Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Bevy of Swan Projects

It's my birthday today, and I've decided to mark the occasion by doing a post of selected swan-themed knitting patterns.

If you've ever wondered why my pseudonym is Orange Swan, the answer is that I chose it almost at random when I needed a username for an internet account back in 2001. Then in 2006, when I set up my first blog, it made sense to use the Orange Swan name because it was already familiar to a community of a few thousand people. Late in 2006, I bought my house and named it Swan's End (yes, I named a semi-detached, bite me), because I realized the swan had become my personal symbol. After I found an awesome swan candelabra at Value Village for $5, I began to buy appealing swan items whenever I came across them, which wasn't often. A friend wisely warned me that I wouldn't want to tell too many people what I'd named my house, because then they'd start giving me all kinds of swan crap, and most swan stuff is tacky. True that. You've seen those white plastic swan planters, right? I've found my best chance of getting nice swan items was to make them. I made the Art Nouvau counted cross-stitch cushion depicted above. But I've never knitted a swan project. So let's have a look at the best swan projects Ravelry has to offer.

This is the Wetwang design, by Ann Kingstone, and the pattern is available for £5.00(GBP). I quite like it. It's simple, effective, and wearable. But I think if I were to make it I would refer to it as my "swan sweater" rather than my "Wetwang". Wetwang is a Yorkshire Wolds village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, but the name has some seriously unfortunate connotations in modern parlance.

This is the Swan Lake & Lily Stole, designed by by Susan A. Reishus. It's available for $25.00(USD), which is by far the most expensive single pattern price I've ever seen. It is a lovely piece, but if I were to make this, I'd want to make it in a colour to get it away from the old-fashioned, doily-like effect it has in white.

This is the Swans A Swimming design by Sharon Winsauer. It's available for for $9.95(USD). I actually like this shawl design better on the whole than the previous one, because the lace pattern is gorgeous and the whole "kissing swans" thing is a little too twee for me, but I do wish this had a shape that was as good as that of the previous shawl. Shaped shawls lie better than rectangular ones.

I've posted previously about the Hexapuff technique, designed by Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits, and other Ravelry members have done some really impressive work by running with Dosen's concept. This chart, which was created by Jennifer Fabian, offers not only swan but penguin and raven lovers a way to customize their Hexapuffs. The chart is available as a free download.

This is the Spirit Swan Knitting Chart, by Melanie Nordberg, and its available as a free download. Melanie Nordberg, by the way, offers a variety of amazing charts on her Ravelry page. I've featured her work before in some of my theme pattern posts. Her charts would make a excellent starting point for someone who wants to design a themed afghan or sweater.

This is the Valkyries sock pattern, designed by Karen S. Lauger and available for $5.10(USD). The Valkyries are the amazons of Nordic mythology and the swan is one of their symbols. I don't know if I could stand to put shoes on over these. It might dilute the Valkyrie power.

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