Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - A Year In Shawls...

2013 was a helluva ride for me. It was the knitting that saved me I think. I separated from my husband in March of this year and moved in with my folks. Our divorce was finalized 5 days before Christmas and 2 days before what would have been our 7th Anniversary. 2013 saw the continuation of my disability claim and each month I hoped for a change, a hearing date, some kind of good news but alas...it all continues. Anyone else who has filed a disability claim and has had to wait forever knows exactly what this feels like. But it was the knitting that saved me from drowning in frustration and madness that was 2013. I found myself diving into the world of pattern design in a way I hadn't before and I loved it. Every stitch and every minute of it. I released/self-published 8 designs this year.

The first pattern I released was Cornwall Coast. I had actually completed Mannington first but released Cornwall Coast before Mannington as it was an easier pattern to write up. Cornwall was designed with one of the monthly Lorna's Laces colorways done for Jimmy Beans Wool. It was an homage to Brad Pitt and the colorway was called 'A River Runs Through It.' I had to have any yarn devoted to Brad Pitt and knew right away I wanted to design something special for it. The colors spoke of a misty ocean shoreline and Cornwall Coast was born...

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The body of the shawl was designed to look like ripples of water in the sea. The border I added is a wave pattern which was perfect for the overall design. To this day Cornwall remains my most popular shawl and highest selling shawl of my collection.

Next was Mannington...

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Mannington was a design collaboration I did with Brooks Farm Yarns. You can see all the wonderful things they do over here on their website. If you haven't looked at any of their yarns I highly recommend that you do. Mannington was done with their new, at the time, yarn line called Tenino which is a 50/50 merino and tencel blend. It was a DK weight yarn that was delicious to work with. It had the greatest shine to it. The shawl itself is rather large because of the yarn weight I worked with. The shawl is with Brooks Farm and travels with them to all of their shows and Fiber Festivals and I have been very thankful for the publicity they have given me. The shawl was designed with an English Garden in mind. The very manicured kind with knot gardens and topiaries, etc. The shawl was named after Mannington Gardens and can be read about here on their website.

Next up was the Persian Crescent Shawl...


I loved doing this shawl. I seem to be inspired by the yarn colorways I work with. This was the Malabrigo sock colorway called 'Persia' and it is beautiful. I designed the shawl around some historical and archaeological aspects of early Persia and the pottery design during that time period. It was a truly fun project.

The next shawl was Vintage Bordeaux, again inspired by the color I was working with. The name of this colorway from this Knit Picks Tonal Sock yarn was 'Wine Tasting.' The colors were gorgeous and I wanted to work the body of this shawl in garter to show off the colors and add a dramatic lace edging...

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I dedicated Vintage Bordeaux to my Aunt Betty because she drinks and thoroughly enjoys wine possibly more than anyone else I know. It was a fun project to work. I had a bit of added 'excitement' with this project on Ravelry. There was a French designer on Ravelry who had used a similar, but different, border on one of her shawls and thought I was stealing her design. She had even copied my photos from Ravelry and used them on her blog where she did nothing but trash me. Oh, it was great fun! It had gotten out of hand enough to the point where I had to get the administrators of Ravelry involved in helping to bring closure to the matter. The French designer finally relented and removed my material from her personal blog and ceased the harassing behavior. I won't forget this project because of that alone!

Next up was Quartzite...


This was another Knit Picks yarn...their Imagination Hand Painted Sock Yarn in a colorway called 'Castle Walls.' I designed this shawl with sandstone in mind. I worked the body of this shawl with purls rows indicating the layers of sandstone and with the border lending itself to gently moving layers of earth over time creating the sandstone. I have loved and worn this shawl often! Because of its pale colors it goes with a lot.

The next shawl I designed was Petit Jardin...


Petit Jardin was the 2nd collaboration project I did and it was with Wooly Wonka Fibers. You can see all of her wonderful things here. She has wonderful, wonderful yarns and I finally got her together with my LYS Village Wools and they now are carrying her yarns! Yay! Success! I loved working on this project. The yarn was a 50/50 merino and silk blend and was extra silky to work with. The sheen was incredibly beautiful. This is one of my most favorite shawls and I wear it as often as I can. The colorway was called 'Fig' and this photo doesn't do it a whole lot of justice. I think this pic was before I modified it a bit. It had the rose trellis pattern down the center back and the border was done incorporating the rose from the center into the border. I love this shawl.

Next up was Effortless...


It was sometime around the time I was doing Effortless when I bought Lucy and she arrived. Lucy is my dress form and I had wanted one since the beginning of the year when I had really started designing. I wanted a more professional look to my photos when shooting the finished product. I designed Effortless to be just that...effortless. If one knows how to knit, purl and yarn over, and knit 2 together, one can make this shawl. I wanted something that was so easy you didn't need to travel with a pattern, not even for the border. Those that have made it agree that it is as Effortless as I was aiming for it to be! Another Success! This yarn was Skein Sock Yarn in the colorway 'Bitterness' and I love the colors in it, rusts and browns and all the shades in between. Fabulous. 

The next one I designed was The Scottsdale Shawl...


I was in Scottsdale with my Mom in October of 2011 for treatment at the Mayo Clinic and I'll never forget how beautiful it was...in October! So green and lots of flowers and trees and cactus everywhere. Right along side of beauty of the floral aspects everywhere was the remarkable influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. His Taliesin West is there but his influence is seen all over the city. I designed this shawl as a nod to everything I saw in Scottsdale. The body of the shawl was done with alternating bands of garter and stockinette with a slipped center stitch. This was done to mimic the Prairie Style rooftops FLW is famous for. The leafy and picot border was added to note everything that was green there. The yarn was Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the colorway 'Jade.' Its one of my favorite colorways and definitely one of my favorite shawls. 

How can I pick a favorite of the shawls I have designed? Its impossible. They are each so personal to me for different reasons. From the crazy French chic after I released Vintage Bordeaux to remembering my time at the Mayo Clinic while doing The Scottsdale Shawl. I have 2 other designs on the needles now.....which could be looked at as #9 and #10 but they won't be released until 2014 so they kind of don't count as being done in 2013. The two they are...


This one which has a very Indian Spices feeling to it. I have not settled on a name for it yet but it will be something along those lines. The second one is my 3rd collaboration project with Phydeaux Designs....


This is the one that speaks to me of afternoon tea and Garden Parties. Also unnamed at the moment it will be something along those lines as well.

And a brief update on my Angora fingerless mitts...they're coming along pretty quickly...

 
So there you have it. This is what saved me from drowning in 2013 and giving into the frustration of everything that happened to me during the year. I am looking forward to 2014, more fresh, new knitting designs and a new life. I'm not sure what this new life will bring but nonetheless, it is a new fresh start. I'm looking forward to my knitting complimenting what is happening in my life rather than using it as an escape plan. I love the start of a New Year. It's like a dry erase board. All the stuff that's been scribbled onto the board over the past year can get wiped away to start over with a clean, fresh and new board. I like that. 

I hope your New Year is wonderful, prosperous, and 2014 brings much health and happiness!

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