New pattern: Budburst

Who's ready for more lace? I've just released a new asymmetrical shawl, named Budburst for its leafy lace pattern and the magical way it blooms during blocking. I think it's the prettiest thing I've made in a long time. :)

Budburst's stitch pattern blocks out into light and delicate leaves, but during knitting it forms a really cool bobbly texture. The transformation from bobbles to leaves reminded me of leaf buds unfurling in spring.

The gently-speckled yarn is a fingering-weight Merino Single in 'Dawn', by the Swiss dyer Sidispinnt. I adore using single-spun yarn for shawls, as it holds its blocking really well. I find plied yarn can bounce back again over time, especially if it has a tight twist like some sock yarns. I'm seeking out singles and silk-blend yarns for my shawls more and more these days, to make sure I get a really nice drape.

Dad and I took these photos above the Ōhope hill during my April trip to New Zealand - we found the perfect grassy paddock with flowering mānuka bushes and a view of the beach down below. The one downside was the thistles, which kept managing to spike me through my jeans!

Features:

  • an all-over lace pattern of delicate leaves
  • intuitive stitch pattern, with 'rest' rows on the wrong side
  • an optional picot bind-off (see my tutorial here)
  • knit sideways from point to bind-off edge
  • easy to scale up or down by altering the number of repeats
  • requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn
  • suitable for speckled, semi-solid, or gradient-dyed yarn
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

You can see all the details and download the Budburst pattern on Ravelry.


This design is part of the Progress, Hope, and Happiness collection, a celebration of summer from ten designers and five indie dyers. I hope you’ll join us for the make-along, which runs from June 1st to July 16th!

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! ;)

WARMing up

Have you heard about the WARM project? It's a community textile art project to reflect on climate change and sustainability, which will take the form of two giant pictures made up of small knitted parts, to be installed in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery this September. You can read about the inspiration for the project here.

My contribution is a batch of knitted gum leaves. I've made six small ones so far, which I'll put in the post today. If I have time, I'd like to make another batch of leaves.

I found some fallen leaves and flowers under the gum trees at our train station today, very conveniently for my photos!

If you'd like to knit something to contribute to WARM, you can find the all of the patterns (devised by Georgie Nicholson) here on Ravelry - you can make different kinds of native flowers, or wind turbines, or simple lace squares for example. All items need to be made from 100% wool yarn, and using stash yarn is encouraged. Contributions are due by the 12th of August.

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. :)


New pattern: Lunate

I have another new shawl design to share: Lunate, a one-skein fingering weight shawl shaped like the crescent moon.



I kept this design quite simple, with a stockinette ground and lace mesh accents. Lunate is a very straightforward knit - most of the shawl is made up of the same two rows repeated. Counting is minimal, as stitch markers tell you when to work the lace parts, and each wrong-side row is a purled 'rest' row.

Features:
  • curved crescent shape which drapes beautifully
  • simple lace mesh and stockinette textures
  • top-down construction, beginning with a garter tab cast-on
  • a one-skein project, requiring 410 yards of fingering-weight yarn
  • one size, easily enlarged by working more repeats
  • written pattern only (for greater simplicity in this case)

I used one skein of Vintage Purls Sock in a pale greyish-yellow called 'Jaune D'antimoine' - perfect for a lunar shawl! The simple textures of Lunate would also work well with a speckled or variegated yarn.




We took the photos at Yarra Bend Park, a bat sanctuary and lovely bit of nature close to the city. I blogged about my first visit earlier this year. We had great fun taking photos at different spots on the riverbank, exploring, and watching the bats.