Last August, I went out to Lancaster County (Amish country) for a day trip (if you were reading my blog in December you might remember the extravaganza that was the Christmas museum). Anyway, there were quite a few fabric and yarn shops in the area. I was trying to be restrained with both, so I bought some quilt binding fabric. And some yarn.
The yarn shop I purchased from is called Labadie Looms. This has been a family business for over NINE generations, going way back to 1683. They specialize in weaving and spinning, as well as selling looms, spinning wheels and accessories, wool roving, and yarn that is either spun and dyed on-site or is made by local artisans (all sourced from area animals). Pretty cool, right? I bought a hank of their dyed wool of a fingering weight, and a hank of beautiful mohair that was closer to a fingering weight than a lace weight. Both of these yarns have a little bit of sparkle running through them, so it has the slightest shimmer to it that I just could not capture in pictures. But it's in there.
Fast forward a few months and the Skeino company released a new shawl pattern, the Operetta Shawl. I really like this company as they're socially responsible, sell beautiful yarns, and come up with some really unique patterns. Their Arabella Shawl is one of my favorite things I've ever made. Now, their Operetta Shawl kit is a combination of a worsted weight wool and a lace weight mohair. I had two fingering-ish weight yarns that had been sitting in the original paper bag and no idea what I would use them for. So I decided to make this pattern using slightly different yarns, and see what happened. What happened is a shawl that I love.
I was a bit nervous I'd end up with a small scarflet thingee, but this ended up the same size (about five feet across the top, and about three from the center to the point).
It is so lightweight and fluffy, but also warm--perfect for cool spring/summer nights, but also as a little something extra over a sweater in the winter without adding too much weight. The rows of mohair almost make it look like all those wooly loops are just floating.
The mohair feels thin and delicate, like there is no way possible it could hold up, but it's quite strong, and barely created a fuzz cloud when I wound the ball, but bloomed beautifully as it was being knit, giving the whole shawl a misty aura.
The pattern itself is quite smart. Usually in alternating row patterns, you either carry the yarn up the side or weave in more ends than should be legal. This pattern uses a clever back-and-forth-on-circulars technique that leaves you with just a few ends to weave in when you're through.
The only thing that bothers me slightly is that, even with wet blocking and pinning, the point still wants to curl a little bit. I'm certain this has to do with my bind-off--it feels loose enough as I bound off purl-wise, but there's probably just enough pull around the corner to tighten it just so slightly.
The cast-on is that little section that looks just a little different there in the photo--it's a garter tab start, which I've never done before but is quite simple. I was a little worried that the top edge would pull too much on the stitches, but it feels just right. Which is good. Because I don't know if I have enough yarn left to crochet a little bit of strength into that top edge.
This shawl is quite large and of pretty thin yarn, so it took me about a month to knit. I tried to make it while I was watching the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle, but it was entirely too interesting and I didn't get much done (seriously--check that show out). But as it's entirely garter stitch with a few increases thrown in, there's not much you have to pay attention to (except for the slide-your-stitches part).
While I do love Skeino products, I'll be the first to admit that they are by no means inexpensive, and might even be prohibitive for some. However, they do provide their patterns for free on Ravelry--you can find this one here. So if you've got yarn you like you can very easily make your own version at a cost that's more agreeable to you. Skeino also teams up with VeryPink to provide comprehensive tutorials on their patterns. This one is available here.
** I'm aware this post reads as a sales ad of sorts for Skeino and VeryPink, but I am in no way affiliated with them. Skeino is a company whose product and ethics I like, and VeryPink is a resource I find to be immensely helpful.