Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Shell Game

So what's up with us having a green Christmas and a white Easter? This past weekend was cold, damp, snowy and overall, great for knitting. I have an idea as to what my summer projects will be but since it was still cold, I decided to resurrect Rheingold and get back at it. I always make my own charts when I'm making a Fair Isle sweater. I use stitch and motif maker and make a nice big colour chart. I love this pattern. It caught my eye from the start because I find that the Starmores tend more towards the jewel tones than the softer earth tones, pinks and lilacs I tend to favour. The greens, golds and coppers are right up my alley. I'm about 2/3 to the armhole steeks so I did "book it" a bit on the weekend. The Hebridean 2 ply is another of my desert island yarns. Each stitch is so wonderful. I find that projects using this yarn tend to become finished objects which is a big plus in its favour. I've enjoyed watching the older cherished patterns find new life in the Hebridean yarns. The colour pallet is much smaller than the yarns used when Alice Stamore was designing earlier yet the new interpretations are still stunning.

One classic Stamore pattern I've been jonesing to make forever is Luskentyre. Here is Luskentytre as it appeared in the rare and much sought after Scottish Collection. My buddy Hope actually knit that sweater for the photo in the book. I think it took her 47 minutes or something ridiculous. She lets me sit next to her at lunch some times and tells me again all about knitting it (after I beg her to tell me one more time). This also appealed to me because it was a design in delicate pastel shades - a departure from other colourways.

About 2 years ago, I heard from Virtual Yarns that they were planning to re work Luskentyre as a cardigan with a square neckline. Since Rheingold is a pullover and I prefer cardigans - I thought this would be right up my alley. The kit was posted recently and I fell hard. A surprise assignment for some freelance writing funded my purchase and the kit was soon winging its way to me from the Isle of Lewis. My Scottish grandmother who taught me how to knit is smiling from heaven for sure.

The picture doesn't really do the design justice. I believe it's a bit big for the model (Jade Starmore) and the sleeves look quite baggy. The sleeve picks up roughly the same number of stitches as other designs they produce but does not narrow down quite as much so is a bit fuller than normal but not quite as much as it appears to in the picture. The design itself is named after Luskentyre Beach in Scotland where the shells lie opened on the beach. The middle design is of this shell and gives quite an Art Nouveau sort of feel. I love Art Deco and Art Nouveau so this is probably a large part of the draw for me. I had a hard time imagining the colours used - the photos don't really show them off.

I had some left overs from other projects that matched the colours for Luskie and so, I swatched to get a sense of how it will actually look. I'm REALLY excited about this one. I think Alice Starmore has honoured the original design with a very elegant twist. I still love the original sweater and will most likely make it in the original yarns...some day.

To finish with a bit of a teaser...the Kromski Sonata arrived yesterday while I was away on business. I set it up tonight when I got home and spun on it a bit.

It rocks.

Full details after I've finished bonding with it.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,
I agree with you. The new version of Luskentyre really is stunning, thanks for showing your swatch. I am also working on the Rheingold right now and enjoying it very much. Happy knitting,

LadyLungDoc said...

That is beautiful! You are right about it having an art deco feel to it.

May said...

Michelle, Luskie looks so wonderful. I think I like new color way better. I need to lengthen my day by a few hours at least in order to accomplish what I want. Sigh. Rheingold looks fabulous, too.

rhcross said...

I love the Rheingold pattern and your knitting of this pattern is absolutely beautiful!

How much ease does Alice Starmore generally include? (I want to order this pattern but am unsure about what size to order.)

How long did it take to arrive? (I live in the US.)

Lastly, the Luskentyre is gorgeous.

Do you know anything about the alternate colorway for the Rheingold?

Thanks so much for sharing your work!

Robin (new to Alice Starmore projects)