Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunshine Scarf

When I finished the 10 scarves in the Forest Scarves series, I was searching around for another theme. We had this wonderful hand dyed Fantastic Knitting Zephyr lace weight yarn and a little voice inside of me kept saying, "light". Lace, of course, needs light to look it's best. Different sources of light create different effects, think of candlelight, moonlight, sunlight....and so on. That was it! I decided that I wanted to explore the idea of light and lace.

Sunshine wasn't the first scarf that I designed in the series, but it is one of my favourites!

I knew that I wanted a design that looked a lot like a prism. Prisms reflect sunlight in magical ways. I also love the way the sun streams down and then shatters into tiny sparkles when it hits the earth. I wanted to capture these images in lace.

There were a few stitches, which when combined together looked a lot like a prism. I added a few interim stitches to separate the sunbeams, then increased for the ruffle. I chose an open mesh stitch for this finish to suggest the sunlight breaking into a million pieces on contact with the earth - don't we always want to catch sunbeams, elusive though they are! Here's your chance! Knit Sunshine Scarf!

This scarf begins with a provisional cast on at the centre back and then the lace is worked down to the ruffle at each end, much like the sun streams down from the sky.

Lace is light, life, energy and sunbeams!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Periwinkle Scarf

In my original two-design publication, Periwinkle was called Myrtle - it sounded better with Moss, as Moss and Myrtle. However as a scarf design on its own - Periwinkle sounds better, I think. Anyway, what is in a name? It is the same lovely plant with bluey-purple flowers - "periwinkle blue" is a colour that runs through songs and stories and Myrtle is the old world variant immortalized by the Ancient Greeks.

Myrtle means love - everlasting love, as in marriage and is often used in Europe to decorate churches for weddings. I love the concept of going into nature and gathering up bits and pieces to bring indoors and enjoy. The naturalists would hate me and I don't disturb the forest - I pick what I can from my crowded garden.

In Periwinkle, I tried to capture the masses of leaves shielding shy blue flowers. Carpets of Myrtle are very lacey and intricate - stabilizing this growth habit in lace repeats was a challenge!
Periwinkle is knit from the bottom cast-on edge to the centre in two sections and then joined together with a three-needle bind-off or grafted. This scarf was knit in Fantastic Knitting Zephyr lace weight in Violet - Enjoy!

Moss Scarf

I was on a roll!! The forest scarf series might never end!! I had the lacey canopy of trees and now I needed the carpets!! The mosses and ground covers that cushion the foot and soften the rock. First there was Moss Scarf. This project needed a very simple stitch. It had to be dense like a blanket of moss and yet lacey enough to suggest the small flowers that sometimes appear on mosses.

I found a little knot stitch that allowed me to construct the scarf simply by casting on and casting off - how easy is that! - oh yes and to work some 75 repeats of the pattern in between.

I was also able to block dainty picots at both edges of the scarf and Eureka! a design for the most beginning of lace knitters - it really just gets you use to working with fine yarn.

My next challenge will be to create Lichen in lace - think of the possibilities.

Pine Scarf

To me Pine trees are not as tall as Fir trees, unless you want to argue that a Jack Pine is taller than a Douglas Fir - but I will leave that to the Arborists. The main stitch in Pine Scarf is from a stitch in one of Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries; but the stitch had patterning on the return row and I am a lazy knitter and like to have my "veg" time so I re-did the stitch with purl return rows and patterned knit rows. The pattern is actually called "Coral Pattern" - re-designed as a pine tree - nothing is really that far away!

In knitting the swatch I saw a Scotch Pine emerge. Scotch Pines are Christmas Trees - this would be perfect. Pine scarf is a triangular scarf knit from the top down and looks lovely under the collar of a blouse. It was knit in Fantastic Knitting Zephyr lace weight yarn in Juniper

I loved the pine motif so much that I have resolved to do another scarf or stole using it and beading it like a Christmas Tree - oh the whimsey of lace.

Fir Scarf

One thought lead to another and the more I imagined a forest the more I knew that I just had to add the tall canopy of trees that form the walls and roof - the supporting structure of the scene. There are many different types of evergreen trees in the Canadian Boreal forests, so I classified them simply as Pine and Fir.

Fir scarf is based on the repetition of a basic fir tree motif in three sizes. Evergreen forests have trees at every stage of growth from seedlings to very mature trees. I tried to capture these growth stages and the density of the trees in the pattern repeats.

The picots on the cast on edges were a nod to the lacey shapes of the firs and their delicate needle clusters. Fir was knit in Fantastic Knitting Zephyr lace weight in Jade. It begins with five separate picots which are then joined to work the main part of the scarf. The scarf is actually worked in two sections and then joined with a three-needle bind-off or grafted.
I just loved knitting the fir motif. It was like walking in the woods - needle exercises!!