Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Liliaceae Saga (aka the Karma Shawl)

About a month ago my mother and I went to the Amana Colonies and, at my insistence, we went to the Woolen Mill. I love this place. Not necessarily the clothing they sell (definitely not my style), but you can see back into the mill and see the huge looms and fondle all the wool blankets, and occasionally they have mill-end yarn for sale. On this particular day two ladies were there, spinning on wheels in the middle of the factory floor. I stopped to talk with them, and in the course of our conversation (which was delightedly long and animated) she pressed skein after skein of homespun into my hands. I insisted I couldn't, but she insisted I do, so in the end I walked away with about one thousand yards of her yarn, all natural and undyed. All in all there was a 200-yard skein of lambswool silk (so so soft), 300 yards of buffalo(!), and a 500-yard skein of llama. I nearly cried I was so happy and grateful.

I decided that there was no way I could keep all of it. No way. But since she wasn't taking any of it back (and I have her business card), I would knit her something and give it back in return.

I picked the liliaceae shawl from ravelry. It's part scarf, part shawl, and I had the right amount and weight of the yarn I needed, so I cast on. And I knit. I loved the charted lace, the short rows were new to me but i found I loved their little intriguing flip, and the i-cord bind-off just looks so polished.

That picture there was when the shawl was still natural, and completely unblocked. I had a small ball left, and I managed to knit two and a half lace swatches to experiment with dyeing in kool-aid. I liked the brown, but I wanted something purple, and a little richer in color. In the picture below, the larger swatch was done all in purple kool-aid, and the smaller one was 1/2 purple and 1/2 blue.

In the end I decided on a 5/1 ratio of purple to blue (the blue really took over, but I thought it needed a bit of the cooler tint). Without any blue, it looked purple in natural light, but brown inside. The final dye didn't quite turn out as I expected, but it is still a lovely color.

At this very moment the shawl is blocking, and I'm experimenting with overdyeing one of my purple swatches in a light, less concentrated blue dye bath to see how it turns out. Of course, if I dyed it again, I'd have to block it again.

Thoughts? Opinions? I can't wait to see the final project off the pins. I was a bit worried because one of the plies was significantly overspun, and I thought it might have the potential to un-kink itself and leave little loops all over my shawl, but it bloomed wonderfully.

Oh, and I made a peach-cranberry-banana-apple cobbler-bake-type thingie. It smells really good. Like sweetness and tart and cloves. Yum.


  1. I was really curious to see how this would turn out when you mentioned it the other night! I really like the richness of the blue, but the purple (even how it turned out) is a nice, subtle color.

  2. thanks! i'm still getting used to it, like, you know when you have a vision for something and it's not quite what you had in your mind? and you just have to learn to appreciate the beauty of what it is instead? yeah, i'm in that place.