Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ellison Bay

Hi Knitters,
I finished a beautiful shawl this past weekend. It was one of the loveliest knits I can remember. As soon as I cast on the Ellison Bay shawl I was hooked. The shawl is designed and written by Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline podcast and retreats. She is one of my favorite shawl designers and her patterns have such a way with intuition, logic and simple beauty. I am working my way through all of her shawl patterns. I have knit 5 of Paula's shawl designs so far. Up next will be Gill's Rock, Wild Goose, Cave Point and Balsam Hollow to name a few. I have my work set out for me (happily) but I really do enjoy Paula's designs, pattern writing style and aesthetic as a designer. Plus I end up wearing her shawl designs all of the time when they are finished.

So I love to do a little in-progress montage when I finish a project. It reminds me of all of the travels and times I worked on a project. In the first photo I was at the airport. I had just started Ellison Bay before I set out for Nashville and the SSK retreat. 

I worked on the shawl at the retreat a little bit but I ended up ripping back a lot of what I accomplished. Even though this shawl is incredibly simple I made a few errors due to being tired and chatting while knitting, basically not paying attention. I didn't mind a bit about ripping back a few rows here and there, it was fun knitting and it was easy to fix. Really, the pattern could not be any easier and clearer and the problem was my exhaustion after teaching all day and then knitting on the shawl. Being tired + knitting = mistakes and ripping back. Every time.

The yarn is Quince & Co. Chickadee in the Bird's Egg colorway. I did use all three skeins and I maybe had about half of the third skein left at the end. I did Paula's exact size and directions in the pattern. I love this yarn and color so much. I used US size 6, 32-inch circular needles to knit the shawl. I used the Rosewood needles from Knitter's Pride and they were lovely.  Click here to see the interchangeable needle set called Symfonie Rose!

That's my skirt in the photo above from Craft South in Nashville. It's called the Rising Sun Patched Skirt (I know I'll be asked about it). Craft South was selling the finished skirt to order on the website but the page was taken down soon after I posted about it last week. I don't know anything more about it and I don't think there is a pattern for the skirt. Sorry about that. 

The border on Ellison Bay is a really fun mock-cable rib. This stitch pattern is so simple and pretty. After working the border which is a four row repeat, I feel like making socks and a hat with this same stitch pattern repeat. It's very clever and pretty. 

I worked on the shawl while editing the third pass of my latest book manuscript called Kids' Knitting Workshop. There has been a completely new cover design since I last mentioned the book (I love it!). It is going to be a good solid book with loads of instruction for brand new knitters with the focus being on learning to knit in the round as a starting point. The book is up for pre-order now and is set to be released on December 1st, 2015, just in time for the holidays.

Click here to see more about my new book and the new cover! I'm really proud of this new book. I'm almost done after two years of hard work. That's a good feeling.

I also sewed on my machine and embroidered some quick wool felt penguins for TC's little swim buddies. I had the wool felt on hand so that was good. Each older swimmer on the swim team is assigned a couple of little buddies on the team. TC has two little girls, Mona age 10, and Sydney age 5. I cut out and stuffed and sewed the wool felt penguins with loops at the top to place on key-rings so they can hang the penguins on their swim bags. I embroidered the eyes and their names as a finishing touch. 

They turned out super cute! The final meet of the summer is this weekend so TC will gift the penguins to the girls along with a little candy as an end of season gift. I hope they like them. Oh, and I just made up and sketched the pattern on a piece of paper to cut out. It was so easy and a nice diversion.

Last weekend I went to Devil's Lake twice to do some hiking. After we hiked the bluffs we swam in the lake and I got to sit and knit on Ellison Bay for a bit. You can see my husband and daughter standing in the lake in the photo. 

I am excited because we are going to Door County coming up soon in August and the Ellison Bay shawl and many of Paula's shawls are named for locations in Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is one of my favorite places on earth so it is extra-good that Paula loves it, too, and names her shawls for Door County spots. 

I am going to film a podcast from Door County and I'll talk about SSK and other knitterly things while we are there. That should be fun.

I tried the new Wool Soap from Twig & Horn for washing and blocking Ellison Bay. Have you heard of Twig & Horn yet? It is the new sister company from Quince & Co. I can't wait to see this new site unfold. So far I have purchased the Lemongrass Wool Soap and the Wool Project Tote in blue. The products are American-made and beautiful. I have been using the wool project tote non-stop. I love it so much. I am thinking about doing some embroidery on it... I think that would be really cute.

The Wool Soap with Lanolin was simple to use. The directions are on the bottle and Twig & Horn has also published a How to Wash Your Wool Garments with their soap tutorial on the site. It is a great tutorial.

The main difference is that you have to give your garment a rinse after soaking which is easy. My shawl smells and feels so good after using the Wool Soap. It is so soft and conditioned. I just love it. I want to get a bottle of every scent..... Yes to that!

I love the squished up look of a shawl before you block. You can see the unique construction clearly in the photo above. There are 6 yarn over increase points and the body of the shawl is worked in garter stitch before the mock-rib border.  You can see that the increases stop when you start the border, you just work that section straight.

I blocked the shawl using only 2 pins on my blocking boards. It was so simple and easy to block this shawl. I use Julie Weisenberger's Knitter's Block blocking boards and I highly recommend them. I have the larger set in the blue carrying case.

I pulled the ends as far as they could reach to get a little extra length and then I just smoothed out the rest of the shawl to lay nice and flat and to open up the yarn overs a little bit. I love how wool will do what you ask of it as far as shape. I really wanted the top edge to be a smooth line even though it wasn't knit that way and it stretched right out and stayed. It's a miracle every time.

I've already worn my Ellison Bay shawl. I couldn't wait to throw it on. It is the perfect topper over your summer dresses and I can't wait until the fall to throw this over my shoulders and around my neck as the weather cools off. Also, I hear it's supposed to be chilly in Door County in August. You can bet Ellison Bay is coming along in my suitcase.

Shawl success is always a good feeling. Have you knit any shawls this summer? I'd love to hear about it.

The ceramic necklace I'm wearing was a gift from my friend Kriste last fall. I love this sweet little necklace. It is handmade in the UK by jolucksted on Etsy. Click here for the Etsy shop!

I'll be back soon with more summer knitting to share. I hope you are all doing well.
xo ~ susan