New pattern: Silverwing

I have a new shawl design to share! This is Silverwing, a one-skein lace shawl inspired by the birdlife of the Whakatane river, and the graceful white-faced herons in particular. My parents' house and shop are about a 20-minute walk apart, and the riverbank is by far the most pleasant route between them. There are always pūkeko, shags, swallows, and various gulls to be seen, and sometimes I'm lucky enough to spot a heron or a flock of spoonbills.

During my last visit to Whakatane I knit up this shawl (it's a quick knit for a lace project), and did a photoshoot by the river with Dad...

One of Dad's many amazing bird photos! This one's a white-faced heron.

The yarn is a special gradient-dyed silk blend, Ozimerino Soie (50% merino, 50% silk; 438yds/401m per 100g) from local dyer Dawn of Ozifarmer's Market. This colour is called 'Silver', and it's a subtle, gentle gradient with a lot of shine from the silk. I used up all of the yarn to get the most out of the gradient, and it's easy to change the number of repeats at the end of the shawl so you can do the same.

The lace patterns in Silverwing are simple and easily memorised, making it a suitable project for a beginner lace knitter, or an experienced lace knitter looking for a low-attention project for tv knitting.

I like the way the long tail of the shawl curls around itself.

Features:

  • an all-over lace pattern inspired by wing feathers
  • an asymmetrical triangular shape, knit from the narrow point to the opposite edge
  • a stretchy k2tog-tbl lace bind off
  • the lace patterns are intuitive and easy to memorise
  • a one-skein project, easily customisable to suit your available yardage
  • perfect for gradient-dyed yarn, as well as solids and semi-solids. The lace is also simple enough for speckled or lightly variegated yarn
  • one size, easily shrunk or enlarged by changing the number of repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions and hybrid charted + written instructions

You can see all the details and download the Silverwing pattern via Ravelry or Loveknitting. Dad's website (with a very pretty photo gallery) is here: Jos's Photography & Framing.

In full sail! ;)

New pattern: Folia Triangle

And that's a wrap! Rounding out my La Folia Collection is Folia Triangle, now available on Ravelry. It's a bottom-up triangular shawl with two size options - I knit the large size, and it's enormous and very snuggly. :)

Features:

  • a v-shaped leaf-lace panel on a background of garter stitch
  • a shallow triangular shape, knit from the bottom point upwards
  • a tidy i-cord bind off
  • stitch markers keep track of the lace section's boundaries, so that only a few rows require you to pay special attention
  • for two skeins of fingering-weight yarn, or one high-yardage skein
  • perfect for speckled or lightly variegated yarn as well as solids and semi-solids - the lace pattern is simple enough to take it
  • two sizes (shown in L), easily shrunk or enlarged by changing the number of repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions and hybrid charted + written instructions

I used two gorgeous skeins of Revelry Sock from Circus Tonic Handmade, in a speckled colourway called 'Zebra Finch'. All of Circus Tonic's colours are named after Australian birds, which I think is really cool (as a fellow bird lover).

You can see all the details and download the Folia Triangle pattern via Ravelry and Loveknitting. An ebook with all three patterns is also available on Ravelry as the La Folia Collection.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. Here's a tiny video I posted on Instagram a couple of months ago, when I was knitting the bind off on this shawl:

My new favourite bind-off for shawls is a 2-stitch icord BO! *k1, k2tog through back loops, slip 2 sts to left needle, repeat from * until done. 💕🙌🏼
A video posted by Amy van de Laar (@amyvdlaar) on Jul 17, 2016 at 6:29pm PDT

New pattern: Tailfeather

Tailfeather is my latest scarf design, and it's so, so, so cosy. It's a big, wide scarf with a garter-stitch-and-lace texture inspired by feathers.

I adore birds, as you may have gathered, and I've been planning to knit a scarf in this feathery stitch pattern for ages. It's actually related to the edging on my Kea shawl, but with elongated and slightly narrower 'feathers'. The worsted-weight yarn in this version gives it a nice casual, unisex look.

Features:

  • interlocking feather pattern based on garter stitch and simple lace
  • intuitive stitch pattern that makes for a fast knit
  • worsted-weight polwarth/alpaca/possum yarn for warmth
  • two width options (wide version shown)
  • long-tail cast on + simple knitted bind off
  • both charted and written instructions.

I used one of my favourite yarns for scarves, Outlaw Yarn's Bohemia Worsted (45% polwarth, 45% alpaca, and 10% possum). The subtle, muted brown colour is called 'Ambrotype'. It's actually a really interesting colour, with hints of mauve and mushroom.

If you're curious or concerned about possum-blend yarn, Outlaw's website has a great short explanation of their pest status in New Zealand, and why supporting the possum yarn industry is great for our native birds, forests, and wildlife: Deb's 'Official Rant' about Possums

The Tailfeather pattern is available to download as a pdf from Ravelry or Loveknitting.

Bird Sanctuary + Slow Fashion IV

This is another belated Slow Fashion October post, as my weekend was full up with visiting a bird sanctuary, working on a new hat design, choir, brunch, and other pleasant-but-tiring things.

The Serendip Sanctuary was amazing, by the way - very chilled out and quiet (except for the birds), so we were able to take our time wandering around and noticing the more camouflaged wildlife. A lengthy discussion occurred over whether a particular brown shape was a bird, lizard, or stick. It turned out to be a napping tawny frogmouth!

Wetland with birds (click to enlarge, and spot the emus in the distance!)

A tawny frogmouth staring us down

Slow Fashion October prompt:
Week 4, October 19-25: WORN
second-hand / mending / caring for things / laundering for longevity / design for longevity (bucking trends, quality materials …) / heirlooms

This one's very timely for me, as I've been getting my outfit ready for my brother's wedding this Saturday (yay Jeff!). As usual, I'll be wearing several second-hand pieces - my blouse, jacket, shoes, and jewellery.

I have a glass-bead necklace which I inherited from my Nana, which I've worn on fancy-dress-up occasions before, like choir concerts. It's always been a little too short for me, and the clasp was quite tarnished, so I decided to re-string it for this occasion.

Before

After

I struggled a bit with knotting the silk thread and securing the ends tidily, but the clasp will be hidden by my hair anyway so I think it's fine.

I also have more mending to do today, if I have time - I'd like to replace the buttons on a black silk shirt so I can wear it to dinner on Friday. We'll be staying at a posh Art Deco hotel in Napier, which I'm looking forward to!

I'll be staying on after the wedding festivities, relaxing at Mum & Dad's and doing lots of sewing and knitting. Can't wait. :)

A walk in the park

On Saturday Willie and I went for a mini road trip to the Dandenong Ranges, which are about an hour out of Melbourne. Willie has been making a list of nearby-ish gardens and bird sanctuaries and the like, which we might want to go and visit. For this outing, we chose the National Rhododendron Garden.

Lots of photos ahead! Click to enlarge them. :)

It wasn't very busy, as the cherry blossoms and most of the rhododendrons have yet to flower, so it was the perfect place for a low-key late afternoon stroll. The first moment of excitement (after sniffing several daphne bushes) was this lovely kookaburra who was keeping an eye on us from its tree:


It looks so much like a puppet or soft toy! What a cutie.

The garden is made up of different areas, featuring different kinds of plants. Massed hellebores under trees, a reedy lake, and long stretches of daffodils under the cherry trees...




I really loved finding unfamiliar trees, like this hornbeam with its very vertical branches, some flowering witch hazels, and some interesting conifers I'd never come across before:



Now I know what fake Christmas trees are modelled after!

Before making our way back through the garden and home (via a great fish-and-chip shop), we paused for a rest by the camellias. Willie took a few snaps of me in my green woolly hat, which I realised I hadn't shown off yet. It's a simple ribbed beanie in Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter. The colour is called 'Button Jar', and the pattern is Swoon. I think it's just right. :)