Sunday, June 13, 2010

Orkney Leaf Shawl

I was lucky to visit Scotland last summer (2009) with Joyce James on her Scottish Skeins and Skerries tour, during which myself and new friends knit, visited, sipped wine (nothing else goes as well with knitting) and spent our way through Edinborough, Shetland, Orkney, and Hebrides. There was also a brief visit to Glasgow prior to our return flights. I'll describe more adventures in future posts, but today I'll describe a visit to a shop in Orkney and the shawl that resulted. The slightly drab photo above is a view in Kirkwall.

We boarded the bus in Kirkwall and drove up to a shop called The Wool Shed. (No website that I can locate...). They had lovely items. We had a brief tutorial on felting, and, as per our fiber loving ilk, snatched up yarns and roving. I came away with several bags of both Shetland and North Ronaldsay roving. Now the best thing about this stuff was the color. Bags held coordinated shades. According to the label, Pam Murray was the talented dyer. On the return drive in the van, we spied a place where the North Sea ran head on in to the Atlantic, in between two islands (one that we were driving on) with the waters perpetually assaulting each other head on. Of course, I neglected to get a photo, but it was so dramatic that I'll always remember it. Looked like a place with plenty of power, a great spot for Pagan rituals done with blue woad on one's face!

Once home, I spun up the blue-green colorway of shetland wool. Now, truth be told, green in most all forms calls to me. I double plied (I kinda lied in my last post, I have made successful shawls from my two ply handspun.) I just let the colors do what they wanted to, and so of course sometimes there were runs with both strands in one shade of blue or green. The photo to the right is more blue than green and doesn't really do it justice. The yarn turned out about 10 wpi.

I made what was for me an obvious pattern choice, Evelyn A Clark's Leaf Shawl, from her book
Knitting Lace Triangles. I do love this book for the
ability to create one's own shawl using Evelyn's
formula and her sample lace patterns. According Amazon, the book is out of print but some copies are available. My recommendation if you like triangular shawls is to snatch one up. Ultimately I hope to invent some of my own lace triangles using her basic principles. I would love to knit a shawl of just different variations of lace that looks like leaves; the increase and decreases just lend themselves to the shape of a leaf.
I finished the shawl last month during a lecture at the American Occupational Therapy Association national conference in Orlando. I was the only knitter I spied, but I will admit I gathered some complements as I knit through the sessions.

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