Siren’s Song Shawl, a new designing adventure

Apologies, as this post is long overdue.

I promised myself this year I would have posted more often because I would have had more free time to dedicate to my knitting and crochet. But then, as usual, life happens and you need to go along with it.

The project I am showing you today is very close to my heart because it took me some time to make it, and also because it is my first real design project.

I discovered the joy of knitting shawls only in the past year or so. I never thought I would enjoy them so much, but I quickly discovered that I really really do. I made several ones as presents for family and friends in the past year, and with each of them, I learned a new technique.

This learning process gave me confidence and I started toying with the idea of creating my own design for a shawl.

One day, while I was at my local yarn shop The Knitting Corner, I saw this luxurious yarn and I simply fell in love with it.

(Louisa Harding Amitola – 80% wool, 20% silk)

I cannot describe how amazing it feels to the touch! So soft, natural and organic… It was at that moment that I decided to take the plunge and get creative.

The colour shade was really the inspiration behind this shawl. You see, I always had a fascination for mermaids and sirens. As I child I spent hours reading stories about them and I also pretended to have a mermaid tail while I was bathing or in the pool. Needless to say, the Little Mermaid’s story was one of my favourites.

This yarn brought me back to those memories. As I was knitting my swatch I could see the stripes forming and the alternation of the colours really gave my heart a little jolt of happiness. I was just missing a little extra shine and my childhood memory would be entertained!

 

Luckily, in the months I spent experimenting shawl knitting, I also learned how to knit with beads (both threaded and hooked as you go). It was a bit of a challenge for me to include beads in my first shawl design, but I felt the addition would really make a difference.

Truly, knitting with beads is not difficult. It simply requires a little of patience and a very small hook (0.5/1.0 mm) or some dental floss! YouTube has plenty of fantastic tutorials on using beads while knitting, but my favourite learning method remains a well explained written one, like the one made by Katie Rose on her blog “Spin, spin, spin”.

And here we go, I tried to create an edge that would be simple, but fabulous (at least to my eyes). I used Debbie Abrahams size 6 (4mm) beads, Night Sky.


It all started with the edge… but it continued with short rows. Yes, one thing I learned from my experience with shawls is that I prefer to knit them bottom-up (or edge up). Even if I understand the pros of traditional top-down knitting (measuring the size and the length of the shawl as you go is the main one), I still prefer the fact that after a few VERY VERY VERY long rows (over 300 stitches), I will be out of my misery as I will have fewer stitches to work for the body of the shawl.

Besides, short rows are fun! And they surely help when you want some mindless knitting that does not require precise counting. Set your marker at the edges and knit until you get there. Rinse and repeat until you finish your shawl!

And this is how my shawl turned out.

 

 

Indeed, I was really pleased with myself and after receiving some really encouraging feedback I decided to write down the pattern and also publish it on Ravelry. If you want to give it a go, you can find the pattern here.

 

I am still knitting avidly and I have quite a few projects that I want to share with you all, just bear with me… I promise I will take the camera out and get ready for more posts. In the meantime, I will keep contemplating your amazing creations over Facebook groups, blogs and Ravelry pages… you all are really inspiring!

Until the next project, be safe, keep knitting, have fun!

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More wedding stuff!

So as I anticipated in my last post, this year I have been invited to four weddings!
It surely is exciting that so many people are in love and decided to get married, a little less thrilling is the fact that three of these wedding are concentrated within three weeks and are divided between two countries.

I am also maid of honour for two of the three, so I had my work cut out for myself. I already attended a wedding in April, in Rome and it was simply a delight; now I am preparing for a three week intense wedding attendance (first in line is tomorrow).

Two of the brides asked me to make them a personalised wedding ring pillows, and I gladly accepted.

Lisa’s wedding colour scheme is going to be lilac, Tiffany blue and silver. In my head it was something looking like this:

I considered my options and I decided that for her wedding ring pillow the best choice would be Lilac with a silver brooch. She will add a Tiffany blue ribbon when I give it to her. As Lisa likes simple, but pretty things I decided to use my most classic design. This is the result:

Once I finished it I was really pleased with it (and so far she is too, at least from the picture I sent her through Whatsapp). I can only hope that next week, when she will have to use it for the cerimony, she will still be.

Lisa has been a very close friend of mine since I was 7 years old, we really went through a lot together and since now I live in England and she is back in Italy, I didn’t have the chance to be there to help her through the preparations for her big day.

Moved by the desire to make something special and unexpected for her, I decided to also make her a bridal bag. Lisa does crochet and knitting as well, so I am pretty sure she will appreciate this kind of gift 🙂
I wanted something small enough not to bother her during the wedding, but at the same time big enough to store her phone and some other small objects.

There were many options of patterns out there, both on Ravelry and on other blogs, but nothing really spoke to me. After trying and failing, I decided to create something new and inspired by her.

This is what I called Lisa’s wedding bag. I used some Italian cotton I had in shade white and lavender, but Rico Design Crochet Essential Cotton DK white and violet would do just fine.

The bag is about 13.5 cm tall and 13 cm wide at the base. As you can see I also applied a little rose on the side which I found on the Lion Brand website as an embellishment for another bridal bag. If you want to make it you can find it here, just sign up for the Lion Bran website to access their stunning patterns.

I also had some beads, small little pearls that I thought could really add some extra spark to the bag. I used them at the end of the cord.

As I carried the two colour yarns along the inside really looked tidy, without many loose ends to weave in, but something was missing. A beautiful satin lining!

I am not seamstress, I can sew my crochet or knitting together, but sewing (by hand or with a sewing machine) is definitely not my trade.

[*Begin of a little digression on my private life. I was recently gifted a sewing machine by a wonderful lady who knew I wanted to learn, but at the moment I am still reading the manual and this project was definitely not one I wanted to sacrifice to the Gods of learning.*End of digression on my own private dreams and missing achievements*]

Luckily for me I am surrounded by very talented and skillful people, and this time it was Eve who came to the rescue. She not only lined the bag for me, but she also showed me how to do it (with the hope I could replicate it on my own on a different project).

The lining was the perfect final touch, it also gave the bag the support it needed. Thank you Eve!

The othe bride of mine *giggles* is Italian but now lives near me here in England. Having her close meant that I could be more involved in her wedding preparations.

She went for a more traditional colour scheme, Ivory and Red. A classic and fancy choice. Since I knew a little bit more about her choices for the venue and the wedding I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to add some beading to my crochet. I took one of my wedding ring pillow design and I modified it a little so that I could place some pearls on the front. This is how it turned out.

I honestly cannot say who was the most excited, if the bride or me when I finished it. She has it already (hers is the first wedding of the September season) so I am positive she really liked it. [*Phew*]

As she saw the bag I made for Lisa’s big day she pulled out her best puppy eyes to me and asked me if I could make her another one in the colours of her wedding. One week more or less to her wedding and I took my crochet hook out and whipped out her own version of the bag.

This time I used thicker yarns (Sirdar Soukie gold dust, Patons Smoothie red, and some doubled Anchor Artiste Metallic silver) as she wanted those specific hues in her bag. I had to modify the pattern but I believe the result is beautiful nonetheless.

So today here I am, ironing the last bits of our dress and suit to start this wedding season. We start tomorrow and it will be a long and exciting September month.

If you liked my bag, keep an eye on my Ravelry shop page, the pattern for Lisa’s wedding bag will be published there soon 🙂 Simply Yarn on Ravelry.

*** UPDATE ***

The pattern to make your own Bridal bag  is available for digital download on Ravelry, click here.