Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunlight on the Forest Floor

Over the past few years, I've been exploring shawl construction.  I think I've had this strong urge to try every possible way to make a shawl, though I'm sure I'll never quite accomplish that.  I'm so fascinated by knitting and how many ways there are to do things that I want to experience as many as I can.  (Here are a few of my other shawls.)

Sunlight on the Forest Floor is a crescent shawl that starts by working a long panel of lace edging.  Then stitches are picked up for the body of the shawl and the crescent shape is created using short row shaping.  I chose to finish it with an I-cord bind off because I love the clean finish this gives.  Because it’s worked in Stockinette stitch, the I-cord bind off also allows the edge to roll gently, revealing the fetching wrong side of the work.  The effect is elegant and sweet, but if you prefer a flatter edge, you could always work an inch or so of garter stitch and a regular bind off instead.

While knitters could work this shawl up in any kind of sport or heavy fingering weight yarn, Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool is special.  I designed this shawl to work perfectly with it, so that each time the color changes, it works out to be just about a single lace pattern repeat.  The subtle shift in color creates the impression of light and shadows on a leafy background.  This impression struck me while I was blocking the shawl and I decided I had to call it Sunlight on the Forest Floor even though it’s an unusually long name.  

Since the body of the shawl is worked perpendicular to the lace edging, the stripes go the other way, giving a contrast that makes both the body of the shawl and the edging pop.  And the BFL fiber content of the yarn is soft, but woolly and crunchy, with beautiful stitch definition and a light, airy drape.  (Check out the other colors of Dyed in the Wool too - there's the perfect gray/gold, Pussy Willow that I used for my Pussywillow Mitts, along with some stunning jewel tones and gorgeously subtle earth tones.)  

This piece was bound to relate to something woodsy.  Just after I received it in the mail, I went for a long bike ride on the Cowichan Valley Trail and saw all the colors of July July in one snapshot.

As much as I adore the Spincycle Dyed in the Wool for this shawl, most of my testers chose to work their shawls up in solid colors, and I’d love to see one with contrasting lace edging and body.   I’m thinking a deep charcoal gray edging and a soft sweatshirt gray body, or maybe a shocking neon edging!  I used about a skein of the Spincycle Dyed in the Wool for the edging, so you’d need about 200 yd/183 m for the edging, and about 330 yd/302 m for the body.

This is a shawl that’s wide open to modification.  For a different wingspan, just work more or fewer lace repeats and pick up a coordinating number of stitches.  For a deeper, more triangular shape, work fewer stitches in between the short rows.  For a super-squishy shawl body, try working it up in garter stitch instead of Stockinette.  

Lace pattern given in charted and written instructions.

Finished Measurements
Wingspan: 63.75 in/162 cm

530 yd/485 m sport weight yarn

Shown in Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool (100% Wool; 200 yd/183 m per 75g skein)
Color: July July; 3 skeins

Blocked Gauge 
Gauge measurement should be taken after blocking. 
16 sts/28 rows = 4 in/10 cm in Stockinette stitch
16 sts/24 rows = 4 in/10 cm in Lace Edging Pattern

Needles & Notions 
Needle Sizes are recommendations only. Always use needle size necessary to obtain gauge.

US #5/3.75 mm needle

place markers
tapestry needle 
blocking pins
blocking wires (optional)

lace using charted or written instructions, picking up stitches, short row shaping, I-cord bind off

To buy the pattern:
See it on my website
See it on Ravelry

I'm really excited to be returning to Tolt Yarn and Wool next weekend!  I'll have a trunk show with lots of samples (including Sunlight on the Forest Floor), I'll be teaching two classes, and there will be a party to celebrate the completion of the Tolt Hat and Mitts Knit Along.  Please join me!  Check out more details on the Tolt website, and call or stop by the shop to register for classes.  

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