Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tilted Pi Shawl

It's not like I've been keeping this project a secret (there have been pictures on Instagram), but sometimes I finish a project before I get a chance to write about it!

So what we have here is a story with the beginning, middle, and end all in one post. :)


When I finished spinning the three colours of Malabrigo Nube fiber I had, I started to look around for a project to use it in. I mentioned that I was looking at the Briochealicious Shawl but I was worried about having enough yarn and it didn't show off the coloured yarn enough for what I wanted with these yarns.

After looking around at a bunch of shawl patterns and evaluating what I was looking for, I decided to do my own Pi Shawl. The Pi Shawl was so named by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It actually has nothing to do with the value of Pi--the key was realizing that the diameter (or radius) of a circle is directly related to the circumference. Which means if the radius doubles, the circumference doubles.

So Elizabeth explained that if you double your stitches every time the radius doubled, you will end up with a circle with no more complicated calculations needed. This basic idea has released an explosion of designs. By doubling the stitches (easily done with a K1, YO repeat) on rows 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc, you were guaranteed a circular shape. For most shawls you don't get very far past row 64, so the whole shawl requires no more than six shaping rows. This is revolutionary stuff, folks!

Of course this only works because knitting is stretchy and malleable. You certainly couldn't use this shaping for something made in fabric. The most basic shawl would be stocking stitch with eyelet rows at the increase rows only. But you could do any stitch pattern in each section, as long as the gauge was the same.

For the stitch pattern, I decided to do more than the basic, but to still keep it simple--I added eyelets every six rows. This is a very simple lace design and the increase rows blend into the entire pattern.

I got started with the Archangel colourway. After one false try, I ended up doing eight eyelet sections in the first colour. That meant the first row of the neutral colour was an increase row. Since the neutral was a little thinner than the Archangel, the increase flowed very nicely.
When I was looking at patterns, I was very intrigued by the ones that used asymmetrical shaping to play with stripes. I liked the asymmetry but I wanted to end up with a regular half circle shape, so I played around with short rows:
You can see above that the first colour is symmetrical but after that the neutral and Azules (blue) stripes are wider on the right than on the left.

After that pictures was taken, I ended up ripping back a ways to adjust the width of the last two stripes. I was considering the look that I wanted, controlling the final size, and having enough yarn because the width of these stripes would determine how wide the following stripes would be. After the Azules would come the Lavanda colour and the final stripe would be over a lot more stitches. I didn't want to run out after just a few rows and have a skinny bit of colour at the end!

The second try looked better so I continued on.
You got a glance of the shawl in progress in my Squam post. It was the project I worked on the most at Squam. It was too big for the plane (where I worked on my long socks) but it was perfect for sitting around with other people--fairly simple and a pleasure to knit.

Not long after getting back, I finished the knitting. I had enough of the Lavanda to do the length of the shawl, but ran out while doing the hem that would be folded under. No problem, I thought.
I know the last stripe looks blue in this pic (and some following),
but it is the Lavanda.
I'll use some of the Archangel from the top of the shawl and it will just be a little pop of colour if the shawl edge flips up.
At the beginning, I wasn't sure how I was going to finish the shawl edge. I knew the  main concern would be to keep it from curling up. I had thought about an Icord edging all around the shawl, but when I thought about a folded picot hem, I decided it was the perfect finish to go with the eyelets in the rest of the shawl.

There weren't any clear areas in the house where I could lay out  a project for blocking, but I realized there was a corner of the office I could clear out and it worked great.
You can clearly see the asymmetry in this shot. The last stripe actually got wider than the middle stripe, but at some point I decided to just knit out the last colour because I didn't want the shawl to be too short.

Blocking was made a lot easier with my blocking wires.
The straight edges were easy with the rigid wires, but the real key was inserting the flexible wires. Since it was a folded hem, I could run the wires between the layers and easily pull out all of the picot points. Perfect!

Once it was blocked, I hung it up for some beauty shots. But the wind started blowing so it seemed a video might be better.
I love how the eyelet rows make even concentric circles but the colour seems to shift on top of them. To me, the colours look almost blended, like the colours were dyed after the shawl was knit. I like how knitters who notice are going to think, "What? How did she do that?"

The shawl sits nicely on my shoulders and doesn't want to fall off.
I think the length is nice, covering my entire back. The asymmetry can be seen but it's not really obvious.

It hangs naturally straight down the front, like an open cardigan.
The asymmetry is much more obvious from the front as the stripes don't match up.

I can throw one edge over my shoulder if I want to be covered up front as well.
But it will take a shawl pin to keep it there.

You can't photograph a shawl without a twirling picture. :)
And you have to have a full view over outstretched arms.
Look at some shawl patterns. You'll see it's required.

I also tried it with the ends tied behind my back.
This would keep the shawl secure.

From the back, you don't see the knot (but I would feel it behind me if I were sitting).
If I pull the shawl up just a bit and fold under the centre, it makes a nice warm "collar" at the back of my neck.
Project Stats
Started
: 26 May '17
Finished: 17 Jun '17
Pattern: Adaptation of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl
Materials: Handspun Malabrigo Nube (Archangel, Azules, Lavanda); Garnstudio DROPS lace (leftover from another project)

The Knitty Gritty:
Shaping:
I started with 5 stitches so the shawl would be a little more than half a circle. (4 sts would give a half circle.)
Increase to 10 stitches on row 2
Increase to 20 stitches on row 4
Rows 1-4 were considered the first eyelet section. Continue to make eyelets every 6th row.
I measured shaping increases by eyelet sections instead of rows:
Increase after 2nd eyelet section (row 10) (40 sts)
Increase after 4th eyelet section (row 22) (80 sts)
Increase after 8th eyelet section (row 46) (160 sts)
Increase after 16th eyelet section (row 94) (320 sts)

Stripes:
Work the first eight eyelet sections in colour A (Archangel).
Switch to colour D (neutral) and work 1 row (increase row).
Work short rows as follows:
Purl 6, slip 6, turn.
Wrap the first stitch on the right needle with the working yarn and return wrapped stitch to right needle (it is not worked), making sure not to pull the working yarn too tight. K12, securing yarn float you work first 6 sts. (*See description below if needed.)
Purl 18, slip 6, turn.
Wrap the first stitch on the right needle with the working yarn, K24, securing yarn float over first 6 sts.
Continue in this manner working 6 additional sts on every row, making sure to do eyelet rows as each section reaches 6 rows high.
Once you have worked across all stitches, work straight for one eyelet section. You will work across all stitches each row but you will still have to do the eyelet pattern by section. You will not be able to do an eyelet row across all sts.

Switch to colour B (Azules) and work short rows the same as neutral section.
Once you are working all stitches with B, continue working all stitches for 4 eyelet sections.
At some point in this colour, you will have to start working the last increase row, section by section.
For each section of 6 sts, when you work the eyelet row, work (K1, YO) 3 times to increase to 12 sts in that section.
For short rows, you will now have to work an additional 12 sts on each row. Note that in the same row, you will be working 6-st sections and 12-st sections. I suggest judicial use of markers!

Switch to colour D.
Work short rows as above but make sure to start on the skinny side of the previous stripes so that you begin to balance the shawl's shape.
Continue increase sections as before.
Once you are working all stitches with D, continue working all stitches for one eyelet section.

Switch to colour C (Lavanda) and work short rows as above, starting at the same edge as previous section.
Since the increase row is complete, each section is 12 sts.
Once you are working all stitches with C, you should be "caught up" with the short rows so that each eyelet row can now be made across one row.
Work even for 4 eyelet sections or to desired length.
After final eyelet row, work three rows.
Bind off.

For hem, fold on final eyelet row and stitch bind off edge to back of shawl.

Weave in ends.
Block.
_________________
*Securing yarn float:
Work 1 st as normal; insert needle for next st, put yarn float over tip of right needle, work next st, passing working yarn under yarn float as you make stitch. Repeat.
Depending on yarn and project, you can secure yarn float every 2nd, 3rd, or 4th st as needed. I chose every 2nd stitch for this project so the float would be picked up above eyelets and not be visible.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Squam 2017

I'm starting to feel like an old hand at the Squam thing. But the trick is not to expect the same thing every time you go. Some events do happen each session but the experience is never the same.

People
The same: People are open and friendly and caring. They value trying things just for the experience, whether you're good at them or not. They value being creative, making things by hand, and accepting that some things take a long time.

Different: The first year I went, I made fast friends with my roommate and we had a good time together. We didn't stick to ourselves, but were usually together in changing larger groups for meals, evening knit time, etc.

The second year I went, my roomie and I got along and would walk to events together if it worked out, but didn't usually eat together and didn't hang out together during free time. At meal times, I would invite myself to sit with someone alone at a table and we would talk about our classes and such. (And invariably, more people would join us.)

This year I went with my mom and we stayed in a cabin with only five of us. I was with Mom most of the time we weren't in class (we did go off and do our own thing occasionally) and we ate every meal with our cabinmates at the same table.

All good but all very different.


House of Tudor residents. There was another mother/daughter
pair with us.

Classes
The same: I take classes in things that I think I will enjoy but that I probably wouldn't do at home. I like the luxury of someone else getting all of the supplies and setting them out for me. (And besides my work space, I don't have to clean up either!)

Classes are hard work. I take them seriously and try to get as much as I can out of them. Making so many decisions about something you're learning to do is exhausting. As is confronting the voices in your head that tell you it's no good or you can't do it.

Different: My first year, I took painting and weaving classes and they were playful explorations in each craft. My second year, I took the altered book and embroidery classes. The projects in those were both more personal; they definitely took more energy.

This year I would say I had one of each. In the Ribbons in the Sky class, I explored the technique with a smaller sampler project. Nothing I really thought would be a final work. But it was fun to do and my mind reeled with other possibilities.

In the Layers of our Landscape class, I chose a personal subject matter and was hoping for a final piece. After taking it home and looking at it more, I'm pretty sure it's only a "study". If I want one I'm happy with or think is nice enough to display, I'm going to have to try again.
The teacher, Amanda McCavour, is examining/admiring the
piece before it is transformed by a bath...
Dissolving the stabilizer when the piece was done--it's the
final reveal!
Although the class description talked about a
scarf-like object, most of us went in different
directions with our pieces. (Partly because we
realized time was going to be a constraint.)
My piece.
The work of some classmates.
Another piece from a classmate.
Yarn Bombing
The same: Every year I've been there, two people go crazy with yarn bombing the entire camp. There are pompoms hanging every where, little yarn flowers, garlands of fabric strips, etc. And, of course, the canoe cover.

Different: This year they took it one step further and actually had a class on yarn bombing! (That is, "yarn sculptures created for public display".)

Have you noticed? Wings are everywhere.
From the yarn bombing class.
(Sorry--I didn't get the title and artist's name.)
"Splish Splash" by Megan Cox
"Turtle King" by Michele Zunker
Left (toadstole): unknown
Center (dog): "Stopping to Smell the Roses" by @peacockaren
Right (flowers): "!Always Smell Flowers!" by Sharon Noblez
Accommodations and Environs
The same: The camp is magical. The cabins. The lake. The rocky paths through the woods. Squam Art Workshops is the only event at the camp so we really get the feeling of being in our own world. (I am loath to disturb that feeling with connections to the outside world!)

Different: I've been in three different cabins. They are all wonderful, but not the same. This year the cabin was new or newly renovated. All the wood was new (which means, walls, ceiling, floors, everything) and that meant the windows worked easily, the door latches lined up and the floors didn't squeak. But the older cabins I've been in convey the memory of countless people spending "endless" summers there.

The cabin location also affects your stay. The first year I was in a cabin far from the dining hall (and everything else). So you had to plan what was going in your bag and bring everything you needed for class with you. Last time and this year, I was in cabins that were much closer and I could stop by the cabin after a meal to get ready for class or drop something off after class on the way to dinner. Very easy, but you don't get to enjoy a long walk to the cabin in the evening or get that feeling of being remote.

Some people request a certain cabin (or, worse still, the same cabin) but I prefer to leave it to luck. (That is, Elizabeth's wise judgment.)

And of course the weather is changeable. Changeable from day to day even. I don't have specifics but I have had some rainy days and very chilly nights in previous years. This year, although I heard some complaining  (don't you always?), I thought it was about perfect. Apparently it was miserable and raining hard on Monday and Tuesday, but when we arrived on Wednesday it was sunny and it stayed mostly sunny the rest of the week. Each day got warmer and by Saturday it was warm enough that I went for my first swim in Squam Lake. (It felt so good!) Sunday was getting too warm, but by then we were leaving.






Ents live in the woods.





Extras
The same: Although Friday morning and Saturday afternoon are unscheduled time, there are usually "extras" offered as an option. Usually an hour-long demonstration on a specific technique or idea. I go if I'm interested in the topic and that has meant I go to most of them.

The time can also be used for hiking, swimming, renting a canoe, napping, etc.

Or, you know, knitting, reading, and more knitting. Especially knitting on the dock. (Pretty much a cliche at Squam.)

Different: This year there were fewer options and I was less interested in most of them. And even the one that I was interested in, I remembered too late and went after the instruction had been given. (I took a look around at what they were doing, picked out some supplies, and then brought it all back to my cabin to do there!)

This meant there was more time for hiking, swimming, reading, and knitting. Friday morning and Saturday afternoon seemed to last forever in the most wonderful way!

The first year, I heard there were hiking trails up the mountain that would give you a good view. I didn't even go so far as to put my shoes on though. (I think that was the rainy year.)

Last time, I went looking for the trails and never found them! I walked a lot of paths though the camp and along the main road which was nice enough, but didn't find the trails.

This year, however, Mom and I went out exploring with a new understanding of the map and found our way to the trails on Friday morning. We had been warned off of one trail because part of it was more rock climbing than hiking, but the one we were on was pretty steep too! We never did make it to the top, but we enjoyed the hike and "getting out there". The bugs were pretty bad this year so that did put a little damper on the fun.

When we got back, Mom went straight down to the lake, but I was not at all tempted to go in with her. She ended up sitting on the dock with her feet in the water talking to a cabinmate and never did go in! Meanwhile, I was knitting in the heavenly screened in porch.

Saturday afternoon, however, we both made it in. I had gone for a walk on my own and came back very warm. Once I was in, Mom had to join me! And then there were still hours to go until we had to go to dinner.
Mom with her feet in the lake.

Yes, the camera is straight.


The pin I made in the class I didn't attend.
Fresh out of the lake. #wethairdontcare
Art Fair
The same: Wonderful vendors. Beautiful products. Everyone's excitement. And a special knitted item to wear. (The first year it was my lace coat. Last time it was the Steven West Enchanted Mesa design. This year it was the striped Vogue dress--good thing it turned a lot warmer that day!)

The ice lights. The hot crowded atmosphere inside. One last chance for conversations with teachers, vendors, and fellow Squammies that I've gotten to know.

Different: Hmmm...I was going to say how much I spend, but I think it's "a lot" every year! :) The first year I studied the vendor's website to see who would be there and what I might find. Last time I couldn't find it on the website so I didn't get a preview. It's more like an adventure, but the environment is so busy and bustling, I would rather have an idea ahead of time.

This year I found the vendors list on the website the day I was leaving. I had time to look at the vendor list and click through to most of their websites. I basically rule out buying yarn and that does help to simplify things. When I got to the sale, I recognized the items that I was interested in buying from the websites and was able to make pretty quick and easy decisions about whether to buy it. (Mostly the answer was "yes"!)
Dressed for the party.
Waiting to get in.

After I got back from the Art Fair, my mother
and cabinmates said I had a "twin" at the fair
and told me to go back for the picture.
I did as I was told.

Personal recommendations:
Colleen Attara Studio - Colleen is the instructor for the altered book class and her shop offers paper products based on her designs. She also specializes in cut out words in her own handwriting--inspiring words that she has in stock or custom ordered with what you want. (I'm a sucker for great handwriting.) I wasn't going to get any words, but then Mom reminded me that one of the phrases was something my Oma would say: "be bold".
Jessica Mixer - I bought one of her little bird pendants two years ago and my sister wanted one so bad, I had to buy her one this year. (Of course I should have done it then because her prices went up!) I also found a darling little rooster pendant for my mom.
LeatherWoolLinen - I've been using the leather purse I got two years ago ("the Jane") non-stop and it's still gorgeous and I still love it.
Mona Enamel - I like enamel jewelry (I was wearing red enamel earrings that night already!) and I've been wanting a lariat style necklace. I found one.  :)
Red Staggerwing - I fell for the weekend bag (in "mustard dot" if you're looking around the shop) but all of their stuff was gorgeous.

Coming Home
The same: The feeling of having had a great experience. The wonder at having to cook your own food.

Different: I learned after the first year to at least give myself a day's cushion before going back to work. I know the first year, I was much more excited and talkative about the event when I got back. This year I find it harder to talk about--maybe just because there's not really anything new to say. Maybe just because I'm so tired out! I think I could use another afternoon of knitting on the dock.
View from a plane flying over water.

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