Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Blooming Brioche KAL - Stages 1 and 2

Knitting has continued on the Blooming Brioche shawl. Each "stage" of the knit-along is being released on a Thursday.

It's been a lot of knitting and I am enjoying the brioche and the new-to-me techniques of decreasing and increasing stitches to create the flowing pattern on the front.

Depression has grounded me to the couch recently and sometimes I can't even knit, but a lot of the time I have been able to at least work on this project.

I decided to go with the green and red combination.
It was softer with more drape than the red and black, and my sister assured me it did not look like Christmas. BTW, I just got this comment on one of my Instagram posts: "that screams Christmas !" Hmmm....

I decided to ravel the swatch to use the yarn again. (Some people keep their swatch for reference during the project - I usually don't bother.) I'm glad I did. You can see in the picture below how much of the red bled onto the green during the soaking:
The little (lower) one is from the swatch.
I wanted a bright vibrant green in my shawl, so I set about rinsing the red yarn. It turned the water of several rinses vivid red so I tried a vinegar rinse. (Vinegar helps dyes to set.) The water came out almost clean and so did the next rinse. But the following rinse (just to be sure) was bright red again. Apparently the yarn had enough vinegar in it going into the first rinse that it still had an effect.

So I did another vinegar rinse but heated the yarn. Heat and vinegar should really do the trick. But I got the same result: rinse 1 was clear; rinse 2 had lots and lots of red in the dye. I was out of ideas but still wanted to use the yarn, so I decided I will just have to always rinse the shawl in vinegar water. How's that for cutting the Gordian knot?

The designer (Xandy Peters) has organized the pattern into different sections within each stage. The first was the "roots", i.e. the cast on:
It's a simple but brilliant cast on that gives a completely smooth beginning to the pattern -- a bunch of stitches coming from one point. The red is bordered by a green selvage all the way around. It really is great.

Next was short section of seeds:
And then the bulbs. Here I have the first repeat of the bulbs done:
The back, if you're curious:
Although the back is neat and has an interesting pattern of its own, the shawl is not reversible in the sense that the front and the back are the same.

And now all three repeats of the bulbs are finished:
I'm making the smaller version of the shawl, or I would have had more bulb repeats to do.

That was the end of Stage 1. I finished it the day that Stage 2 was released so I was not feeling very much behind the knit-along.

The first section of Stage 2 was the sprouts. You can just see the first leaf shapes in the picture below:
Here the sprouts and the next section of leaves are done:
And finally the "vines" are done as well and that is the end of Stage 2:
I've had to tink back several times as I missed some part of the pattern. Once time I took back a couple rows for something I thought was a mistake. I realized it wasn't a mistake but I had missed something on the following row so all my tinking was not a waste.

There are parts of the pattern done on the wrong side and it was a real exercise of trust to just follow the chart stitch by stitch without being able to see the pattern on the front. One of the reasons I like using charts is that you can see the pattern or design develop and can see how the row I'm doing builds on and fits with the previous rows. I couldn't do that from the wrong side in brioche and found myself often peaking over to the other side to make sure things were "ok". I did get a little better at working from the wrong side as I went.

The shawl is definitely growing in size. The stitches fill up my 40" needle cable and the shawl makes a half circle shape:
In the next pic you can see the various stages of the pattern and how they each develop from the previous:
I'd like to knit a rectangle shape from this pattern at some point because I think it shows the development of the pattern more clearly than the half circle shape. That is what I really love about the pattern.

Stage 3 is to be released tomorrow. (Yes, even though it's Thanksgiving!) I am ready. :)

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