theraineysisters knitting and so much more

September 9, 2011

From Sally — Rain, rain, go away . . .

Filed under: Forest Path Stole — surly @ 11:35 am

We have had nonstop rain here in Washington, DC for what seems like forever.  I know that other areas are suffering from fires and drought, so I shouldn’t complain.  But that never stopped me before.  One side effect of the rain is increased difficulty in taking good photographs of finished knitting; it is so gloomy out that adequate lighting is a problem.  Le sigh.

I did finally finish my Forest Path stole, and I love it.  

(Sadly, it’s not truly mine; I knit it for charity and have to mail it off to be auctioned.)  To recap, the Forest Path, designed by Faina M. Letoutchaia, first appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of Interweave Knits. I had wanted to make it for a very long time. It was fun and relatively fast to make.

I used Fino Alpaca with a Twist, which is a lace weight blend of alpaca and silk, in the color “Champagne” (a warm ivory). I made several modifications. First, I narrowed the shawl and shortened it. The original has 23 tiers of entrelac lace panels; for this charity project I knit 17. (I’ll probably do 19 when I knit it again for myself.) The tiers in the original alternate between four and five lace panels as you work your way up; my version has three and four. Even with those changes, my finished shawl blocked out to 70 inches by 26 inches, which I think is a generous size for a stole. When I reknit it, I will keep my width.

The other major change I made was to the edging. As written, the stole is bordered by seed stitch. You work base, side, and top triangles of seed stitch as you knit the shawl and then add a seed stitch border to the sides, which you sew to the stole. (The bottom and top seed stitch strips are done before and after the base and top triangles respectively.) This didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t like sewing the border to my Crown Prince shawl, and I find that much seed stitch a bit boring and tedious to knit. More important, my reading at Ravelry had made me a bit leery about the border. [Side note re Ravelry: This is one of the strengths of Ravelry as a knitting resource. By skimming through finished projects, you can learn a lot about what does and does not work in a pattern before you knit it.] A number of knitters who made the shawl felt that they couldn’t block it as much as they wanted to because the border wasn’t as willing to stretch as the lace panel center. Therefore, I added a lace leaf border based on a motif in Victorian Lace Today. It was slo-o-o-ow, but I was very pleased with how it turned out.

So here, without further ado, is my first Forest Path. A second, that I will keep for myself, is definitely in my future.

August 13, 2011

From Sally — The Path to Enlightenment

Filed under: Forest Path Stole — surly @ 1:54 pm

Eight years ago, Faina Letoutchaia’s Forest Path Stole pattern appeared in Interweave Knits (Summer 2003). I loved it. I wanted to make it.

To be honest, most of the time if I don’t immediately embark on a pattern that I have fallen in love with, I gradually lose interest or forget all about it. (That can be a good thing; I don’t have enough hours in the day to knit everything I’ve wanted to knit in my life.) Despite my fickle nature, the Forest Path Stole continued to enchant me. I bought yarn for it. More than once. Susan and I discussed what changes we might make in it. I periodically scrolled through the finished projects on Ravelry. Finally, a few weeks ago, I actually started it.

Back in 2003, the pattern looked intimidating to me. I didn’t have all that much experience with entrelac or lace, and the pattern looked complex to me. Now, in my dotage, I realize it’s actually a very simple pattern. Each of the three lace panels is easy to memorize. Because it’s entrelac, you are only working with about twenty stitches at a time (the stitches for one lace panel motif), and so there’s a sense of immediate progress each time you finish a panel. It’s a relaxing, fairly portable project. My yarn is Alpaca with a Twist Fino in the color Champagne. Fino is 70% alpaca and 30% silk and knits up beautifully.

I’ve made a couple of changes to the pattern. First, I am knitting a narrower and shorter version. Second, instead of the seed stitch border, I started with a provisional cast on and I’ll do some kind of knitted on border at the end. (I have several ideas, and will decide which one when I get there.) I’ve completed ten tiers, with my current plan to end after tier 19.

Progress photos of lace are usually uninspiring: unblocked lace looks shriveled and a little sad. But here are two shots anyway to give an idea of the color.

I love working on this stole. It’s a good thing, too, because after all these years of loving this pattern I am not knitting it for myself. It will be auctioned off in October to benefit The National Inclusion Project.

I knew it was smart to buy yarn more than once. I can’t wait to finish this one so I can start it again.

Additional Comments from Susan

Sally is so right: we both fell in love with this shawl, and I was intimidated!  I saw the actual shawl in person at a trunk show at Amazing Threads years ago.  I walked in and saw this stunning (and very large) lace stole and knew it was completely beyond my knitting capabilities.  But not beyond my dreams!  So, quite a while later I bought a ton of yarn (the same yarn Sally is using, but in cream) and ended up using it for Lyra.  Oh well!  Then I bought Exquisite in Slate Blue.  It, too, is beautiful and currently marinating in my stash.  I have definitely earmarked it for Forest Path, but have to wait for the knitting planets to align…some day…soon?  Sally is doing the pre-work so it will be easy for me to follow!

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