Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Friday, 14 October 2011

Aunt Kate's Blencathra Lace Shawl

It feels like forever since I've written a post, instead of just 10 days.

I have always been and probably always will be a wool type of girl.  It does exactly what it says on the tin!  It's reliable, no fuss, no mess, I love how it feels, how warm and snuggly it is and how it wears.  I adore knitting with the stuff, the sheepy aroma, the blocking results and the overall finished effect.  I have always been slightly afraid of luxurious fibres, scared stiff of snooty silk, cringed at crafty cashmere and even balked at mighty merino (yes I know that's wool also, but more like a wolf in sheeps clothing, it pretends to be cashmere like and is delicate and fluffy and pills and falls apart with hard use).  I'm not sure why, maybe because in trying to define myself and who I am I have always gone for the less frilly approach.  I never wear heels, rarely wear make-up and dressing up for me is wearing something that actually fits.  Form over fashion so to speak.

I have been trying to broaden my little horizons recently and have let myself be seduced by colour and the tactile nature of fibre.  I perused the web and purchased a skein (on sale, I was being good to myself) of Blencathra Lace by Nimu Yarns.  I have fallen head over heels with this yarn.  It's 70% Alpaca, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere and boy does it feel nice.  Initially it was the colourway that caught my attention.  I don't have anything even remotely similar to it, so from the start it was a huge departure for me. It's really hard to describe, sometimes when I look at it, it looks mostly pale coppery green and then it switches in the blink of an eye to a peach colour.  My eyes are playing tricks with me as I know when I look closely there are violet, gold, pink, cream and sage hues.  This is a magic yarn.

I was unsure how far my skein would go so I made some adjustments to the pattern that I had picked (Sharon Miller's Love Darg book contains charts and written instructions from a Scottish publication called 'Aunt Kate's Home Knitter' and I had chosen a square shawl with simple tree and flower motifs).  I made a triangle instead of a square and reduced the motifs from 6 down to 4.  My shawl turned out the perfect size for using around the neck as a scarf or of course shawl like!  Amazingly though I still have 42g of the original 100g left.  I can feel another shawl coming on!

The alpaca mix is divine to knit with, it's strong, soft, slightly shiny and blocks beautifully showing off the pattern to perfection.  I was surprised (happily so) that the centre pattern turned out so pretty.  In a chart it looked unremarkable, yet knit up it's delicate and unusual.

I'm really looking forward to snuggling up with this shawl, I'm almost praying for an event where I have to dress up, wear heels and make-up, just to show it off properly!!!

Happy knitting



  1. Absolutely beautiful. I adore the copper tones in the yarn, they seem to shimmer.

  2. So, so beautiful! I just love the colour or should I say colours, all those shades:)
    Oh, I am tempted....

  3. The shawl you've just made is so beautiful Aisling. I just love it's delicate colourway and the design within.

    I have to say also how very beautifully worded this post is, congratulations. I'm a wool girl myself, and understand how difficult it is to try new fibres/blends. Thank you for being brave........LOL........

  4. lovely job...awesome color....ooh, I feel the I want coming on...gorgeous pattern. You inspire me.

  5. How beautifully this shawl has turned out, you are so brave to rearrange paterns the way you do. It would seem a bit daunting to me just to follow the instructions. Your comments on the fibre are interesting, I'm still thinking about using alpaca (mostly just because I love them!)


  6. Thank you. It's becoming a bit of a compulsion lately to rearrange and add amend patterns to suit my needs. I never thought I could do it, I thought it would be complicated or impossible, but it turns out that it's not all that scary! Start small and soon you'll have something completely unique.

    Really love the alpaca, will definitely use it again. It went through 10 days of constant movement in the making up, soaked in the sink for 20 minutes and never lost its lustre, was mercilessly stretched and tautened in the blocking process and was photographed outside whipping around in the wind for half an hour. Still lookin' good :-)

    It's made me really happy to have so many nice comments, thanks all, you made my day :)

  7. Just beautiful. Beautiful

  8. Thank you for "discovering" this beautiful yarn.
    I have now ordered it also, it feels lovely.
    I will leave a link to your blog in my next post:)

  9. Thank you Radka, I can't wait to see what you make with it1