A 2015 – 2018 Top 100 Knitting Blog!
I just returned from San Francisco, where I spent the weekend at Vogue Knitting Live.
I was there to take some classes, look for some hand-dyed yarn for future projects and, very excitingly, because I had entered the Vogue Knitting Mohair Contest and was one of the ten finalists!
I learned my shawl would be in the San Francisco runway show via email while hanging out in a room full of strangers at a lodge in Churchill, Canada. We were up at the Arctic Circle to see polar bears and Northern Lights.
Picture, if you will, a crazy woman (me) jumping up in the lounge saying, “I know none of you know me and probably care nothing about knitting BUT my design was just picked to be a finalist in a design contest by Vogue Knitting. That’s Vogue people!” I promptly ran back to my room to tell my husband, who also looked at me like I was a bit nuts.
Faerie Knitting with Mohair
The theme of the contest was based on a new book being released this week called Faerie Knitting, Tales of Love and Magic. The contest itself was sponsored by the South Africa Mohair Council and a certain percent of the design had to be knit with mohair.
I hadn’t really thought about entering the contest, especially one with such a specific and unusual theme but the fates (dare I say faeries) aligned to push me to design something.
In my stash, just waiting to be knit, was mohair I bought while in South Africa last year. The yarn and their story is worthy of a separate post that I’ll work on that later this week.
When I think of fairies, I think Ireland. Celtic legends are full of mystical creatures. What better place to find inspiration?
And so, with the yarn insisting that it be used for the contest, I packed some for our perfectly-timed trip to Dublin for my niece Caitlin’s wedding.
The day before the big event, we took a day trip to Malahide Castle which has a beautiful walled garden.
As we meandered the dappled pathways, it became clear there could indeed be faeries hiding in secret corners here. With a faerie garden theme settled in my mind it was time to start swatching.
The design is a literal interpretation of the garden. The sides are the branches providing soft shade, the front cables the pillars entering the garden. There’s ivy winding up the back of the shawl created with the Showy Decrease. The pink bottom edge (added last) represents the blossoms scattered on the cobbled walkways. Take a look at the bind off edge in pink. A beautiful finishing touch.
I’ll write up the instructions for the flowers and blog about them soon. They are knit, not crocheted. I’ll also be writing a post with the fabulous yarn maker, in there I’ll talk more about the construction and use of mohair to create a gradient effect.
I probably won’t write the pattern for this version of the shawl. It’s pretty whimsical, but I will certainly use aspects of it to knit simplified versions. The climbing vines on the back would be perfect for a long rectangular shawl.
I didn’t win the contest, but making the finals was magical (sticking with the theme here). I had fun meeting the Vogue staff, other designers and watching the shawl walk the runway.
The design challenged my creativity in different ways – always a good thing.