family · fibre preparation · handspun · knitting · knitting with handspun · shawl · yarn

third annual Christmas shawl

This holiday season has been an excuse for me to work on my third annual Christmas shawl. My Christmas shawls (here and here) are the result of deciding a few years ago that I was no longer going to knit large volumes of Christmas gifts and instead would use the season to focus on reflecting and meditating. The shawls have evolved into quiet time to think about my family and friends who are near and dear to my heart with the added bonus of having something new to wear on Christmas Eve and Day.

This year, however, I was a little derailed by holidays plans, as well as changing my mind about the pattern I was going to knit. I started with the lovely Canopy shawl by Melody, of the Mandarine’s YouTube Podcast, but quickly realised it was wrong for this yarn. I actually have some fibre in my stash that I have ear-marked for a Canopy instead.

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Natural & Undyed :: 85% BFL & 15% Alpaca

One of my rules about my Christmas shawl for 2015 was that the yarn had to be handspun and spun within this year (this year’s yarn was spun during Spinzilla 2015). While I am unsure whether I am going to leave this shawl in its creamy, undyed state, the natural quality of the yarn left me wanting to showcase a slightly complicated but rustic pattern that only cable and lace can create.

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Miles and miles of chart repeats for the Snoqualmie Valley Shawl.

 

Over the weekend I happened to have a very long train trip by myself, which provided almost 5 hours of uninterrupted knitting time. I made fantastic progress on my shawl! I also felt very Shackleton-ish* as I travelled in the snow and ice!

*For those of you who know about or are participating in the Shackleton CAL over on the FiberTrek TV group, this shawl is my primary entry for that event. Yes, I have a second but it is still being spun and I’ve chatted at length about it on the videocast.

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Two ply yarn is perfect of lace work due to the “flat” nature of the yarn, versus a round 3-ply, perfect for cables and stitch definition.

 

In the end, I settled on a beautiful and rustic shawl pattern by Annie Rowden called the Snoqualmie Valley Shawl, which was originally a mystery KAL to showcase a new yarn. The interesting cable and lace chart keeps the knitting interesting. The traditional 2-ply yarn helps the lace within the cables to stand out — it will block out beautifully. I am very tempted to dye this with beautiful purple, namely natural Logwood but I am also tempted to leave it as is!

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The shawl starts with a provisional cast-on.

 

The semi-woolen nature of this handspun (short forward draft as follows :: Pinch, draft forward, let it go, repeat) leaves the surface of the fabric slightly fuzzy without taking away from the cables and lace. Due to the alpaca content, this shawl is going to be very warm. I can’t wait! It will be a wonderful layering piece.

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Norah and I out in the fields, enjoying the intense sunshine and cold.

 

While I have my evenings this week to knit like the wind, I have been spending my days surrounded by loved ones and walking miles. I pray this finds you enjoying some quiet and working on something absolutely wonderful as well.

-Rachel

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