b r o o k l y n t w e e d
A Day At Twinkle
My all-time favorite jobs as a photographer are those that involve shooting artists' spaces, and, of course, the artists that they house. So I was completely thrilled when Knit.1 asked me to pay a visit to designer Wenlan Chia's studio in Manhattan to spend the day with her for a few portraits and studio shots. We had such a great time together - and I thought I'd share some of the shots with you, as I'm sure there are some big Twinkle fans out there.
In the handknitting community, Wenlan is probably best known for her signature super bulky merino yarn - Soft Chunky (pictured below) (kinda looks like cotton candy, doesn't it?) and the wonderfully chunky fashion knits she conjures up with it.
She carries two other yarn lines, which I hadn't ever experienced in person - and let me tell you, being surrounded by handknit samples of throws everywhere you turn isn't a bad way to experience a new yarn either.
And while of course I had plenty of delicious knits around to keep my lens busy all day... there were certainly a few other things that I had a hard time keeping away from...
Wenlan's dog, Milan, has a huge personality and wanted to be a part of the action all day. Aside from being a photogenic little canine, he serves as inspiration for many of Wenlan's home designs as I soon found out.
I think I mentioned in a previous post about my Twinkle Chunky throw (Finished! Photos soon!) that I had come into a small stash of Soft Chunky in a special circumstance - well this is how. I saw these luscious throws in the studio and had to have one. And since Wenlan basically forced me to take yarn... what was I to do but gracefully oblige?
If you'd like to read up on Wenlan's inspiring story, check out the article in the current issue of Knit.1 for more. My very own Chia-designer-throw will be featured here in just a few short days... if I can pull myself out from under it long enough for a photoshoot.
I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and giving your knitting some extra special face-time. It feels like the first time I've been able to take a breath and truly enjoy my knitting for some time. And it's wonderful.
[If you haven't gotten enough of Ms. Chia, see more photos from Twinkle here]
I'm so happy to finally be able to share this project with you all - I've been starry eyed for it for months, but didn't want to feature it here until the pattern was all set with t's crossed and i's dotted. She's all set now, though - and just in time for wintry knitting!
May I introduce my new favorite thing to have on my person at all times. In fact, I knit this in August while I was in the PNW (summer knitting is bearable there), but only recently, since the cold weather has hit us hard have I been getting to indulge myself. You'll see two versions shown here - the Blanket version (Yellow) is worked in an aran weight Wool/Llama blend (Cascade Pastaza) and the Shawl Version (Light Brown) is worked in fingering weight Shetland wool (Jamieson's Spindrift)(Swoon). They're both fantastic and so very different.
I'm consistently fascinated by how incredibly important yarn choices are when we knit, and how, especially with lace, a project can completely change in nature solely based on yarn construction, weight and fiber. My goal here was to provide a pattern that could have flexible function - if you want a big woolly throw to keep you warm this winter - you got it. If you want a more traditional, Shetland lace shawl - light as a feather and shockingly toasty - you can have that too!
The pattern is worked in the round with a traditional circular shawl construction - started in the center and increasing outward towards the edges as you work. A circular cast-on is recommended but not required - and if you've never tried one, I highly recommend it. You'll never go back! [Great tutorials here and here] My favorite thing about circular shawls is, as you may have guessed, absolutely no purling(!) - and this one is no exception. Also, every other round is plain knitting, so essentially half of the knitting is mindless stockinette, and that's always a plus in my book.
The pattern utilizes a knitted-on edging to finish off. Because elasticity is a prized quality in lace, any and all bind-offs should be avoided like the plague. Knitted-on edgings are a completely wonderful solution to this problem - not only are they equally elastic as the rest of your knitting, but they look great and add an interesting contrasting element (worked perpendicular to the rest of the shawl) to any design.
For you first time Knitted-On-Edgers, this is how it works: when you've reached the last official round of the center section of the shawl, you will no longer be working in the round. With the working yarn you cast on directly the number of sts for your edging (in this case 4) and begin working back and forth on those stitches in the edging pattern, joining the edging to your live shawl sts around the circumference as you go. It's a fascinating technique and a whoooole lot of fun. Read more about circular shawl construction + edgings here [Thanks, as always to Eunny for these exhaustively thorough, wonderful lace compendiums].
As with many of my other patterns, the bulk of the motifs are charted (I'm a chart freak, what can I say.) If you're new to knitting from charts, or want to brush up your skills here is a wonderful tutorial with lots of visual aids that I find very helpful. The pattern includes yardage/dimension/gauge information for both weights listed above, but I always encourage creative yarn choices and love to see how patterns play out with different yarns. Gauge in stockinette for the blanket version is approx 4 stitches per inch, and 6 stitches per inch for the shawl version. As always, though, gauge in lace is variable and should always be determined by your personal preference for the finished fabric.
The pattern is available for 6.50 (USD) in my Ravelry Store, for Ravelry members, or through Paypal. Just follow the buttons below.
The Brooklyn Tweed Guarantee: As a self-publishing designer, I strongly feel that it is my responsibility to you to present a quality product free of errors that is pleasing both from an aesthetic and practical point of view. All patterns that are self-published here at Brooklyn Tweed have been test knit by multiple knitters using various manufactured yarns to ensure the most pleasurable and intuitive knitting experience. I have personally prepared all diagrams and charts as well as knit/photographed samples and designed pattern layouts - soliciting the opinions of knitters prior to publication in an effort to streamline this product. I have done my very best to bring you a pattern that I am proud to stand behind fully. I do my best to respond to concerns or comments as soon as possible and, as always, thank you for your support and encouragement. Happy knitting! -Jared