This is week 14 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.
Adenydd is worked in Galler Yarn Prime Alpaca Heather, a sportweight 100% alpaca yarn.
As I did with my last book, I’m ending this book with a “magnum opus” — a large, complicated and gorgeous pattern that will (hopefully) get people’s hearts racing and minds expanding.
It had been more than a year since Spring Willow came out as a pattern, and I hadn’t done any other double-knit lace. Not one to rest on my laurels, and of course with a book coming up, I felt I had to do one more thing in double-knit lace to really show off the possibilities. And what better than a shawl? There are so many shawls out there — it’s a popular garment to really show off a pattern or a yarn. I had designed one before, but it was a simple triangle worked from the point up. I wanted to branch out, so I took advantage of my local guild’s speaker series and took a workshop with Anna Dalvi. I learned about various shawl shapes and how to break them down into manageable chunks. I had chosen a lace pattern I wanted to use (again, from one of the Walker treasuries), but then I decided I wanted to use Faroese construction — from the center of the longest side of the triangle outward, ending with the two other sides of the triangle. In this direction, the lace pattern I had chosen would have ended up upside down — and since it was supposed to evoke feathers (or perhaps scales) on wings, the orientation was important. I began playing with the chart — first just flipping it upside down, then tweaking what didn’t work. Eventually, I asked for help from more experienced lace designer MMario while at the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat, and he made some suggestions that pointed me in a different direction. I ended up scrapping the original pattern altogether and building a new one from scratch, which finally gave me a more significant understanding of lace design than I had previously.
For years I have been going to local sheep and wool festivals; here in New England there are plenty. Years ago I came across a few vendors that sold giant hanks of sportweight alpaca for very reasonable prices. They had different names but all seemed to be more or less interchangeable; I assume that this was because the fiber was all processed at the same mill. These hanks were all in natural alpaca colors — any color you like, as long as it’s white, cream, brown, charcoal or black. Much later, I was in a yarn shop in Brooklyn and found a dyed version of the same yarn: same giant hanks, good price, but a variety of amazing colors which I hadn’t seen before in this context. I was excited to try it, and bought a couple of colors that, in retrospect, were perhaps not the best. But I loved working with the yarn and contacted the company, Galler Yarns, for more in better colors. They were happy to help, in exchange for assistance in plugging their yarn on social media. Well, that’s no problem — I would have done that anyway.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a shawl meant to evoke the image of wings. Whether bird wings or dragon wings I’m not sure — the feathers could just as easily be scales. Perhaps it depends on the colors you pick. Anyway, given the Celtic knotwork motif around the wings, I figured a Gaelic word would be ideal. However, the word for wing (sgiath) in Gaelic isn’t terribly friendly to the English palate, so I looked into surrounding cultures. In Welsh, the word for wing is adain and the word for wings is adenydd. I know a little Welsh pronunciation so I amended that to “Adenyth” to make it easier to say. My Welsh step-stepmother (long story) told me that’s not right — evidently, I don’t know enough Welsh pronunciation after all. The -dd is pronounced as a hard -th, as in “the” or “there”, and replacing it with a soft -th could make it a different word. In fact, it’s not — Adenyth is just a proper name and has no other meaning that I could find — but I decided it’d be better to have a unique name for this pattern and a teaching moment, and save Adenyth for a derivative pattern I have in mind for later.
This pattern will be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!