Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tilting Squares Cowl

I have the wonderful good fortune to live in a town with several fantastic fiber-arts shops (three yarn stores, one fiber, and one weaving, not counting the craft-chains that also carry yarn). One of these is Textiles A Mano, run by Laura Macango-Shang.

Laura's shop is just wonderful. Nearly all of the yarn in Laura's shop is a product of her own hard work. She creates fantastic and beautiful hand-dyed yarns. There are shelves upon shelves of skeins of all sorts of fibers and colors. It's impossible to walk through and not pet something.

Laura is fantastic as well. She hosts a knitting group on Wednesday night (which I am sadly unable to attend), and a spinning group on Saturdays. Saturday spinning is something I look forward to attending each week. Lots of great women come together for a couple hours of spinning and talking.

Tilting Squares Cowl
After one of our Saturday meetings, Laura approached me about working with her yarn. She had a new yarn base (65% cashmere / 35% silk) and needed a pattern to sell with it. I was thrilled and flattered to say the least. We both thought a cowl would be a great use for this yarn, and she even had a suggestion of a lace pattern, the Tilting Squares stitch.

I had a great time putting this cowl together. The yarn is wonderful and a real pleasure to knit. I worked with an older Addi 16" circular, and wished I had a Knit Picks fixed circular instead--I've become addicted to their sharp points and the blunter Addi needles just aren't fast enough for my tastes. They are still nice needles and the project fairly flew off of them.

Patterns are really interesting to write. It is quite the intellectual exercise to take instructions that are perfectly clear to you, personally, and turn them into instructions that other people can easily read and understand. Subtle details like how information flows on the page and where charts and explanations should go are also tricky. And, of course, you need a couple of good pictures to illustrate how your knitted object is going to look.

Tilting Squares Cowl
I'm really glad I have a good camera, and a willing-to-help daughter. At not-quite-six, she did a fantastic job of trying to take pictures with mommy's huge camera. Unfortunately, its computer brain was in direct competition with young fingers and getting correct focus was a trial. We got a couple of usable shots out of that effort, but in the end I was forced to the old trick of "hold your camera at arms' length and hope for the best". I can't say how much I love digital cameras. Film is an interesting media, but the fact I can take 20 pictures, know immediately if any of them are any good whatsoever, and trash the bad ones right off my camera is invaluable.

After jumping through all the hoops with noting, knitting, frogging, re-knitting, writing, photographing, formatting, proofing and printing, the Tilting Squares Cowl is now up for sale on Ravelry, or available with the Lucerne cashmere/silk yarn from Textiles A Mano.

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