Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ley Lines Shawl

Ley Lines is the fourth pattern from the SongLines collection. I shouldn't have favorites, but if I did I think this one would be in the top of recent favorite designs. It's simple, but not plain. There's lace, but it's balanced with stockinette. Some color, but not too much. Ley Lines is a shawl I would wear. 
I love the challenge of designing and knitting a complex lace piece, but I often don't wear them. My personal style leans much more toward the designs in SongLines. Clean, relatively simple, slightly textured, and wearable on an every day basis. 

I designed this shawl using Spud & Chloe Fine yarn, a blend of 80% wool and 20% silk. It blocked great and the lace detail is nice and crisp, as you can see in the photos. I was surprised by how much the yarn stretched. Granted, I'm a pretty loose knitter, so all of my shawls block out pretty far. 
(Interested in more about the yarn? Read my review.)

Shawl pin by Cacklin Hen Designs
Ley Lines would also work great in my Dye-A-Tonic sock yarn. You'd only need 1 skein of the main color (463 yards) and one of the second color. The coordinating color stripes (the orange bits) don't use much yarn, so really you could use any odd leftovers you have. Maybe even use 4 different coordinating color? (Two stripes of each.) That could be fun, and a great way to use small scraps that you couldn't make yourself throw away. You know you have some. I do. I keep all my tiny leftover sock yarn rolled into mini cakes in a basket in my yarn room. I can never figure out what to do with them, but I can't just put them in the garbage!

Ley Lines is a bottom up shawl with patterning on both sides. The first half is knit in a wave lace interspersed with slipped stitch lines worked in a coordinating color. Decreases occur at the begin and end of each row resulting in two stitches decreased per row. Section two of the shawl is knit in stockinette using a single color.

In order to create the 1-row lines of coordinating color you’ll be working consecutive right side and wrong side rows. (A circular needle is essential in being able to do this!) Each row of the pattern indicates whether it is a RS or WS row. When you work a RS (or WS) row and see another RS (or WS) row immediately after you’ll simply slide your stitches back to the left needle and work another row without turning your piece.

Sections one and two of the shawl are charted and written. The final section (all stockinette) is written only.

Suggested Yarn
Spud & Chloe, Fine, [80% wool / 20% silk; 248 yds (227m); 65g; fingering weight], 
2 skeins Hippo; 1 skein Clementine 

Gauge (before blocking) 
22 sts & 26 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch 

Finished Size 
58” wingspan x 16” deep (before blocking) 
66” wingspan x 19” deep (after blocking) 

US 5 / 3.75mm 32” or longer circular needle 
Adjust needle size to obtain correct gauge. 

1 locking stitch marker, 
Tapestry needle for weaving ends.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Spud & Chloe Fine

Fine Details
Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
Fiber Content: 80% wool / 20% silk
Weight per Skein: 65 grams
Yardage: Approx. 248 yards (227 meters)
Suggested Needle Size: US 1–3 (2.25–3.25mm)
Gauge: 7-8 sts per inch
Care: For best results wash gently in cool water with mild soap. Tumble dry low until damp, block to shape.
Cost: $14.00 (at

Manufacturer's Description 
Made of superwash 80% wool/20% silk, this sock-weight yarn is ideal for Fair Isle and detailed work—and, of course, some pretty fancy footwork.

My Thoughts
Spud and Chloe Fine has a slightly rustic feel, but in that fancy not actually rustic way. There's nothing flashy about it that makes you go "Oooooo" right off the bat. It's a simple yarn and I like simple yarns. They are pretty without getting in the way of the pattern. Exactly the type of yarn I'd want to have around for working on a new design.

I like the presentation of Spud & Chloe yarns. They come in nice skeins with pretty (very heavy) tags. And who can say that picture of the girl and her fluffy pet sheep isn't cute? The packaging may not alter the quality of the yarn, but little details like that definitely add to the overall experience. 

I knew I was going to be designing a shawl in Spud and Chloe Fine before the yarn even arrived. I had picked the yarn and colors to fit into my SongLines collection. When the yarn did arrive I was tempted to use it for a straight lace design, but everything in the collection uses more than one color (no stranded colorwork), so by my own rules I was obligated to use both the colors as planned. I'm happy I did because I got to feel the difference in the colors. Yes, feel. The darker color (Hippo) is much rougher than the orange (Clementine). Different dyes can have varying effects on fiber, so I'm assuming that's the case here. I didn't mind the roughness of the yarn, it wasn't a scratchy rough, just not smooth. Almost a little nubby, maybe the silk reacting to the dye? When I picked up the Clementine yarn to use I was surprised at how smooth it was by comparison. 

When I got around to blocking my shawl I was in for a nice surprise. Fine blocks wonderfully! I'd been a little worried that I wasn't going to get a large enough shawl with the yardage I had, but the loose gauge plus the yarn was wow! The only other yarn I've knit with that blocked out as good for a shawl is my own Polka yarn.

During the design process of Ley Line (shown below) I ripped out several rows of knitting five times. The yarn (Hippo colorway) held up well to the abuse. There was virtually no fuzz or pilling, which makes me think that the yarn would stand up to being socks.

Overall I enjoyed knitting with Spud and Chloe Fine and I would use it again. I am curious about whether the other colorways are more like the Hippo or Clementine in feel. If you've used this yarn and noticed a difference in the way the colorways feel I'd love to know. Leave a comment.

The Ley Lines shawl uses Spud and Chloe Fine (2 skeins Hippo; 1 skein Clementine). 

*Disclaimer: The yarn in this review was received complimentary from the manufacturer for designing purposes. Reviewer was not otherwise paid, contracted, or obligated to review the yarn or product in this review. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's on my Needles Wednesday: 12/4/13

I've got *A LOT* of knitting in progress. Too much knitting. I can't keep track of it all! Ahhhhh!
Seriously. I don't even know where to start.

I'm running a KAL over on Ravelry called Better Together. It's part of my 4-shawl series called You & I. (The other 3 designs will be MKALs as well, so come on over and join us!) Well, I knit the first design wayback now. Wrote the pattern. Got it proofed. And then decided that the shawl I'd knit looked too sloppy because I'd ripped and reknit so many times as I was designing. So I decided to knit another. I got all the way through to the last section (Section Five) and then got stalled on it while I worked on something else. I really, really, need to finish section five. Ya know, before the KAL is finished so I have something to show.

Then I've got one of the designs for the SongLines collection that's about 60% knit. Pattern's done, test knitter is working on it, but I'm not done with my sample. At this point I think my test knitters will be done before me! Yikes!

And then there's the hat I randomly started because my fingers just wanted something not garter stitch, not a shawl, and not 2 colors. So I'm half way through a cabled hat using worsted weight yarn. I'm in love with this design. It's so pretty. And so refreshing to do something different. Don't get me wrong. I love my shawls, but I can't remember the last time I knit something other than a shawl or cowl.

Hats were "my thing" before I discovered I loved shawls. I need to make sure I split my time better between the two. I'm actually in the process of putting together patterns for my sample knitters for a Fall 2014 hat collection called "Whimsy." It's going to be all stranded colorwork. Owls and birds and fairies and snowflakes and sheep and fun things like that will adorn all the hats. So practice wrapping those floats! Every 3 stitches is my general rule of thumb (on fingering yarn). Lots of the hats will be "picture hats" so there are pretty wide areas of one color. You can do this without an issue in stranded knitting as long as you remember to wrap.

I should probably go knit.... A peppermint mocha and knitting sounds like a good plan for this morning.