I know my mention of a delectable little shell intrigued many of you, and confused even more :).
Well, I was referring to the shape of the thing, not an actual sleeveless sweater :). This little shell and many others are part of my newest design, the Mother of Pearl scarf!
I teamed up with Crystal Palace Yarns to bring you this pattern, and it is available for free on their website. All the details are contained within, of course. Naturally, the pattern has also taken up residence on Ravelry.
I’m including some pattern history, interesting tidbits, and more photos after the fold, if you’re inclined to take a look ;).
This pattern has been in the works since the Spring of 2007. Back then I got my hands on a pearly white ball of Panda Wool by Crystal Palace Yarns (since then replaced by Panda Superwash), and the shimmer had me hooked!
At that time I was thinking about dimensional knitting – how to make knitted designs pop from the background – so Panda Wool, a yarn with a tight twist, a bouncy feel, and shimmer, was an instant winner.
For the 3-D aspect, I played with many different ideas – making elongated stitches, increasing and decreasing quickly, divorcing the standard pairing of yarn overs and decreases. The shells emerged next – oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops suddenly appeared, and seemed to belong when knit up in the pearly yarn. I thought, “It’s all pointing to nacre, or mother of pearl.”
I tried to keep things in perspective and not get too complicated, however, arranging elements in a way that made sense while delivering the desired visual. So, all the crazy increases happened in the same row, and all the unusual, funky stuff happened a few rows later, and then there had to be several rows of “smooth sailing” – no need for a chart, just finish off the pattern repeat as it plays itself out.
This is the original swatch! It made its way to Interweave, where unfortunately it was not selected to be in one of their issues. A year-long hibernation followed during which I had to live my life (engaged! married! new job! moved!), but I never, ever forgot my Mother of Pearl design. Just something about it… I guess it took a lot of thought to make those shells appear exactly as I wanted, and I insisted that they be shared with the world!
It occurred to me that perhaps Crystal Palace Yarns would be willing to provide me with some yarn if I wrote the pattern for them. Bingo! Susan Druding (CPY founder, owner, director, you name it!) was very excited about the project, and helped me select the appropriate yarn – Panda Silk DK.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute! Didn’t the yarn inspire the pattern? How could you swap it out for something else?” Simple. It’s a better choice for this pattern, a choice which wasn’t available back in May 2007! This yarn has an incredible amount of drape without a hint of limpness. It’s very soft, it’s shiny, and it’s a bit thicker than the original (DK versus fingering-weight – one knits up much quicker than the other!).
CPY Panda Silk DK (from top left corner, clockwise): Frosted Iris (9800), Mint Cream (6008), Frosted Rosewater (2510), Café Mocha (6021), Misty Meadow (1012).
Between you and me, Mint Cream is my absolute favorite of the bunch. However, to keep true to the pattern, I used Frosted Rosewater to knit the CPY sample – it’s a much likelier MOP color, don’t you think?
Yes, note the body, the height, the profile of that thing! Just a few inches in, I knew that my design knit up in Panda Silk DK was going to be a good one ;). Several feet later, here it is!