You folks are the best! So many great suggestions in the comments on my last post for That Which “Shawl” Be Next On My Needles. (Heh) Your suggestions gave me a great excuse to go wandering around the Ravelry pattern database. (It is so easy to blame those who are not in the room, isn’t it?)
Thus, one day, I innocently opened the Rav pattern library to search out some of your suggestions…and that was my first and stupidest mistake. That database is one of the most dangerous places on earth. It grabs you with its amigurimi-shaped claws, and forces you to spend hours and hours wandering its maze of Entrancing Things To Knit (or Crochet, if that is your particular drug-of-choice).
Slideshow! I’ve never used a slideshow before! Coooool-i-o!
Cream/grey mittens on black background: villiputti’s prototype for Jatuli-Lapaset
Rust labyrinth panel: Walls of Troy / Chartres Cathedral Maze by Woolly Thoughts
Cream/burgundy mittens on white background: villiputti’s updated Jatuli, with pattern
Many a knitter has emerged from the clutches of the Library‘s labyrinthine claws stumbling and gaunt, hair in a tangle, sheep slippers on backwards/on the wrong feet, their cold, sticky, empty coffee cup in one hand—a hand that is piteously reaching forward as a trembling voice croaks out a plea for More Coffee, Please.
I have learned to set a timer.
That, or I know that it is only a matter of a few hours before I am encircled by Five Very Hungry Felines, felines who are not above knocking every single object off every flat surface in the house in order to get my attention and my acknowledgement that The Gushy Food Must Appear Now.
Also, my bladder continues to insist that I tend to its needs and desires. What an uppity organ indeed.
I truly do blame the pattern library for the fact that this post is
ten eleven days late. I wrote the first part on May 31, then stopped to find “just a few pattern photos in Rav”…and then I wasn’t heard from for days. With a nod to said uppity organ named above, I feel it is only right that I pass on a bit of important advice.
Hints for a successful journey through the Library
Before entering any keywords into that wee, innocent-looking Ravelry pattern search box:
And get comfortable. Maybe even make sure you have food and water nearby, and that the kids, the cats, and the hamsters are being looked after by someone who is not you.
Even Better: Don’t Get Lost in the Library.
Just in case, however: Be Prepared.
Many of the patterns you suggested were those with all sorts of amusing shapes, shapes created by short rows, and sometimes, augmented with gradient yarns. The keywords “Short Rows” plus “Gradient Yarns”, just so you know, equal one very wide, very deep, completely endless Black Hole of Wonderful Things to Make.
I realized that I was going to be a bit busy for the next few days. That is when I remembered that it is always a good idea to Pee First before embarking on any adventure.
Anyway. I voluntarily (and happily) stepped into the Minotaur’s lair, wandering the far corners of Rav, discovering oodles (“oodles”! Where does this girl get her vocabulary, you ask…) of neckpieces, shawlettes, wraps, and even skirts and tops featuring gradients and short-rows.
From what I saw, the best of them, or at least the most intriguing patterns for me, were those which combined short-row knitting with the use of yarn dyed in gradients (or other sorts of colour progressions, such as ombres).
Fun Colour Factoid: A gradient is a series of colours arranged according to their position on the colour wheel, where the series begins with one colour, and then gradually blends through steps on the wheel until it ends with a different colour entirely. An ombre is a series of tints/shades of the same colour, going from dark to light hues, or light to dark. Examples: Crescent Bay, by Anniken Allis, is an interesting rainbow shawl–a rainbow is one example of a gradient. Twin Leaf Crescent, by Michele Berstein, demonstrates an ombre effect.
The longer I looked and clicked, the deeper into that particular rabbit hole I descended.
It is true, in fact, that the further you wander into the pages and pages of search results, the more complex and off-the-beaten-path patterns you will find, mixed in with the dozens of this-looks-familiar patterns. Try searching for “gradient shawl” and, once the results pop up, hop onto page 12-13 or thereabouts. That’s where the fun stuff really starts showing up. I found Rigoles (photo above) on page 19, near the bottom.
My own adventures in colourful short rows
I have completed one short-row, gradient-yarn project, Spectra by Stephen West.
I really enjoyed making it, even if it did take forever. On the positive side, my naturopath was so enamoured of it that he offered to buy it right off my shoulders. When I declined, he offered to pay me to make him another one. He even agreed to my (rather high) price. Unfortunately, lack of time on my part meant Dr. Fashionable never got his scarf. (He had GREAT socks, not handmade, of course, but still, GREAT SOCKS.)
I have another short-row project that has been on the needles for quite some time now: Leftie, by Martina Behm, whose designs many of you recommended. Leftie’s been in the meditation pond for more than a year; I can’t quite figure out why. I love the colors I chose, I love the yarn. Perhaps my brain is just in a different space now then when I wound all those cute wee colorful balls. Hm. It is pretty, and not very hard, and I am more than halfway done with it…
Despite my failure-to-complete my poor Leftie, I was intrigued again by the short-row technique.
I am not one to fool myself: with respect to knitting, I am a Pefectionist. If I tried to get a gradient effect juuuuusst riiiigghhtt at this point in my life, it would consume far too many brain cells for gorgeous summer days.
I decided to begin at the beginning (shock and awe!), and try a project where there was no elaborate colour shift going on; where the short-rows were mostly there to create interesting shapes. I chose Wingspan, also by the clever Martina Behm.
I like Wingspan’s simplicity and its quirky shape; I also like that I could, if I chose to, make several, using different styles of yarn (gradient, ombre, pooling, etc) and experiment with the different effects caused by different styles.
I am going to stop right there for today, mostly because I made a discovery during my lovely time strolling through the labyrinth that is the Ravelry pattern library:
I discovered that knitters on the other side of the pond (and north a bit) were playing with short-rows in ways that truly ought not to be allowed.
I will share some of those discoveries next time.
I can say this with some surety, as I have already written half the post, and have collected the photos to go in it.
A bit of edit-and-polish, and then it shall be all yours to enjoy.
Namasté, kind readers.