Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stellar

I like birds. I never really noticed them much until I moved to Seattle. There are gorgeous birds everywhere in the Seattle area. Tons of eagles, which I never saw in person in Ohio. Cute little black capped chickadees (who always remind me of the executioner in my favorite movie, Blazing Saddles). Ravens and seagulls are everywhere, and in my yard, I am lucky enough to see many of this beauty, known as Steller's Jay.


I love these birds and their stunning, bright blues so much, they inspired me to design a shawl.


I like to hang shawls off of this branch when photographing them, for some reason.

Another view:


I like to photograph everything on this bench. I love that it even has some bird poop on it, possibly from a Steller's Jay!

Still another view:




Modeled by yours truly.

Here's a closeup view of the colorwork:


And a view of the wrong side, just for fun.


It's knit in Stockinette stitch, but has been blocked flat so it rolls only minimally. I find the little bit of rolling that happens helps it stay on. The colorwork is a blend of stranded colorwork and intarsia. It's shaped with a yarnover at the edge of each row. Super-simple, and the colorwork is easy and fun. It was actually the first time I'd tried intarsia. I have this bad habit of trying new techniques for the first time in my own designs!

The yarn? Knit Picks Wool of The Andes Worsted, 4 balls. Two Coal, one Hyacinth, one Sapphire Heather. That means this shawl costs $8 to make. Wool of the Andes, despite being $2 a ball, is a really nice wool yarn and surprisingly soft. I'd even use it for next-to-skin stuff.

Affordability is a big consideration for me when I design something. I hate designs in magazines that call for like 30 balls of a yarn that costs $15 a ball, or 8 balls of a yarn that costs $50 a ball. Those designs are just out of touch. It's as if the designer has to do something with this massive pile of yarn that they got from the manufacturer for free, and they don't consider that the readers will actually need to buy it, and to use that yarn would be as much (or more than) a car payment. Super luxe yarns certainly have their place, and I love many of them. However, the budgets of the majority of the people who would want to knit the design need to be considered. For my current budget, an $8 shawl rocks!

I love it, and I'm going to write it up as a pattern over the next couple of days. This will be the first of many bird-themed shawls. Next maybe an eagle, or a Northwest Native-inspired raven, or a black-capped chickadee, or a mallard duck, who knows where my imagination will go!

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