Frank Lloyd Wright: If He Were to Knit a Shawl….

Remember that college application essay question, “if you were able to have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, fictional or non-fictional, who would it be, why, and what would you talk about?”

I think I tailored the answer depending on what college I was applying to. I think my go to character was Macbeth.

It’s been eons since then, and my interests have changed a little. I don’t need to pretend to have dinner with someone as tortured as Macbeth (— in fact, I think I would be scared to have dinner with him) to impress someone reading my college applications anymore!

shawl with legoIf I were to write that essay today, I think I would say that I would love to have a conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright. And, since I’m no longer an impressionable teenager, while I would politely listen to what he may have to say for himself, I think I would try to convince him to try knitting design as a creative outlet. Can you imagine the amazing shawls? The geometry, the balance….and what about sweaters? I think he would be killer.

Dream on!

However, we have a bevy of designers drawing inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright. Laura Aylor did just this, and last summer she published All the Shades of Truth. (Stop with the Fifty Shades of Grey snickers!!) It’s a great color block design, all in different shades of grey offset with white.

I wanted this shawl in the worst way. Otherwise, I would not knit 1,600 yards of garter. But you know that “project brain” that you get? When you can rationalize any amount of knitting, however complicated, because theoretically you can “do it”?

Well, my “project brain” went into overdrive. Perfect for working on during conference calls, it said. Just think how much you will wear this, it said. It will be a really nice break from lace, it said.

I had a really clear vision of what I wanted. I wanted greys and cream, like the original design, but I wanted a pop of color. And I had the perfect skein of orange-ish brick red from Hedgehog Fibres that would pay homage to Cherokee Red, which was supposed to be FLW’s favorite color. (I say homage because if I whipped this skein of yarn out at the fictional dinner, he would tell me that it is most certainly NOT Cherokee Red.)

How do I get the perfect greys for the shawl? Grey comes in various undertones, and I needed really clear greys of different values — no brown hues, no purple hues, perhaps a bit on the blue scale of things but just a touch. I was online with my friend Andrea from At Bullard Farm almost immediately. “Andrea, I need 3 different shades of grey,” I wrote her, “and these are the Pantone colors I want”.

Oh I am spoiled. Because with Andrea’s yarns, I don’t have to worry about the base. I know they are yummy. The base I used for the shawl is BFL Beauty (70% BFL, 20% silk and 10% cashmere). This is a base that takes color beautifully… And with Andrea’s sense of color and where she goes with her palette, I knew I could depend on her to produce the perfect grey shades for me!

I was right. The yarns were perfection. Now….the 1,600 yards of garter?

IMG_8648I actually finished knitting this in 5 weeks, back in July. Not so bad. I will give you one advice if you want to knit this shawl. LISTEN TO THE DESIGNER and carry the yarns through the work. I, of course, did not, and it took me for EVER to weave in the ends. I mean, five billion ends.

True to my prediction, I wear this cozy shawl all the time, with my grey (surprise!) winter coat.

IMG_8650As an aside, recently, the designer celebrated her birthday by hosting a giveaway of her patterns to her fans. Thank you Laura! I saw All the Shades (and the related cowl/scarf, Oak Park) up in the most popular patterns all week, so I expect many interpretations of her pattern popping up in Ravelry FOs. I have downloaded The Litchfield Shawl, so expect this shawl to creep into my WIP over the course of this year.

Now…..back to lace!

  1. Debbie said:

    Beautiful shawl! I have one that’s been in time out since about the time you finished yours. . . I have also done two Litchfields (Debbie4 on Rav) so I know you’ll enjoy that pattern as well!

  2. Kay said:

    Really nice shawl! I could almost do that one.

  3. Carol said:

    You finished Falling Waters as well! Both are lovely.

  4. Melinda said:

    Your color selection is magnificent! I have been able to find Bullard Farm and Hedgehog Fibers on-line, but can you share the names of the colors you used from each? Thanks.

    • Thank you so much!
      The Hedgehog is the orange and the color is called Rusty Nail.
      The cream and the greys are At Bullard Farm. The grey colors are: Rainy Sky, NY Gray, and Midnight Gray.

  5. achka said:

    I understand your “project brain” overdrive. This shawl is so beautiful, and it took me a long time to find the exact colours who would match perfectly (and some extra skeins flew into my stash as well – yey!). I will keep in mind the Pantone-reference. I love your color-combo, and At Bullard Farm did a very good job! I think my next one will have to be something like this. Love it!

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