Introducing ... My Life's Work as a Knitter
If we've ever spoken at one of Alberta's many excellent fibre festivals, you likely already know that knitting sits low on my yarny abilities list. Like right at the bottom low - beneath crochet and weaving to be sure. Yet somehow I managed to complete Stephen West's Dotted Rays Shawl in 2022.
I'll be honest - it took two attempts. The first time (say 2019?) I gave up at the provisional cast-on. A few years later I was at it again, and this time, thanks to Stephen's helpful video tutorial and very thorough instructions, I was able to complete the project. It's not perfect - the dotted rays don't always match up, but luckily, my selection of yarns makes this a very forgiving project (a must for all of my knit projects).
I now refer to it as my life's work as a knitter. I kid you not - I don't think I'll ever be able to top this gorgeous work of art. Here's how I did it:
Double-stranding Natural Canvas Alpaca Yarn with Slub Merino Yarn and Fluffy Alpaca Blends Yarn
Around the time I made another attempt at the Dotted Rays pattern, I started carrying my Natural Canvas Alpaca Yarn in bulk quantities (in fingering and DK weight). I wanted to provide an exquisite luxury yarn in a neutral colour - which the natural grey of this yarn accomplishes without any dyeing on my part!
If you haven't experienced it yet, alpaca yarn looks and feels like you would expect a luxury yarn to - warm, durable, silky and light. Alpaca is a shorter staple yarn, and so it has a halo, somewhat reminiscent of the mohair halo effect.
Alternating Slub Merino Yarn and Fluffy Alpaca Blends Yarns for the win
Slub Merino is one of my standout yarns because it is so. Incredibly. Fun. One ply of sproingy superwash merino wool is spiral-plied with one ply of nylon to create a gorgeous, textured yarn with fun little fuzzy bits (the slubs, they are called). I use this yarn in almost of of my handwoven projects, and wanted to share the love in a knit format.
Around the time I started carrying my Natural Canvas Alpaca Blends Yarn in bulk, I also started carrying my Fluffy Alpaca Blends Yarn. Mohair was all the rage at the time (and still is, and always will be), and I wanted to carry something mohair...adjacent? A yarn that wouldn't drive me crazy to use. If we've ever chatted, you also likely know that I can be somewhat impatient with my yarny projects. Don't even get me started on lace!
Colourway Selection in this Project
Stephen suggests adding pops of colour to the dotted rays rows, but as usual, I did the opposite. I used just the Natural Canvas Alpaca Blends Yarn (fingering weight) for the dotted rays rows, and then alternated Slub Merino Yarn and Fluffy Alpaca Blends Yarn (both fingering weight) for the larger sections as follows:
In Bloom Fluffy Alpaca Yarn
In Bloom Fluffy Alpaca Yarn
Once I started adding colour, I couldn't stop. These colours harken back to my childhood (hello 1970s), and I find them both lively and comforting. If you need help selecting colours, send me a message! I'm happy to do colour consults.
See also: Textured Twosomes
If you're curious about using Slub Merino Yarn and Fluffy Alpaca Blends Yarns in your next knit, crochet or weaving project, you should also check out my Textured Twosomes Yarns. Created specifically to give you a taste of both of these fun yarns, I've created some gorgeous colour pairings that should make you go "ooohhhhhh!"
Be sure to check out my website - www.neatnikyarns.com - for all this yarny goodness and more! Follow me @neatnikyarns on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to find out more about my hand dyed yarns and Fibre Adventures!
Neatnik Yarns are big and bold hand dyed yarns made in small batches in Edmonton, Alberta. Transform your woven, crochet and knit projects into works of art!