Alia and Lady Jessica

Large hand knit green shawl

The large version of Alia is pretty big

The reason I went to my first science fiction convention was the new man I was dating, he was the Director of Photography and he wanted me to see what he did there. And truly I had a blast, it was all completely new and fun and crazy. But there was an … incident.

While the man (my future husband) was busy shooting the late night, scantily clad woman contest he had a run-in of sorts with a major science fiction author who had come down to … observe … the festivities. It just so happened that we had recently gone on a road trip where we had both read this gentleman’s most recent book. Trying to make small talk my man mentions this to the author.

“So, what do you both think of the book?” the author asked. My man’s response? “Well, I enjoyed it. But my girlfriend hated it.”

You can imagine when this man was regaling this story to me. This author, an author that I have been reading since I was probably 10 years old, he told Larry Niven that I hated his new book? My reaction was not polite.

But the conversation continued. Larry asks “Why didn’t she like it?” and my man who was in peril of not becoming my future husband says (because we had actually discussed it). “She felt that all of the female characters were very throw away and that the main character was very fickle.” To which Larry responded “I can see that. I had a story I wanted to tell and he kept wanting to settle down and get married. So I had to kill his girlfriends off.”

That had always struck me as odd – how could the character behave in a manner inconsistent with the authors wishes? I never understood, until now.

The Small version

Lady Jessica, more complex and fancy

I set out to create a simple shawl, something significantly less complicated than Atreides but that still had some lace. Something that was more like a little sister to the first shawl, which is where Alia started. Something simple. Something with no work on the “rest” rows. It took me awhile to develop the motif but once I got it I thought it would be smooth sailing.

But the shawl, she kept wanting to go her own way. She wanted to be fancier, more complex. But I had a goal and I fought the urges. For awhile. And then I gave in and started making notes. I was not going to abandon my simple shawl with it’s simple trim, but I would also make the shawl that wanted to be made. Which turned out to be Lady Jessica, the mother. The consort who was so much more complex than just a simpering lady.

A close up of the lace

The detail on a small Alia

Lace detail on the small Lady Jessica

The differences are subtle, but they really add up. Alia is more open and relies heavily on the negative stockinette space. The trim is simple and provides balance to the motifs strewn along the shoulder line.

Lady Jessica has detailing cascading down the stockinette ground, breaking the stockinette up into mirrored pools of space and then they resolve into a much more complex lace trim. A trim I am particularly proud of because it came totally out of my little brain.

Both shawls are worked in Sport weight yarn and come in a large and a small, although the difference between the sizes vary. In Alia  the difference is significant, the small is a shawlette and the large is the biggest shawl I have made so far. The difference between the sizes of Lady Jessica is more subtle. The small is comparable to the small Alia but the large does not take the yardage that the large Alia requires.

There are also differences between the large and small versions of both shawls – but really, this has gotten long enough and I can address that in another post, no?

3 thoughts on “Alia and Lady Jessica

  1. They are both lovely–and I love Atreides as well. I wandered among your patterns for a good while before ended up here! I’m not an experienced knitter of shawls but I’ve wanted to try and now one of these is calling me. I also love the information about how to use variegated yarn, because it always calls me in the skein and hates me in the piece. In the past, I’ve ended up overdyeing a lot of yarn, but something like this would let me use it in the original.

    Of course, since due to the above I’ve trained myself out of buying variegateds, I’ll need to go find some….

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