This time last year I was feeling pretty stagnant, I was ready for a challenge, for something new. My goal at the beginning of 2016 was to really delve into lace projects and start designing the interesting and challenging lace pieces that I like to knit. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for simple knitting and I definitely can appreciate the harmonious and meditative qualities of working on something straightforward. When life is too fast and furious, fleet and cranky, quick and quarrelsome.. okay you get the (tokyo) drift. If you need something decidedly quiet to work on, something soothing and rhythmic and simple... this is not the pattern for you.
Ivory Spires is interesting and inspiring, it has lace and cables and beads and it is involved. This pattern is a pattern you will have a relationship with, you will fall in love and need to woo her. You will have to learn her mysterious ways, you may even have a tiff or two and at the end you will have an heirloom quality piece that stops people across the room.
Ivory Spires was the first shawl that I designed in 2016, I started it on a trip to the Madrona Fiber Festival in Tacoma with my best friends. I had purchased a couple skeins of Mill Ends from Bijou Basin Ranch earlier that month, and was excited to start something... big. I had never worked with the yak yarn before and was curious about how it was to knit with, long story short... amazing! The stitch definition is just so lovely, and it is the perfect yarn for cables and lace.
I had this idea rumbling around in my head for another 'wingspan' shawl, ever since I designed the Palomino Sunset shawl and loved the shape of how it fit my shoulders. Ivory Spires has the same center triangle with increases every second row and two outer triangles with double increases every second row. Because the side sections have double increases on the outside edges they fan out at a faster rate than the center one creating this shape that fits on the shoulders really nicely.
This design is really a love letter to my Japanese stitch dictionaries, I have... a few... at this point, and by few I mean at least 6 but I am pretty sure there are more downstairs. I can't get enough of the cables and lace combinations, they speak to my love of ornament and detail. And for this design I really wanted to allow myself to fall into that patterning, to create a shawl that was unapologetically rife with cables, lace and beads.
The shawl is worked from the top down with a tab construction, this tab is worked in a double knit edging with a single garter stitch to pick up along but it is the same basic idea as a normal top down tab shawl. The double knit edging (which looks like an i-cord edging but flatter) is continued up the edges of the shawl all the way to the border. The center triangle is worked with a large motif lace pattern, with small mock cables and beads. The 'wings' on the side are worked with columns of twisted stitches and mock cables interspersed with beads.
When I was designing this shawl I was picturing an image of a lonely Ivory castle perched on the edge of a craggy cliff, the soaring spires are flecked with glittering amber panes and the architecture is a mix of angles and organic forms carved with detail and precision. I hope you enjoy knitting this pattern as much as I did, I would love to see photos when you do knit it!