Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Lonely Tree Blues

When I was in Scotland back in May, I found this lovely soft blue yarn. I'd been thinking about knitting up an infinity scarf for ages but I hadn't found the right yarn until then. Rowan Creative Worsted, it was soft, fluffy, and with 25% alpaca, I knew it was going to be warm. I couldn't wait to get it home and start.

Ravelry project page

When I got it home, I couldn't settle on how to go about knitting up an infinity scarf. It was before I'd joined Ravelry and I hadn't really found a pattern in a knitting book, but I also hadn't really looked that hard for one. I put it aside to think on later. I'd get an idea in my head and cast on thinking I'd finally figured it out, only to be frustrated with it and frog the whole thing later. I must have started four or five times, and if I had to cast on 200 or more stitches one more time I think I might have lost it.

Finally one day while I was browsing through the patterns on Ravelry, I came across The Lonely Tree Shawl. I'd only ever attempted one other lace pattern on a hat, but it was fun, and the blue yarn would be okay with the pattern so I thought why not?

half way through
I know the designer recommends you have some experience with lace patterns, but even someone like me, who has very little was able to follow the pattern. It was a blast to knit. My only dislike was that I wasn't able to carry it around easily, but it was a lack of faith on my part. I didn't want to be stopped mid row and lose my place.

It was a super quick knit. I had a lot of fun with it, even when my mother kept moving my pattern keeper and I had to keep trying to figure out where I was in the lace charts. I was really surprised with how it blocked. Washing was simple. Blocking wasn't complicated; it just took time and patience. I've thought several times about buying blocking wires to make it easier, but I'll wait and see how often I knit lace. I used cotton twine in place of wires which allowed for a good deal of flexibility in maneuvering it into shape.

you can see the white strings 
This was the first thing I've really blocked into shape, and I have to say I was amazed at how it stretched. It practically doubled in size. You can see in the picture from half way through that the 'leaves' of the pattern curled in on themselves, and in the others, how they really opened up. I have enough yarn left over that I might be able to get a pair of small arm warmers out of it with a bit of luck.

all pinned and waiting to dry
I've worn this almost nonstop since I blocked it. The yarn is a bit itchy at first (I have super-sensitive skin), but it's either softer with wear, or I've stopped noticing. It's really warm both as a scarf or as a shawl, even just tossed over your shoulders for a quick nap while curled up in a chair. There's even a bulkier version called the The Lonely Winter Tree Shawl. I'm looking forward to knitting it in Rowan Cocoon in a pale lavender color once the yarn comes in through the post.

What have new thing have you tried lately?

As a reminder, if you'd like to talk with me directly about anything, you can send me a message here, or through email at teacupsandradios(at)gmail(dot)com .

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