined
Finished dimensions: to be determined

November’s challenge
This month’s shawl is the first to be taken from a published book instead of from individual designers on Ravelry. Sock Yarn Shawls 2 by Jen Lucas contains lots of nice patterns, ranging from simple to complex, and it is difficult choosing just one to start with. I am looking forward to casting on Monarda, an overall lacy shawl with an effective leaf-like pattern. I shall be using Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL sock yarn in Mahuika, a semi-solid in rich fiery tones, issued as part of the 2015 Colour Therapy Sock Yarn Club. It is well named after the Maori fire deity.

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: October Update

Well, September’s challenge shawl turned into a real challenge after all! I have been knitting Mrs Tumnus by Eskimimi, and I have to say that the pattern was a joy to work, the chart and instructions clear and precise, and the finished effect of the shawl is lovely.

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The first thing I found challenging was the cast on; when I read “cast on 417 sts” my heart sank a little! I have failed times without number to count and recount lengthy cast-ons accurately, so this time I placed a marker after every 50 stitches and just rechecked each section as I completed it. It took me two evenings to cast on! The pattern does not advise which cast on method to use, although Eskimimi’s web notes recommends long tail cast on. I didn’t think I had enough yarn to risk wasting it overestimating the tail so I went instead for a reasonably loose cable cast on.

The chart covers the border only, and consists of 32 rows, with some pattern stitches on alternate rows; so basically there are no real “rest” rows in between the pattern rows, at least for the first 25 or so rows. I managed to knit just over one row per evening!

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The final challenge was whether the yarn would be enough. The pattern example used 370m of 4ply; my skein of Yorkshire Rose BFL has 385m. It would be tight, but possible. The pattern says to use 4.5 -5mm needles. I chose to use 4.5mm to ensure that the yarn would not run out. I failed. I could have perhaps taken steps towards the end to conserve the yarn, but I wanted to see exactly how far it would reach; I found out it reached to two-thirds of the way along the cast off edge! Luckily, I have another skein of the same yarn hand dyed in a slightly paler yellow, called Sunflowers, and so I used that to complete the cast off. I needed just 3g of Sunflowers!

This is a truely lovely shawl and an interesting pattern, with an unusual construction. Next time I make it – and I feel sure there will be a next time – I will ensure I have enough yarn.

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Technical notes
Pattern: Mrs Tumnus, by Eskimimi
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Cinteotl; small amount of colour Sunflowers to complete
Needles: Addi metal 4.5mm circular 100cm
Yarn remaining: minus 3g!
Finished dimensions: neck edge 115cm, neck to edge (widest) 42cm

October’s challenge
This month’s shawl is Lila by Gillie Parsons. Another crescent shawl, with a lovely lace edge and a stocking stitch body. It is another shawl knitted from the edge up to the neck, so involves a lengthy cast on. Oh, goody! I still have a sizeable stash of Wharfedale Woolworks sock yarn to choose from, and the colours I have are lovely – the dark steely blue of Panacea, the lush green of Gaia, the rich blue of Galene, or the variegated autumnal Crab Apples. I think I am going to go with the plummy purple Eirene. I like the fruitfulness of this semi-solid yarn, and it will be just right for wearing in November and December, reminding me of the deep velvet of a winter’s night. It would look lovely with some strategically placed silver beads perhaps.

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: September Update

We have reached the halfway point in my challenge, and I now have six lovely sock yarn shawls waiting for autumn to arrive so that I can wear them. August’s challenge shawl was Heartsick by Remily Knits (Rachel Henry), and it was challenging because the construction was markedly different from all the other shawls I have knitted recently. For Heartsick, we knit the lovely lace motif edging first, all 21 repeats of the heart shape, then pick up along the straight edge and knit short rows to create a slight curve. I admit that I found it difficult to keep track of counting the short rows and placing the wraps correctly. Actually, I used the knit double stitch / purl double stitch method of wrap and turn described in the Fish Lips Kiss Heel sock pattern, and it is so effective at hiding the wrap that I couldn’t see where the previous wrap had occurred! Nevertheless, I was able to fudge adapt the pattern to suit my erratic counting; if I had been conscientious and had had all the time in the world, I would have ripped it back and knitted the body again!

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I am very pleased with the result. The yarn is a lovely variegation – called Winter Sunset – hand dyed by Kirsty at Wharfedale Woolworks in her Yorkshire Rose BFL sock yarn (one day I may actually knit a pair of socks in this lovely yarn!) and it looks good both on the edge of the shawl and on the body. I imagine that it would be simple to extend the size of the shawl by knitting more edge pattern repeats and recalculating the short rows. It would also look good with a plain yarn for the border and a variegated one for the body, or vice versa. I nice adaptable pattern!

imageTechnical notes
Pattern: Heartsick, part of the Lovelorn Collection by Rachel Henry (Remily Knits)
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL sock yarn, colour Winter Sunset (issued as part of the 2014 Flora Sock Yarn Club) 110g, 385m
Needles: Milward bamboo circular needle, 4.5mm
Yarn remaining: 19g, approximately 66m
Finished dimensions: 135cm at the neck edge by 31cm at its widest point.

September’s Challenge
Wharfedale Woolworks Sock Yarn Club for this year is called Colour Therapy, and the semi-solid colours have been absolutely fabulous; a rich strawberry red, a glistening pale grey, a yellow the colour of ripe corn, a grassy green aptly named Gaia, a stunning blue, and a slatey blue-grey named Panacea. I have already used Zen Garden (March’s challenge) and Shinto Gate (July’s challenge) and this month I am going to knit with Cinteotl. The named of this yarn refers to the Mayan god of maize, and it is well named; think of acres of ripe corn gleaming in the sunshine. It is a colour to lift the spirits on a dull winter’s day.

The pattern I am working is Mrs Tumnus by Mimi Codd (Eskimimi on Ravelry), another unusual construction, and a very unusual shape. This shawl is another that is worked edge-first, but instead of being a very shallow crescent, Mrs Tumnus is horseshoe shaped. The pattern was inspired by the character of Mr Tumnus, the faun in The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, and should really be red in colour, but I think it will look stunning in the glowing yellow semi-solid Cinteotl.

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: August Update

July’s challenge shawl was Whirlwind Romance, by Nim Teasdale. I like Nim’s shawl designs, as they all seem to feature unlimited adaptability, allowing you to continue knitting almost until the yarn runs out! This pattern is no exception; it has two charts, the setup chart that establishes the beautiful Estonian Starflower stitch in the centre of the back, and then the main chart that continues building the design until you have a veritable garden full of starflowers rippling down your back. It has been a joy to knit, the centre panel providing visual and technical interest, and wpid-20150708_223701.jpgthe two side panels in stocking stitch give a calming rest from the whirlwind between them.

Since this design is very adaptable, I thought I would include some statistics on yarn usage, so that you can see how much yarn was used in each main chart repeat.

Starting weight: 110g 385m approx.
Setup chart required : 3g
1st chart2 repeat required: 6g
2nd chart2 repeat required : 10g
3rd chart2 repeat required: 13g
4th chart2 repeat required: 16g
5th chart2 repeat required: 19g
6th chart2 repeat required: 21g (1 row shorter than the other chart repeats)
Picot cast off required: 10g
Yarn leftover: 12g
Finished dimensions: 134cm neck edge, 45cm depth

This was using 4mm needles and a relaxed tension. Thus each repeat of the main chart needed 3-4g more yarn than the previous repeat had used.

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Since the pattern gives no blocking diagram, I have had to guess at the shape. I hope this looks OK!

The yarn I chose for this shawl is Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL sock yarn in colour Shinto Gate, a stunning semi-solid strawberry red. I love this yarn. It is smoothe and shiny, and seems to take colour well, as all the examples I have are richly coloured. This particular skein was issued as part of the 2015 Colour Therapy Sock Yarn Club.

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Technical Details
Pattern: Whirlwind Romance by Nim Teasdale
Yarn: Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL sock yarn in Shinto Gate, 110g approx. 385m
Needles: Addi metal circular needle, 4mm, 100cm long
Yarn remaining after completion: 12g (approximately 42m)

August’s Shawl
August brings me to half way through the challenge, shawl number six. So far, all of the shawls I have knitted have been of conventional construction;  start with a garter tab cast on and work from the neck edge downwards and outwards. I felt that a change would be good for me, and so I have decided on a pattern that starts with the outer edging and includes the shawl body afterwards. Ever since I first saw Heartsick by Rachel Henry I have wanted to knit it. It is a relatively small shawl, but has a lovely romantic lace border. The body is stocking stitch short row shaping, and I shall be using the short row technique I learned for making socks (described in the Fish Lips Kiss Heel Sock pattern). The yarn I have selected is Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL, colour Winter Sunset (part of the 2014 Flora Sock Yarn Club). Variegated yarns are always a little tricky when used for lace knitting, as the swift colour changes often fight against the lacy pattern. I am confident, however, that this lovely colour – red, pink, hint of blue, and purple mutating to damson and almost black – will suit this pattern as the heart shapes on the border are substantial enough to show off the variegation well.

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The Year of Knitting Lacily: July Update

Welcome to month 4 of my personal challenge, The Year of Knitting Lacily. June’s challenge was to knit one of Verybusymonkey’s Scientist shawls, Tesla. This pattern is less lacy than the previous 3 shawls, but I think it goes well with the variegated yarn – pale blue thickly scattered with pink, from pale rose to rich cranberry.wpid-20150601_141158.jpg

 

By the middle of the month, I had finished the body, a simple stocking stitch area that displays the variegation of the yarn to advantage, and by the 27th June I had finished the shawl and it looked nice even unblocked. However, there was a problem during the border section. Just before the fourth and last repeat of chart C I counted the stitches remaining and realised that I would have 6 body stitches left at the end of the chart instead of 3. I had counted the stitches at the end of the body and the number was correct. I counted all of the sssk stitches I had done, and it tallied with the number required for the border as charted. I double checked all of the ssk stitches – they were correct. So how did I end up with too many body stitches at the end? I have no idea, but it was too late to do anything about it, so I added two additional sssk stitches into the last repeat of chart C and and that left 4 body stitches which I incorporated into the garter stitch border at the end. I don’t think anyone will notice!wpid-20150706_103006.jpg

 

I enjoyed knitting this shawl. The variegated yarn provides the interest in the stocking stitch body of the shawl, and does indeed look like a petal storm! The border looks intricate but is in fact very easy, and the yarn colouring enhances that too. I especially like the edging three stitches; instead of a garter stitch edge to the border to get it to lie flat, the designer has used 1/1 RC narrow cable with a purl next to it. This forms a very attractive edge, and I am wondering if this would also look good on the top edge of a shawl. I must experiment.

Technical notes
Yarn:   Wharfedale Woolworks Yorkshire Rose BFL colourway Petal Storm
Pattern:  verybusymonkey Tesla Shawl from the Scientists 2 Collection
Needles: Addi 4mm circular needle
Yarn remaining out of 385m: approximately 38m or 11g

July’s Challenge Shawl
For July, I shall be knitting Whirlwind Romance by Nim Teasdale. This is another designer new to me, and the pattern is part of the collection Love is Friendship Caught on Fire. The shawls are lovely, lacy and romantic, and I could have chosen any of them happily but the idea of a Whirlwind Romance means the colour red to me, warm and sensual. In my stash, I have Shinto Gate from Wharfedale Woolworks, a stunning strawberry semi-solid BFL yarn from the Colour Therapy Sock Yarn Club 2015, and it just oozes romance! I think the lovely laciness of this shawl will look good in red. I can’t wait to cast on!

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