Thursday, November 03, 2011

FO: The Dark Dance


Another knit from a favorite designer, this shawl was an absolute delight. That's actually not emphatic enough, but you get the idea. Birgit Freyer's designs exemplify German design at its pinnacle: her patterns (like German cars and German architecture) are graceful, complicated, and intuitive. There are almost no written instructions, because the charts tell you everything you need to know. (The bits which you need to have written instructions for come in five different languages!)

This shawl is Flamenco, my first Birgit knit. I purchased several patterns from her over a year ago, but waited 'til now to make one up, and I don't know why I waited so long; Birgit creates beautiful motifs, wielding an impressive control of yarn overs. Other lace patterns seem poorly designed after knitting one of her patterns. Really: when she wants to introduce a centered yarn over into a motif, she has you work a double increase. That may not seem like much until you are in the process of knitting one of her patterns, and the design appears under your needles as if by magic.


My addiction to beaded knitting extended even to this piece, although I knew the knitting would be a pleasure by itself. (That's why it's an addiction: I know I don't need it, but I want it.) I went over the charts before I started, and placed them wherever it looked like they'd be pretty. I placed predominantly on plain stitches, but in retrospect, putting beads on decreases would have looked great and given me a little more space to add beads in. (Still looks pretty, though, whatever improvements I might have made.) Beading lace makes the whole project much slower; by the end, I was glad to have some bead-free right-side rows.


Pattern: Flamenco by Birgit Freyer
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Cashmere Lace in Boreal, an exclusive Lace Club colorway. I used 1.7 skeins.
Beads: Silver-lined gold (it's quite a light gold) AB finish, size 6.
Mods: I worked 5 repeats of the pattern (Birgit calls for 4 or 5 repeats, but I wanted more than a half-circle), and added beads.

This shawl ended up as a birthday gift to our former manager at work, who has been back in the city for a month, in the middle of his year-long national roadtrip. The muted purples suit him really well (they were too muted for me), and the large size means he'll have plenty of toasty cashmere around his neck next month, when he's in New York.


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