Sunday, January 24, 2010

In the Glow of the Hearthfire

Remember Serendipity Strikes? It was mid-December and *love at first sight*, when I first placed the Gracie's Lace Cranberry Crush (70% merino wool, 15% silk, 15% cashmere) next to the silver-lined dark topaz AB beads (see photo at left). Sivia Harding's Harbour Lights Shawl seemed like the ideal pattern to showcase all those rich, warm, yummy colors. Naturally, once we got through the excitement of Christmas Day and its aftermath, I couldn't wait to get started knitting. Hehe. I think my fingers were literally itching with anticipation...

This is my first foray into the intriguing world of triangle shawls, but I am enjoying myself so much that I sincerely doubt it will be my last. Worked from the top down, it starts out tiny, with only 5 stitches across, but then quickly starts to expand in several directions at once. So after the initial setup, I eagerly began on the main pattern for the body of the shawl. The design consists of a vertical center band flanked by two triangular side panels, each of which has a smaller central band of its own. SO MUCH visual interest and symmetry. A veritable feast for the eyes and the mind!!

Because of the warm, cozy feeling that it gives me and the candlelight shapes that are a basic element of the design, I have christened this my Hearthfire Shawl. It is such a *pleasure* to knit.

Since the start I have managed to devote at least a few minutes to this project every day or two, and the work is coming along nicely. I have completed 6 pattern repeats so far, and according to the scale I have used up 30 g from the 100g skein. I originally projected that I would end up with 9 pattern repeats plus the edging, but we'll see when we get there how the measurements turn out. At least I am no longer much concerned about running out of yarn. Maybe there will even be enough left over for a pair of matching wrist-warmers. That would certainly be fabulous!!

And without further ado, here are some pictures taken at various stages of its development. The first in the series (upper left) was from day one of knitting, and the fourth (lower right) is less than 24 hours old. As always, click on any of them to get a closer look.

Now that I come to think about it, this project engages all of the senses to an unusual degree. I mean, it doesn't actually have an aroma or a flavor (although I do periodically find myself thinking about the mulled cider from Ellen's original description on the Earthfaire website), but the colors exercise a real allure as they subtly change from one to the other. These are rich, dark, saturated hues. Each one makes a statement individually, and yet they all blend together too in the most harmonious way. Then there is the iridescent glow of the beads, reflecting back all the different colors of the yarn. The bead placement is exquisitely designed to show off each individual bead like a little gemstone. They remind me of fire opals or Madeira citrines. I am really glad that I went with the larger 6/0 size, because they stand out without overwhelming. And of course the fabric itself feels velvety soft to the touch (cashmere, ah, cashmere...). The end result promises to be something quite remarkable, if I do say so myself.


  1. Beautiful! What method of beading are you using?

  2. Thanks so much!!

    The pattern calls for the crochet hook method, but applying each bead on the RS only *after* its stitch is knitted, so that the bead will float right on top, secured in place by the WS purl row. It's a nice technique.

  3. Mmmm thanks for the information! I will have to give that a try! I have found that the beads come off when I use the crochet hook method, even after I am sure they are secured, maybe my stitches were just too loose, and not secured by the following purl you described.

    With my last project, I avoided this problem by threading hundreds of beads onto the yarn before beginning and of course they didn't fall off, but they did make it difficult to pull the yarn up to the needle. I will knit a swatch and see if I can perfect this method! Thanks again for answering my comment!