Well. It has been quite a while since I’ve posted on my blog. A long, tough month and change. I am FINALLY back and ready to get rolling with some new knitwear designs!
And here we go with the first! I am SO excited to share this newly released design, the Ulverston Shawl!
This design has a lot of special meaning to me. It dates all the way back to the summer of 2019 (which, in pandemic years, feels like a century ago), when my family took a trip to visit my brother in his small village in northwest UK. It was a really fun trip, filled with history, sheep, good food, more sheep, oh, AND WOOL. Lots of wool! I knew that I would need to make some special purchases to commemorate the trip, so I decided to focus on locally sourced wool, UK rare breed wool, and any kind of fiber with a tie to my brother’s area of Cumbria/West Yorkshire.
To that end, we took a trek to find a fiber shop, only to find it closed when we arrived. “They closed up shop because they are participating in Woolfest this weekend.” What is this Woolfest of which you speak? Well, it turned out to be a fantastic local fiber arts festival! We spent more time trekking to the indoor livestock wrangling facility where it was held, and it was most definitely worth the trip! I found all sorts of treasures, including handspun Manx Loaghtan and Hebridean wool (both rare breeds) and other beautiful fibers as well! On my very last day in the UK, I stopped into my brother’s LYS and made a few more purchases – West Yorkshire Spinners Aran Fleece, a beautiful Blue-Faced Leicester wool, and Erika Knight’s Wild Wool, made with fiber extracted from nettle plants. It was quite a haul!
It took me quite a while to figure out how to put all these treasures together into a single garment, but I finally landed on a shawl. Nothing lacy, because all the wools were Aran weight, and I wanted a Fair Isle border to incorporate all the beautiful colors. I worked out several large Fair Isle border designs, but I finally settled on this one:
It shows off the colors beautifully with good balance. Next I had to figure out the rest of the shawl. I had originally thought to do some basic cables with the off-white, but I didn’t want the design to be too busy. So I decided on simple 3×3 Rib, which is very stretchy and will form well to the body.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to work out the shaping. I decided to created a pointed edge to the border and use short row shaping to create a crescent shape over the ribbing.
This took some doing – and undoing – but I eventually got it right.
Finally, I wanted a simple, clean edging. I-cord is my go-to, so I gave it a try, and it worked well!
Quick and cozy, and the perfect memento of my trip to the UK – I was so pleased with this shawl! My only concern was the suggested yarn for knitters. This was a very special and personal piece, but how would I suggest substitutes for a hand-spun hank of rare breed wool with no yardage? I came up with good substitutes – all from UK spinneries – but I wanted to be sure that knitters would know they could make easy substitutes of ANY Aran weight yarn. So I decided to do a testing call. I found four great knitters who jumped right in and had no problem substituting yarns from their stash. They were so helpful, lightning fast, and really perfected the pattern. I am so grateful to them!
Ulverston is now up for sale on my Ravelry page. I hope it will give knitters the opportunity to create their own unique memento, as it has for me!
Stay tuned, because I am just about ready to release two more new designs as well! Pattern tidal wave!!