Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New pattern: Folia Crescent

The first pattern in my new La Folia Collection is out! It's a sweet, simple one-skein shawl called Folia Crescent. This one was very quick to knit, straightforward and not requiring much attention after the first repeat or two. Watching the lace emerge kept things interesting, and of course knitting with such beautiful yarn is always a pleasure.

  • a leafy lace panel surrounded by squishy garter stitch
  • easy-to-wear crescent shape
  • a garter-tab cast on and an i-cord bind off
  • suitable for beginner lace knitters
  • stitch markers keep track of the lace section so you don't have to
  • a one skein project in fingering-weight yarn
  • perfect for that precious single skein of sock yarn
  • one size, easily enlarged by working extra repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions and hybrid charted + written instructions

I used one skein of Merri Creek Sock yarn from local dyer and colour genius Miss Click Clack. The colour is called 'Ambergris', and it's an absolutely stunning glowing gold. The beauty of a small (6 row) lace repeat in this shawl is that you can keep knitting and use up almost all of your yarn. I'd recommend putting a lifeline in first before doing extra repeats, just in case!

The remaining two patterns in the collection, a drapy cowl and a large triangular shawl, will be released in mid-September and late September, respectively. They feature the same leafy lace and garter stitch combo, put together in different ways to suit the different shapes of the cowl and shawl.

You can see all the details and download the pattern via Ravelry, Loveknitting, Etsy, or Craftsy. An ebook with all three La Folia patterns is also available - the cowl and triangular shawl patterns will be added to the ebook as they are released.


I chose the name La Folia for this collection partly because folia means 'leaves' in Latin (just right for a botanical lace design), and because it's the name of a famous musical form based on a standard bass line. You can read about the history of the Folia bass line here, and find the sheet music for various versions here.

More than 150 composers have used variations on the La Folia theme in their music, including Corelli, Vivaldi, Marais, J.S. Bach, Handel, Liszt, and  Rachmaninoff. There are all kinds of riches to be found by searching for 'La Folia' on Youtube! Here are a few that stood out to me.

A performance of Vivaldi's variations on "La Follia" (RV 63) with Baroque dancers:

A Folia in the Spanish style performed by the viola da gamba player Jordi Savall:

And the Australian group Latitude 37 recording their own set of variations on La Folia:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The travelling cowl

Most knitters have long-term works in progress. This is the tale of one of mine. Although, to be honest, it's not terribly long-term compared to the half-jumper that I started in 2014 or the blankets I started a couple of years before that! This one's only been around since January.

It's a colourwork cowl which I'm knitting in the round and will eventually graft into a seamless tube. I love the design and the colours, and the yarn is lovely to work with (it's Fino by Manos del Uruguay).

Isn't it pretty?

So what's caused the hold-up? Other projects have: other designs I've been excited about, and time-sensitive projects like birthday presents. Then I realised it would be more sensible to release a pattern for a double-thick tubular cowl later in the year, when most of the world's knitters are heading into cooler weather.

I carried my cowl around Europe with me, without having much time to actually knit any of it. Here's a snap of me working on it on the train from Munich to Florence, back in April. There was some amazing mountain scenery (and snow!) as we passed through Austria:


After the trip, I put it to one side while I knit a few more shawls and things, and kept feeling kind of guilty that I had a lovely barely-started cowl languishing in its project bag. Finally, I brought it to New Zealand with me where it has at last made it to the top of my priority queue! The photo with the cup of tea shows my progress as of yesterday. :)

This brings me to an idea Willie and I sometimes talk about, the Guilty List: the part of your to-do list that you don't like to think about, that big daunting task, or those small things that get delayed and procrastinated and delayed again. For me, it's often things like cleaning the bathroom or booking in for a flu shot.

Right now, it's getting my Europe Trip photos organised, culled, cropped, processed, and posted to Facebook albums for my family and friends to see. I also want to write a few blog posts with my best photos and stories from the trip, but first I need to sort out the photos.

Here's the way to deal with something on the Guilty List: you can do it, delegate it, delay it, or ditch it. For my photos, it's an easy choice - I have to do it! And I've finally started (the train photo above is proof). My pretty and well-travelled cowl was delayed for months, and now I'm doing that too.

So here's my challenge for you: if you have a Guilty List too, get something off it. Do it, delegate it, delay it, or ditch it. Let me know how it goes!