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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mar Menor - A New Design

The last design in the Amazing Luxury Knits Collection has been published. 'Mar Menor' is a small shawlette knitted in one skein of Araucania Botany Lace, which is, despite it's name, a sock weight yarn (4ply/fingering weight) yarn. I fell in love with the colour but a variegated yarn like this isn't always good with a lace pattern so I decided on a pattern that had a lot of stocking stitch with a few yarn over rows and cross stitch rows. I've recorded a video demonstrating the elongated cross stitch pattern and you can watch it here. 
Before I started this shawl and decided which stitch patterns and exactly what shape I wanted it to be, I already knew I wanted to use this beaded picot cast off. I had some beautiful miracle/illusion beads which are much bigger than the beads I normally use and they worked perfectly. If you can't get the miracle/illusion beads, look for some other round beads with a whole big enough to get a 0.75 or 0.5mm crochet hook through or you can use size 6 seed beads.
The elongated cross stitches work really well with a variegated yarn. However, this shawlette would look equally good in a solid yarn. I used the same cross stitch pattern in my Cross Stitch Shawl & Scarf and in the Maja shawl which was published in Knitty in 2008. I've recorded a video which you can watch here. I also teach this technique plus several other elongated stitch techniques in my Daisy Class (the next workshop is on 29 May at Spin A Yarn).
The shawlette is worked in a half-hexagon shape but there are double yarn overs (yarn forward) on every right side row and this creates longer front section, making it perfect to wrap around your neck.
When I started thinking about a name for this design, I was thinking  a lot about Spain. We are planning to go to Spain on holiday again this year and we're getting close to booking it which is probably why it was on my mind. My parents own a holiday flat south of Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca. It's a very populated area with lots of beaches.

Just south of the Costa Blanca is Mar Menor (on the Costa Calida) which is a salt water lake separated from the Med by a strip of land called La Manga. We love the beaches around Mar Menor although we avoid the La Manga side as it's a big resort full of high rise hotels. Driving through it once was enough.
 The water here is a few degrees warmer than the Med & in August it's a bit like tepid bath water. Early or late in the season when the Med is a bit cooler, the Mar Menor is still pleasantly warm. It's also very shallow here, which was perfect when we first visited this area as the girls were much younger and it was a lot safer for them to play in the water.
 When we first visited this area, the beach was mainly used by Spanish visitors. You rarely heard foreign voices on the beach but now there are a lot of Northern Europeans here. In my pictures the beach looks very quiet but it actually gets really busy in August. Everyone want to sit right down by the water and it's packed.
We tend to visit the beaches around Los Alcazares which is just south of Murcia Airport. In the mornings there are often acrobatic flying teams practising in the skies above the beach and in the afternoon the tourist flights start coming in.
Above is a slightly busier day on the beach. One of the most interesting things about this beach is that it's very popular with older Spaniards. Every morning from about 10am there are lots and lots of Spanish pensioners standing in the water (up to their chest) in big groups. They just seem to spend all morning in the water chatting. Then at 2pm then go home for lunch & siesta. I've not got any photos of it but it's a really funny sight and quite noisy. When you go swimming all you hear is a background noise of lots of Spanish chatter. Not a bad way to spend your retirement.

I kept thinking about Mar Menor and in the end decided to name this design Mar Menor. I can imagine wearing strolling along the Mar Menor beach promenade in the evenings at sunset. The beaches where we visit have a long (very long) beach promenade with little outdoor restaurants dotted along it. There are some play areas too. It's a lovely area to stroll along in the evenings and it attracts a lot of cyclists too.
Emily very kindly modelled for me this week and I think she's getting good at this modelling stuff.
If you've got a special skein of sock yarn in gorgeous colours, this is the design your looking for.
The pattern can be purchased separately or as part of the Amazing Luxury Knits Collection. If you subscribed to the collection you will have received your pattern automatically by now. I will now start to compile all the designs for the Amazing Luxury Knits Collection into an e-book and subscribers will automatically be notified when the e-book is ready for download.
Look at those pretty beads. You know you want to knit this shawl. Go for it.


Ann said...

Lovely shawl. I like the look of the cross stitch.

Unknown said...

That's really nice. I knit a lot of lace shawls. And love handpainted yarn, and you're right. They don't always go together. This pattern showcases that handpainted very well.