Last year I posted a video of my friend Kristine from A Verb for Keeping Warm dyeing some yarn with indigo. That was the beginning of this design, as we worked on possible colours for their shawl club that I could use. We settled on an amazingly rich, foresty deep green and I took a still damp skein home to work up the sample with, along with another skein in a silvery grey for swatching. The concept of a shawl knit end to end with reversible cables that flow in and out of the edging was one I'd swatched a little before. But I'd used a yarn that wasn't ideal and I ended up shoving it away in a drawer. Believe me, about seventy five percent of my knitting never actually sees the light of day and for every finished sample I've probably knit about 3 times as much and ripped or discarded it. Editing, and knowing when to continue re-working an idea and when to discard it is such an important aspect of my design process but one of the hardest to explain. It's often almost instinctual and sometimes an idea that didn't work will bubble away in the back of my mind until the right materials come along.
That's what happened in this case, I'd tossed out the whole idea and had no real plans to return to it. However the smooth Annapurna seemed perfect for the cables. When I realised that the other designers in the club where working on delicate (and beautiful) lace, I thought it might be nice to throw in some variety.
Right before I left California we drove past an amazing landmark that I'd visited on another trip and I remembered how inspiring I'd originally found the semi-circles along the roof and doors of the Marin County Civic Center.
My initial swatches for this concept had involved more elaborate diamonds along the edge, and the turns of the points were one of the aspects I wasn't happy with. That building inspired me to try out simpler curves along one side of the shawl, and the swatches in the new yarn were exciting rather than drawer worthy.
Marin was published at the beginning of the year for members of The Proverbial Club, but it's now available for everyone for £3.75.
We (uh, Rebecca) used that silvery grey Annapurna I'd used in the "sketching" with swatches phase of the design process to knit up a new sample. It's always interesting for me to see how a design works in different colours. Although I was part of creating the deep green used in the club and adore the colour, I'm excited about how well the grey shows the bones of the design.
The grey is A Verb for Keeping Warm Annapurna in Supernova, and if you've fallen in love with it, don't worry - they're dyeing up some more :)