Time to show you some knitting again!
I had lots of plans to finish more of my projects on the go, but so much for good intentions. I had ordered a kit for the Bitterblue Shawl from Earthfaire in the Magic Carpet colourway, and when it turned up in the mailbox, I just had to cast on right away.
I inverted the order of the colours and am approaching the halfway point. This shawl uses yarn that has been dyed in gradients, each skein slightly different from the previous one so that the end project shades from one colour to the another. In this case, it shades from plum to green. Unique Sheep Gradiance is the name of the company and the line of these meticulously dyed yarns: you can see some of the other colourways on their site, right here.If you looked at the pattern on Earthfaire’s site, you will have noticed that my shawl looks different – and not just because I inverted the colours. The pattern has a larger cast-off after every third repeat of the border pattern. When I tried that, though, I didn’t like the look of it. I thought I’d prefer the shawl if the line between the border and the body of the shawl was smooth, instead of stepped off, so that’s what I’ve done.
The result of that choice will likely be that the shawl will come out a bit shorter – because mine will be wider and there’s a finite amount of yarn. When you use gradient yarns, you’re supposed to ease the transitiion into each colour change, alternating between the old and new colour, before changing completely to the new colour. (Here’s the Unique Sheep tutorial.) This always gives me stress when the rows are of different length, because I fear I’ll leave the wrong amount of yarn and run out in the middle of a row. OTOH, I don’t want to have yarn left over when I’m concerned about the overall size of the shawl. So, I’m just changing from one skein to the next, without easing into the change, and using a Russian join between them. I think it looks good.
You can’t see another change I’ve made: on every row knitting back toward the border, the first stitch is to be knit according to the pattern. I thought the edge was too tight that way, so began to slip that first stitch instead. (And actually you can see it if you know what you’re looking for. The shawl begins at that lower point, where the purple end of yarn is showing. You can see that the right edge curls more in those first few rows – I changed to slipping the stitch before that row of 5 beads.)
And YES, this shawl had beads. A lot of beads. The beads change colours too. I started with yellowy ones on the purple, then shaded into greenish ones. I’ve just changed to the ones called Root Beer and will finish out with purple beads. You can see the beads better in the image below:
The wool in this kit is really lovely. I’m not often a fan of silk blends, but this is wool and tussah silk, which is sometimes called wild silk. I love the feel of tussah silk in fabric, and also love it in this yarn. I’ll be wearing this one a lot when it’s done! I might not even block it because I like the look of the garter stitch. We’ll see.