Thursday, June 20, 2013

All askew

I'm going through a very unsatisfactory knitting time. After I pulled the needles out of my Viajante shawl (poncho, poncho!) and left it languishing while I tried to figure out how to unravel and rewind about a kilometre of yarn, I searched for a suitable project for the beautiful Shilasdair yarn I'd bought at the Breidag while I was in the Netherlands. I have four 50 gram skeins of the yarn, which is a most luxurious mixture of cashmere, baby camel, angora and merino lambswool. The air miles associated with this yarn are a bit horrifying as the yarn is sourced from Peru, then dyed in the Shetland Isles. I bought it in the Netherlands and then it flew back to Australia with me. But then, particularly if you live in Australia where Australian-grown wool is usually sent off to China for processing, then to Italy for dying and distribution, the air miles associated with most yarn are disturbing.

My four skeins of yarn are four different colours that shade into one another. I had difficulty finding a pattern that I could adapt to feature the yarns and subtle colour changes and eventually decided on Lisa Mutch's elegant Askew shawl/scarf. A friend had already knitted this pattern and I liked the asymmetrical draping of the point of the scarf as she wore it. So I worked on the shawl/scarf, loving the yarn as I knitted. I decided to work through the spectrum of the colours I had, merging one into another by using stripes interspersed with plain colours.

Air Miles Shawl

Maybe the name of the pattern was a warning. My old Oxford dictionary tells me that one of the meanings of 'askew' is 'wrong; awry', as in 'the plan went sadly askew'. A perfect description of what happened. The scarf/shawl that results from the pattern is quite deep for its width. It sits well as a scarf, but is not so suited to wear as a shawl, and the amount of yarn I wanted to use to best display the colours I had resulted in the shawl growing deeper and deeper. I played around with varying the increases to make the shawl wider but eventually gave up and unravelled my knitting. The plan went sadly askew.

So the search for a suitable pattern began again. I remembered what the colour and texture of the yarn reminded me of - Kate Davies' recently published Colours of Shetland. In particular, the Northmavine Hap.

Colours of Shetland

Perfect, except that I don't have enough yarn. So, a bit reluctantly as I counted the air miles again, I've ordered more yarn. My justification is that it's more sustainable in the long run to have a shawl of lovely yarn that I will wear than one that lies unused in my wardrobe.


Rose Red said...

Oh no! That was so lovey!
I do admire your willingness to frog and redo though.

Brendaknits said...

I like the hat. Bet you have enough yarn for that:)
You have enlightened me regarding air miles for yarn. It sounds incredibly naive to say I had no idea, but I didn't. I am so careful about air miles when it comes to the food I eat,but I never thought aobut the yarn. Duh!

DrK said...

yes it takes a brave woman to admit that something shes already knit a lot of isnt working. thats pretty much my yardstick these days, will i actually wear it. i love the northmavine and those colours are perfect for it. im about to start the northmavine hoody actually, but in greys with black and red. maybe i should order in some blue, air miles and all :)