Archive for the ‘Arabella’ Category

Apologies, etc.

January 8, 2011

My vow of getting better at posting here has gotten off to a rocky start. On my birthday, which was two days ago, I decided it would be fun to give something back, so I set up a few different Knitting Kninja related promotions on Ravelry. Did I then post here to let people know about that? No, I did not.

Basically, I noticed that the beginning of the year marks a spate of knitting resolutions among knitters, and saw many people adding one or another of my patterns to their queues in preparation to meet some goal in the coming year. The majority of these folks were part of a group wanting to knit 11 shawls in 2011. In response, I have two shawl related deals underway for the remainder of the month and one baby knitting deal. All of these deals are automatic when you check out, so no coupon code needed.

Deal 1: Buy Two Ladies, get $1 off Rosa. All three shawls for $15.50.

Deal 2: Purchase Clothilde or Arabella individually, get Beetle Tracks free.

Deal 3: Buy Surtsey, get Paulette free. Again, just add Paulette to your cart and it will be automatically discounted.

NOTE: Deal 2 originally read that you could buy ANY individual shawl and get Beetle Tracks free. However, including Rosa in that promotion was causing the first deal not to work, so I changed the parameters. If you’d like to purchase Rosa individually and get a free copy of Beetle Tracks, please email me or leave a comment here, on Twitter, Facebook, or Ravelry, and I will try to manually get the pattern to you as soon as possible. More apologies for the trouble this entails.

Two Ladies

March 9, 2010

Two Ladies is a bundled package of both Clothilde and Arabella.  Both shawl patterns are sold separately for $6.50 each.  You can purchase them together as Two Ladies for $10, and you will receive both PDFs for download.

Birthday knit, mitts, and Stitches

February 25, 2010

Say that three times fast!

My little sister’s birthday was yesterday.  I had previewed her birthday present on here, but hadn’t dared show a finished picture in case she happened along and I ruined the surprise!  (Which is my wont, anyway.  I get so excited about gifts that I bubble and giggle and give everything away right then and there.)  The present was, of course, a Liesl, and seriously, women in my life, look out, because this is just such a fun, fast pattern that I think it’s going to be my go-to gift for a while.

Erin wears a lot of black, which looks great with her coloring, and I wanted to make her a fun and bright spring cardigan to wear over her black wardrobe.  I knew it had to be bright magenta, but bright magenta turns out not to be that easily come by.  Apparently the world is not clamoring for crazyhappyfuntimes yarn of wackiness.   Happy for me, I stumbled along the Blue Moon website and found the Backstabber colorway.  The photos on the Blue Moon site are a little washed out, but Flickr is a great resource in this respect.  Backstabber it was.

The pattern is fast and easy and awesome, and I’ve already talked about that here, so I want to talk a little about the yarn.  The yarn is Luscious Single Silk (LSS), and it’s a single ply silk/merino blend.  It’s very, very soft, and you get 500 yards to a skein, which makes it a great deal.  I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I think I’ll use it again, but I think it’s worth noting that there are some problems with this yarn. Or rather, not so much problems as potentially problematic characteristics.

The Sundara Aran Silky Merino (ASM) I used for my own Liesl was also a worsted weight silk/merino blend.  Since I used both these yarns for the same pattern in quick succession, it was difficult not to compare them, although the Sundara costs more than twice as much.  It’s like comparing apples to apples that were grown by monks and lovingly sprinkled with the tears of orphans each morning so that they can charge you $5 an apple at the store.  Or something.  But the first difference I noticed was the color.  Although the LSS is bright and beautiful, it is not as saturated as the ASM.  There’s a different dye process, of course, and they’re not meant to look alike, but I had expected the yarn to look more saturated with color than it was.  (This doesn’t show up in the finished photos, really.  Check the side by side comparison shot below to see what I mean.  The colors are very different, but the LSS looks softer.)

Second, the yarn itself is different.  I don’t know how well it shows in the above photos, but the ASM is spun more tightly than the LSS.  I think this is pretty important with a single ply.  When I was knitting with the ASM, it felt pretty strong to me, and I never felt too worried that it was going to break, or that I was mistreating it.  The LSS, on the other hand, untwisted very easily, and as I was sewing in the ends, it actually separated and came apart.  I think the knit item is strong enough that it’s not a worry there, but it does look like it will show wear more quickly.  I think Liesl’s not likely to be worn in any harsh ways, so I’d use it again for another Liesl, but for a pullover or a mitt or anything that will undergo a lot of friction, this is a serious consideration.

I don’t know if this is the yarn or my skills and equipment, but in the winding there was an unusual amount of tangling.  I rewound from the cake, which is my usual solution when the first winding doesn’t go well, but even then it twisted and snaked and knotted and tangled, and there was a lot of rewinding by hand.  I am not sure why this happened, but it may be worth a mention.

With all of that, it’s a nice yarn, and I liked working with it!  I sound like I disliked it, but really, it’s gorgeous, inexpensive, and luxurious, and I’m glad it’s out there.  I do think, though, that it’s helpful to note potential problems for other knitters.  One more shot!

I’m almost done with my Azul mitts.  The pattern’s fast and easy and pretty, and while I thought of it as rather feminine, Mr. Kninja is angling to get the mitts for himself, so it may suit dudes as well as ladies.  (It may just be the color, though.  The Azul Profundo looks a lot like this color we both favor for vintage cars.)  It’s not an especially fleshed out pattern, so I wouldn’t recommend it to a knitter making mitts for the first time, but it’s a free pattern and it’s not going to be difficult to follow for anyone familiar with the process of knitting mitts.

Finally, my schedule for Stitches!  I’ll be there most of the day on Friday, wandering around the market, looking tall and probably bewildered.  If you see me, come over and say hi!  I may be there Saturday morning as well, depending on how my back feels after Friday.  So, so excited!

One last thing.  I’ll do a separate post on this shortly, and add a button to the sidebar, but if you like both Arabella and Clothilde, you can now purchase them together for a more than 20% discount.  Both shawls are available for $10 on Ravelry, under the name Two Ladies.  As I say, I’ll make them available here, too, shortly.

About Arabella

February 15, 2010

There’s always a story.  Arabella’s story began when I was reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (again) and began daydreaming about playing with the idea of fantasy and fashion.  The world of the novel is set during the Regency, but with an alternate history of Britain that allows for magic and fairies and other things that sound very silly when I write about them here, but are very well set in the novel.  Although she’s not as fleshed out as some of the other characters, I really like the character of Arabella Strange.  I began thinking about making a shawl for Arabella, something related to Regency fashion, but not really of it.  It’s far more likely a Regency woman would wear a shawl made of fabric than a knitted lace shawl – perhaps an Indian silk or or a cashmere print.  A lace shawl like this one wouldn’t really fulfill the purpose of keeping the wearer warm.  But it does make me think of the brugh – the mound of earth the fairies live in, dancing away beautifully, but without purpose.

When I pictured the shawl I wanted to make, it was pink.  I don’t wear pink, and don’t often like pink, but this shawl was definitely pink.  It was also a Faroese style shawl, which, as you can see, is not where I ended, but the color never changed.  The particular shade of pink was vividly in my head.  It was a soft, old fashioned pink, not a baby pink or a vivid pink, but a faded rose.  A Verb for Keeping Warm had just the right shade, Elephanta, a soft pink shot through with greys.  The second, lace weight shawl I wanted to make in a sharply different and more modern shade, but one that went with the lovely pink.  The right shade showed up when I was looking at madelinetosh yarns: Norway Spruce tosh lace.

So the colors were taken care of, but the lace kept evolving.  I started with a traditional Shetland fern lace and started playing with it, but while I came up with some interesting laces, none of them were quite what I’d had in mind.  The Turkish Rug lace over the body of the shawl is a far departure from the original fern lace, but it did come out of my experiments with the ferns.  (And I still want to use some of my more fern like laces for a stole or something.  Some were quite pretty, but not really right for this project.)

When the time finally came to cast on, I was reading a different book, Anthony Trollope’s The American Senator, which coincidentally also has an Arabella as a main character, this one an anti heroine with single minded determination to marry well, even if it means betraying her current fiancee.  I liked the bad Arabella – she’s sort of a Victorian Becky Sharp, but with more shades to her character than I think Becky got.  (I like Becky, too, though.  She puts that milksop Amelia all to shame.)  Trollope’s a lot of fun.  He might have personally felt ambivalent about women (and Americans, it might be added), but he has more full and interesting female characters than almost any other writer of the period.  (Interestingly, when he wrote an angel in the house character in Lily Dale, his readers adored her, but Trollope called her “somewhat of a female prig.”  I have to agree with him, and I like that he still allowed her character to grow in a later novel.) His Arabella is meant to be shown as a moral lesson, but it’s admitted throughout the book that she’s a smart, talented, capable woman who is driven to her moral deficiency by the circumstance of being a woman in a society that allows no outlet for her talents other than in marriage.  Most of the English characters in the book are indolent to the point of immobility, but nearly everything Arabella does is described in terms of work or exertion.  Basically, this was another fictional woman who deserved a really cool shawl, in my opinion.

Anyway, that’s where this shawl came from.  I kept making little connections over and over again, that may or may not have felt relevant to another mind, and somehow it all came together in a pink shawl and a green shawl, meant to be worn by modern women but inspired by fictional women of the past.


February 12, 2010

New shawl pattern, now available!

Arabella is a simple lace triangle shawl that looks a lot more complicated than it really is. Envisioned as a modern take on Regency fashion, this shawl adds a touch of dash and class to your wardrobe. Arabella was inspired by Arabella Strange, of the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, as well as far too many Masterpiece Theater viewings over the winter! Knit in either fingering or lace weight yarn, this is a modular pattern that can be easily adjusted to fit the yarn or the size desired. By altering the number of repeats, you can change the size and look. There are several edging options included with the pattern, so you can pick the one that suits your yarn and taste. Use your favorite solid or semi solid yarn to show off the lace pattern to maximum effect. The pattern includes instructions for creating a small shawlette or scarf as well. Use written instructions or charts to meet your own comfort level.

Small: 56 inches wide, 24 inches long
Large: 76 inches wide, 32 inches long


  • 400 yds fingering weight yarn for size Small Shown in A Verb for Keeping Warm Creating 100% superwash merino, 385 yds per 100g skein, 1 skein used, color: Elephanta
    Note: I used only one skein for my small sized shawl,
    but I’d advise buying an extra skein for security, as I had only yards left at the end.
  • 665 yds lace weight yarn for size Large Shown in Madelinetosh Tosh Lace 100% superwash merino, 950 yds per 4 oz skein, 1 skein used, color: Norway Spruce
  • 1 U.S. size 6 (4 mm) circular needle 24 inches or longer for size Small
  • 1 U.S. size 3 (3.25 mm) circular needle 24 inches or longer for size Large
  • stitch marker (optional)
  • tapestry needle

Small: 22 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette on size 6 needles after blocking
Large: 25 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in stockinette on size 3 needles after blocking

Buy it now for U.S.$6.50!


February 2, 2010

Arabella, coming soon.

I never remember about lifelines

January 27, 2010

Which is why I’m going to have to pick back about four rows of laceweight yarn a stitch at a time, when I’m almost done with a large triangle shawl.  Oy. It’s also because the charts that looked awesome when they were just charts are not quite as awesome when they’re the edging to my shawl.  Back to the drawing board Excel.

Other than that, things are sailing along pretty smoothly on the knitting front.  On the domestic front, there’s been a little turmoil related to math homework (not mine) and I have laryngitis.  But I also have this big-ass cake of yarn, so life’s not all bad.

Items of note

January 20, 2010

* If you haven’t checked it out yet, do go look at Help for Haiti patterns on Ravelry.  This is a great time to buy patterns you’ve been wanting, when a percentage of sales will go to relief in Haiti.

* One of my friends, Marzipan, started a blog recently, and it is hilarious.  It’s great slice of life stuff, and I’m already envying certain word choices.  Read, enjoy!

* Apparently, WordPress is now publishing my emails when I respond to comments on this blog.  I need to figure out how to turn that off, as I sometimes dither on quite a lot.

* There’s a really cool giant knitted rock on display at London’s Tate Gallery right now, by artist Andy Holden.  Apparently, when Holden was 12, he visited Egypt with his family and while there, he unthinkingly broke a chunk of rock off the side of the Great Pyramid in Giza.  Only when he was back home did he learn that what he’d done was against Egypt’s laws.  Andy later returned the rock to the place he found it but I think this piece really emphasizes the way guilt can make things loom large in our lives, and the knitting actually makes a very effective texture.

* I’m getting close to finishing the second Arabella sample.  In the meantime, here’s a bit of a teaser: a photograph of the unblocked first sample, made from the lovely AVFKW Creating that I bought with this in mind.