The Ardent Shawl with Malabrigo Handspun

The journey to this FO started a year (or more) ago when I got some beautiful Malabrigo Nube fiber. I had decided way back then that I wanted to knit a shawl out of handspun. That meant that I needed to make sport weight or lace weight, and for me, that meant spinning a 2-ply yarn. If I had done a 3-ply, it would likely result in a light DK or thicker yarn.

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Life intervened though and I only spun up half of the fiber. That half waited patiently in a closet for the day that might never come. I wasn’t even sure if I could still spin to be honest. Then entered the wettest winter California has seen in 10 years. Something about cold stormy days awakens the deep desire to work with wool. On rainy days my absolute favorite thing to do is to pour myself into the making of fibery things that will keep my loved ones and myself warm and cozy.

I finished spinning the second ply over a three day weekend, and only let it sit for a night for fear that I wouldn’t ply them for another year. I wasn’t sure what would happen with one ply having sat for over a year and the other ply only for 1 night. But, I plowed forward. The yarn itself won’t win any awards for balance, but it was the right thickness and Malabrigo colors never fail to amaze me. I got 304 yards out of the 4 oz. of fiber.

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Now to pick a pattern. I wanted a shawl that wasn’t too complicated. No charts or complicated repeats for me at this point of my working mom schedule. Plus, the handspun yarn can stand on its own. I didn’t want it to compete with a complicated pattern. I scoured Ravelry and was trying to decide between three similar shawls that could be easily modified to use up all of my handspun yarn.

Reyna by Noora Laivola has been in my favorites for a long time, it looks great with a marled yarn. The Citadel had a similar concept, of striping rows of lace and garter, also with a center spine, but with thinner stripes. Then I discovered Ardent by Janina Kallio, and it had thicker panels of lace and garter and it was more of a crescent shaped shawl (i.e. no center spine), but still in a v-shape for the most part. This gives it a lovely modern look of big side sweeping lace stripes. I fell in love.

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I couldn’t stop knitting this shawl.  The pattern was clear and easy to keep track of.  It starts at the small end, so progress is fast immediately. Then I just would sneak in row after row in the morning, before bed and at lunch if I had a spare 10 minutes. I had enough yarn to do an extra repeat, leaving only a tiny ball of unused handspun.

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I still wasn’t totally convinced after binding off that this was really the right pattern for the yarn, but it really came to life after blocking. It’s super light and lofty. The lacework is staying open and I was happy to see that the colors don’t overwhelm the lace stripes either. It’s light and warm and cozy as a dream.

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