Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spilling the beans

I love it when I get to finally talk about a design I've been blogging vaguely about. And for a while now I've been talking about a "secret sample", and before that, a prototype swatch. Well, today, my shawl pattern Addis Abeba was published by Knit Picks, and I get to show pictures!

Firstly, we have the swatch...

Addis Abeba swatch

And a closeup...
Addis Abeba swatch, closeup

It was inspired when I realised that it would be really nice to knit presents for my midwives, and I started tossing around ideas in my head of what I could do. One of the women on my primary team has an Ethiopian background, so I started Googling around that culture for design ideas. I found some very cool stuff. What particularly inspired me was very colourful embroidery done on white or neutral-coloured cotton fabric. Lots of diamond-ish motifs, very elongated and with concave edges, and I thought that I could probably translate the essential design into lace. After some futzing around, I decided on garter stitch lace, did up a chart, and gave it a whirl.

At about two feet square, it's the biggest "swatch" I've ever done. But I had to do an entire repeat of the chart pattern to know if it would really work and to see how big the whole thing would block out to, so I would know how many squares should be in the whole shawl. Turned out, that number is three...

Addis Abeba

Addis Abeba

The cool thing about this pattern, I think, is that the squares are knitted on the bias. So it's a neat construction.

It is, admittedly, a lot of work, with a lot of yarnovers and decreases, and one helluva big chart...

Completed, one panel

Addis Abeba, centre square

...which is why it didn't end up being a midwife gift after all, since I didn't think I'd be able to get it and two other gifts done in time. But I was very happy for the inspiration, and I hope there are people out there who would like to knit it! I'm particularly interested in seeing what it looks like in colours, or even a variegated yarn.

Completed, corner detail

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