FO & Pattern: Serpentine Avenue

Serpentine AvenueRemember the old joke about tombstones reading I told you I was ill? It was one of my uncles' favourite jokes, bless their socks. Though magnificently Gothic, Serpentine Avenue is not my tombstone, but it does allow me to say I told you I was knitting!

It is the first pattern release for the Karie Bookish Knits/Old Maiden Aunt autumn 2012 yarn club. At the moment it is only available to yarn club members, but the pattern will be made available for general consumption in January 2013 as part of an ebook.

The shawl was written for OMA Bluefaced Leicester 4ply. It used approximately 375 yrds and is knitted on 4 mm needles.

But I want to write a little bit about the design process involved in designing Serpentine and the other yarn club patterns.

When Lilith of OMA first approached me, I started out by creating a moodboard on Pinterest. Lilith had decided on yarn bases by that point and then dyed up some samples for me. What a privilege it was! I sat there surrounded by yarns and beautiful colours - and I had to figure out which yarn/colour combinations I wanted to use.

It was around that time I started sketching patterns. Lilith and I had already decided upon Sherlock Holmes & Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  as a common reference point between us. So, I wanted something gothic, something Victoriana, something vaguely burlesque, and something steampunkish.

And so I ended up with a stack of swatches and a stack of stitch patterns.

I finally cast on for Serpentine during the Olympics Opening Ceremony - it was to be my own Ravellenic Games project - but it flew off my needles. The only snag I hit was trying to decide upon the cast-off edging. I first used an elaborate crochet cast-off  and it worked nicely. Then I changed my mind as I know a lot of knitters are not very comfortable with crochet. It was a step too far, I felt. The crochet cast-off will be used in another pattern down the line.

The second cast-off was a picot cast-off. It was pretty - it was very pretty - and I was happy with it for a long time. I finished designing and knitting the two other yarn club patterns - and suddenly the picot cast-off did not work. Don't ever try to tinker back a picot cast-off on a shawl, dear readers. It was not fun and I did it two days before the photo shoot.

Serpentine Avenue

I am really looking forward to seeing people's shawls. A lot of people have already talked about its Gothic and Steampunk feel - and I am so, so pleased that people have made that connection. It was very much the intention.

Then, the photo shoot.

If I look pale and flustered, it is because I wore a corset. I could hardly walk and talk at the same time - however did ladies waltz in corsets? I bought the corset especially for the photo shoot from Corsets UK - my corset is of far better quality than I would have assumed given the very reasonable price tag and they have good customer service. I also bought some stunning handmade earrings from Cherryblossom on ebay - again, highly recommended.

And now back to work. You know, I told you I was knitting..