Monday, March 25, 2024

Early Rides and a New Pattern

Hello readers! Last time I posted, we were gearing up for Christmas, and now - so swiftly does time fly when one is having fun - spring has sprung. (And then, of course, it changed its mind and retreated. No surprises there.)

In January we had a bit of this, though not nearly as much as we needed:

February surprised us all with balmy weather and the very early return of robins, Canada geese, and sandhill cranes. And this:

A February bike commute!

Hello, river trail:

Nice to see you floating over my shoulder, February moon:

And if that weren't treat enough, a week later this happened:

Another February bike commute - in shorts. I still can't quite believe it. Passing drivers were doubtless shielding their eyes from the glare of my legs, and I'm sure I heard Tallulah the Turtle mutter something about needing sunglasses, but no matter. It was glorious.

Unusually mild weather continued, leading to more rides in early March:

Now, alas, we're back to clouds and cold weather, with snow and spitting rain, but we press on undaunted. Spring has shown its mettle, and warmth and sunshine will return soon. Meanwhile, I solace myself with fresh chives and tarragon from the doorstep planter, for they too came back early this year.

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In other news, I've just published a new pattern! Meet the Squirreltail shawl:

Note: Pattern links will take you to my Ravelry store; you don't need to be a Ravelry member to buy a pattern there. If you're not comfortable using Ravelry, and you live in the US, you can contact me via email, or use the contact form at right, to request a pattern purchase through Paypal Goods and Services.

Squirreltail is a triangular shawl featuring modular sections worked Log-Cabin-style in varying stitch patterns, outlined with a striking embellishment technique that loops tall stitches together for a beautifully textural result. The braided-look embellishment rows, together with a rich edging of treble fans, evoke the wild grass for which the pattern is named. Squirreltail is suitable for solids, tonals, or long gradients. Choose a fingering or sportweight yarn.

The pattern is a doozy (and a good part of the reason I haven't blogged since December): 19 pages long, with charts and written instructions for two sizes, plus illustrations, link to a videotutorial, and extensive tips for customizing your shawl size.

The small (gradient) version was worked in Hobbii Azalea, a stranded sport weight cotton/acrylic yarn, color 07 Berry Rose. The shawl used about 862 yards, and measures 52" at the top edge x 25 1/2" at deepest point after blocking. This yarn was soft and pleasant to work with, though a bit splitty (as are all stranded yarns), and the finished shawl is drapey and comfortable. I've enjoyed wearing this version.

The large (grey) version was worked in Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock, a fingering weight superwash merino wool/nylon blend in color 5742 Silver Grey, a lovely tonal. Heritage Sock is a nicely springy yarn, and gives good stitch definition. The finished sample used about 1251 yards, and measures 68" x 31" after blocking. This shawl is so warm and cuddly, and I look forward to wearing it next winter.

I blocked both shawls by spritzing them with water to dampen, letting them sit for a little while so the moisture could permeate the yarn, then gently stretching them out on blocking mats to open the lace, using blocking wires and pins to keep them in shape as they dried. Both yarns blocked beautifully.

You can find the Squirreltail pattern here in my Ravelry store. Readers of this blog can enjoy 40% off the pattern through April 2, 2024, with code WILDGRASS at checkout.

Speaking of wild grass, here is the one that inspired this pattern's name:

Squirreltail (Elymus elymoides),
a wild rye. Photo copyright
My-Lan Le, used under
Creative Commons License CC-BY

Now that this pattern is off my plate, I hope to blog more often!


Northern Hemisphere readers, was your winter unusually mild? Did spring arrive early where you live?

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