Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Striped Esjan Shawl and Early Fall Baking

With all the looming holidays from Jewish, Christian, Pagan, and Secular you are definitely going to need a great party shawl.  And it doesn't matter what age you are it is always fun to get dressed up and wear something flirty with a bit flounce to a party.   The Striped Esjan shawl delivers just that with a sophisticated vibe to boot.  Roll on with the holidays!

I fell in love with this design a long time ago and made several attempts to knit it using contrasting stripes (as the design called for) but that just didn't work for me. I think the stripes made it too busy or something.  In any event I forgot about this pattern until I was trying to decide what to make with this gorgeous variegated yarn.  When walla I serendipitous remembered that I had some smoky grey mohair yarn for contrast and after that it was an easy decision to turn it into a Striped Esjan sans stripes, if that's possible.

Knitting with this yarn reminded me how much I love a variegated colorway.  For one thing I love how a highly variegated yarn becomes your own unique colorway based on how you use it.  For example if I had used this yarn to knit a pair of socks the yarn would have looked very different because the short rows would have pooled the colors very differently.  Or if I had used a different needle size, shawl design, or contrasting color it would have look different as well. With all the recent hype over speckled and brightly colored yarns I'd forgotten the unique beauty of variegated yarns. Where as a speckled yarn pretty much creates an identifiable homogeneous design.

It's thanks to Andi who writes the popular blog MySistersknitter that I found this yarn.  She often features lesser known Indie yarn dyers. When this dyer was on Andi's blog she called her shop Mountain Girl Yarns but subsequently she closed that shop and has since reemerged as Woolou Yarns. So many LYS and Esty sellers have closed over the last few years.  I don't know if that is due to fewer people knitting or the state of the economy in general.  I do know that there are some very popular dyers who can't dye yarn fast enough for demand but there are many more independent yarn sellers who struggle to make a living.  I try and be adventuresome and support the lesser known dyers.  After all you never know when you'll find a gem like this yarn! And diversity of choice is good for everyone.  We don't all want to be walking around wearing the same popular colorways, do we?  As awesome as some of them are! Note to self: snag a skein of speckled birthday cake ASAP. Incidentally I checked on Ravelry and there are only 7 projects made using Woolou Yarns.  Andi's beautiful Linus is one of them.  My yarn has been discontinued.

Particularls:  Striped Esjan; US 4 and 6 needles; 1 skein SW BFL/Nylon (464 yrd) dyed by Mountain Girl Yarns (colorway Big Creek) now known as Woolou Yarn; 1 skein kidsilk haze dyed by Hedgehog Fibers (colorway Crystal - left over from my Northern Skies Shawl).  I knit the body of the shawl (and all parts using Mountain Girl Yarns) using US 4 needles and I knit the kidsilk haze section using US 6 needles.  Because I had less of the Mountain Girl Yarn than the pattern required I knit the body until I had used 60% of my skein (leaving 40% for the edging).  That was a pretty good guesstimate and I almost made it... I ran out of yarn halfway through the BO and switched to a complimentary green color to finish.

Previous designs by Stephen West that I've knit include Pogona; The Doodler; and Marled Magic (pictured below).  I don't see myself doing a full post on Marled Magic but I am very happy with how it came out.  I knit the large (shanklet) size and I know that Steve is looking forward to using it this winter as a throw.

Early Fall Baking ~

It's not technically Fall yet.  I know that.  But September 1st saw me begin my day happily munching on a fragrant slice of pumpkin spice bread.  Already I feel the mornings are cooler and the evenings are getting dark earlier and small signs of fall are appearing about the house.  Soon colorful gourds will be predominately displayed and apple butter will be bubbling away on my stove top.  It's a very happy time for me as it celebrates many of the things that make life special including a welcoming home with a loving family, wonderful food, and an appreciation for the harvest.  And of course I get to wear the sweaters and socks that I spend so much time knitting!

If you are interesting in trying this Sourdough Pumpkin Spice Bread it's a free recipe from King Arthur Flour.  As it's made with a sour dough starter it's not your typical sweet bread.  It's more a breakfast bread that is nice toasted with your morning coffee, and I really enjoy it.  But if you prefer a sweet pumpkin bread you might try my Pumpkin Bread with Walnut Topping.

Until next time be well, love well and slow down and notice the early signs of Fall.  They can be subtle here in Southern California but they can be seen in the surrounding foliage, shifting daylight, and falling temperatures.  May you also have fun on your search for the perfect gourds and pumpkins to decorate your home!


Mereknits said...

Your new shawl is simply gorgeous. I am in love with the pattern and the contrasting yarn. Well done Claudia. Now get your husband to take you pout somewhere very special so you can wear it.

Anonymous said...

I love this shawl, Claudia. To me, it Is is a perfect marriage of yarn and pattern. (And not surprised that Stephen West has something to do with it.) Chloe

Claudia Bugh said...

Haha What a great idea Mereknits!!! I thank you in advance :)

Claudia Bugh said...

Thank you Chloe. He is amazing isn't he! I just love his designs and you certainly don't see yourself coming and going when you wear one of his shawls! lol Happy fall knitting :)

Emily at Crafty Like Granny said...

Hi Claudia. Our readers will love your latest post on this stunning shawl. We've included it in our craft inspiration roundup this week. Enjoy your fall knitting. Cheers Emily

Claudia Bugh said...

Hi Emily! I'm so happy that you like my shawl and are sharing it with your audience. I really like that your site has lots of fall inspiration and DIY projects in addition to knitting projects. I will definitely be brousing for project ideas! lol

Tracy said...'s sooo good to see you after so many long!! :) Wow.. thank you for stopping by my blog, and for leaving a comment. We just love the English-style Christmas cake recipe that you shared many years ago. It's one of the highlights of our Christmases... Thank you! How wonderful to see you still here... and still creating the most beautiful and exquisite knitwear... and baking too. YUM to both yarn goodness and sweet! ;) This shawl is gorgeous--the lace-effect is lovely this the holes and the wave pattern. I love pumpkin bread! I must try your recipe. Thank you for many years of inspiration and beauty. :)

Claudia Bugh said...

It's wonderful to connect again Tracy!!! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoy my Christmas Cake recipe (I make it twice a year now as my mom wants it for her birthday cake too). The funny thing is your cupcake recipe is my go-to recipe for summer cupcakes :))) You have likewise added so much to my life with your art, sweet spirit, and creativity so thank you too for your years of inspiration and beauty. And a big welcome back to the blogosphere!

my sisters knitter said...

Oh your knits are always beautiful. You have the most brilliant way with color selections.
I need to start saving your blog to read before I go grocery shopping. Inevitably I end up wanting to make every recipe you share!
Thank you for the lovely mention. There are so many wonderful lesser known indie dyers and I feel like it is my pleasure to be able to find them and share them with people.