Friday, 5 September 2014

Antarktis in Countess Ablaze Geeks Like Rainbows Too Handspun Yarn

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or my Facebook Page you will have seen a photo yesterday. It was a photo I was sooooo proud of. It's really hard to take photographs of yourself on a timer, even when you are healthy, so to get a few half way decent shots is something that makes me happy. When I get a photo that is good, I jump around inside my head whooping for joy. I don't do it outside my head because my body would scream in rebellion, but inside my head is fine.  The photo in question is this one:

Geeky Rainbow 08

I love this photo because it shows the wonderful gradient effect of this handspun yarn. The yarn was spun from Countess Ablaze Superwash Merino in the Geeks Like Rainbows Too colourway. I talked all about the spinning here. I am so pleased I chose this pattern. It is perfect for this yarn. Antarktis by Janina Kallio was a pattern I first saw on the We Are Yarn podcast. Amanda (the host) had used the pattern and I think she used handspun yarn. It stuck in my head so that when I saw this yarn I knew it would work. The pattern is knit on the bias and uses garter stitch and basic eyelet lace in panels to increase the amount of shawl you get for your yarn.

Geeky Rainbow 07

Look how much shawl you get for 400m of yarn! One of the instructions in the pattern is to "block like you mean it", which really made me smile, and I took the instruction to heart. This shawl can be worn around my shoulders and actually feels like it can keep me warm. Most shawls that use a single skein of sock weight yarn are usually more like scarves than shawls.

Geeky Rainbow 06

In fact, I've been using it quite a bit since finishing it because it is the perfect size to just cover the tops of my arms when it's a little cooler in the morning and evening.

Geeky Rainbow 04

The pattern starts with the tip and it increases faster on one edge than the other to give the bias shape. The top edge of the shawl is nicely elastic as there is a yarn over inserted on one side, which is dropped on the other. This elasticity makes it easier to block firmly.  You can see this edge at the bottom of the shawl in the photo below.

Geeky Rainbow 02

When starting this pattern, you should remember to actually read through to the end, like the pattern tells you to, AND make sure you understand those instruction or you will go wrong , like I did.  I missed out a whole section that needed repeating. I had to rip back a couple of hours work. So my recommendation is to read the pattern, and make notes so you remember what you learnt when reading it, so you don't mess up a few days later!

Geeky Rainbow 03

Once I'd got myself back on track, I stuck to the pattern as written, except for the bottom section of the shawl. I added an extra garter stitch panel between the last two eyelet sections of the shawl. In the pattern, the bottom panel follows the previous one without break. When I reached the start of the last section I knew I had a lot of yarn left over and wanted to use as much of this lovely gradient as possible, so I inserted the extra panel.

Geeky Rainbow 05

I think that the extra panel is more aesthetically pleasing, and I think with this particular yarn it was preferable to add more of the hot pink, to help balance the colours better.

Geeky Rainbow 09

I could not be happier with this shawl. It's a very useful size but it is nice and light and it drapes beautifully. It can be used as a shawl or as a scarf, which means it will get used all year round. This makes me extra happy because these colours lift my heart so much. It is almost impossible to keep a straight face when looking at this shawl. It just makes me want to smile whenever I see it. I've been smiling a lot!

PS Thank you for indulging me in my need to share many of the photos I took of this lovely project. I wanted to post them all, but I felt that would be over-egging the pudding just a little bit too much!


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