Mythaca: Inspired Design
Every year for Knit Ithaca I design something truly unique, inspired by my hometown. This year we enjoyed a virtual retreat, and in its honor I designed Mythaca for us to knit together.
Many of my designs are inspired by yarns I discover. Playing with the yarn; seeing how it knits up and how it drapes, is what allows my imagination to go wild with all the possibilities. It’s like the yarn tells me what it wants to be, and then I figure out how to bring that into fruition!
Last September, Marcia, from Undeniably Loopy, sent me a yarn she developed from scratch working with a cross of Suffolk, Texel, and Horned Dorset colored wool from Finger Lakes farms, and milled locally. Fingerlakes Fingering has an amazing amount of character: It’s farmy and toothy, yet soft and slippery. It’s sturdy but fine. I knew immediately that this yarn wanted to be a shawl, and that it was substantial enough to hold up to a significant number of pre-strung beads.
I called her right away to ask how many skeins she had, and if I could buy them all. I became the proud owner of 200 skeins of beautiful, undyed farm-to-needle yarn, which comprise the base color for the Mythaca kits. I could not love it more (and I wish I could get more!)!
The second yarn used in these kits is Ellsworth from my dear friend Jill Draper Makes Stuff. Ellsworth is milled in New Hampshire from Dorset wool raised in New York. It’s a beautiful rustic lace weight yarn with a single ply structure that blocks crisply, resulting in excellent stitch definition.
I love the heathered hues of Ellsworth, which lends itself well to the subtle color pairings I’ve selected for each of the four kits.I then made one of a kind bead mixes for each color using a variety of Size 6 Japanese seed beads from Miyuki, Matsuno and Toho!
When designing Mythaca I played with the idea of a birds eye view of the Fingerlakes for the top of the shawl. Then I imagined the way the water trickles down from a waterfall, pooling in between the rocks before seeping down into the subterrain. At the bottom of the shawl I echo the clouds seen most days in this part of the Northeast. Can you see each of these features when you look gaze upon Mythaca?
The pattern difficulty can be scaled up or down depending on what kind of knitting experience you want. The “rocks” section can be done in brioche, or simple garter stitch. I also offer options for the “clouds” at the bottom of the shawl so that the lace can be more or less intricate depending on your mood!
As for the beads, they are pre-strung in the “lake” section, and placed in the “rocks” section. If you haven’t knit with beads before this will give you a good taste of both techniques.
I love giving you options so that you can enjoy working up my designs wherever you’re at in your knitting journey. Being a newer knitter doesn’t mean you can’t do an intricate design, it just means you might need some support while you do it!
On that note I am happy to report that this pattern (and kit) also comes with an exclusive hour long video that teaches the techniques I use to construct Mythaca. It should answer many of the questions that could arise, and help you feel supported and confident taking on this design.