Ropes and Cables

I wrote a piece last week about a name for a shawl that I’ve just finished.  As I mentioned, I spent a long time getting the combination of stitches just as I wanted them.  My idea was to have ‘ropes’ with lace panels between them.  I used a simple wrap stitch for the rope effect, followed by a yo (yarn over for the non-knit literate) and a single knit stitch.  This gave a sort of very small scale rope and ladder effect.  I was also pretty certain that I wanted a simple lace panel.
I have two volumes of stitches dictionaries by Hitoma Shida that are a fabulous source of inspiration. While most of the patterns within these are just too complicated for my taste, they do offer ideas and creative signposts for stitch combinations.  For this particular shawl, I’d seen a simple 12 stitch, 24 row pattern with a 4 stitch cable in the middle. It’s easy to work and I think gives a nice effect.  Once I had settled on the pattern and got started, it took a lot of confidence in my decisions to keep going.  I’ll be honest, it looked like I was creating a lovely 4 ply alpaca dish cloth!  I kept stretching the fabric and yes it looked how I wanted but oh my, on the needles it did not look good.  As it’s a side to side shawl, the pattern did sort of emerge as the shawl got deeper. And as it’s a long, long shawl I knew it was going to drape well as the alpaca, linen and silk yarn worked well.  The silk gives it a lovely sheen and the colour was just as I wanted – from my Avocado dyeing experiements.
photo of Arthur Shawl being modelled
Meet Arthur

I mentioned in my last post that I had no idea what to call it. Daughter #1 suggested that the cable twists looked like moths. This produced a number of suggestions – ‘dusky moths’ I’m wary of using colour or shade in a pattern description as it won’t work if someone decides to use neon yellow.  Another included ‘moth vine’ – not sure about this but I definitely will keep ‘vine’ in my ideas cupboard for further use. Moth lines, moth poles and moth days were others.  Daughter #1 then sent me the latin name for the moth phylum.  Arthrapoda is the largest phylum of living things in the animal kingdom. They include crustaceans, (prawns and lobsters etc), spiders, insects and of course Moths!  So there it was – Arthrapod shawl becomes Arthur.

I know it’s a bit of a leap, but once I had made that leap it couldn’t be anything else.


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