Having worked on this for almost a year, now I’m not sure what to say about it. 😀
Viajante is a shawl pattern by Martina Behm. I nicknamed it “The Pink Thing” because nobody watching me knit it could figure out what it was. Basically, it’s a large stockinette stitch cone, with a garter stitch section at the narrow end and a border of mesh lace on the wide end. The whole thing is knit on the bias by increasing two stitches on every round on one side of the circle while decreasing two stitches every other round on the other side. You can wrap it around your shoulders like a shawl or pull it over your head like a poncho. I’m not sure what attracted me to it in the first place. I mean, I like what it looks like, but it was clear that it was going to involve a lot of (boring) mindless knitting, and usually I’m a process knitter more than a product knitter. I gave myself a year to finish it, because without a deadline of some sort, it was doomed to become a UFO. In the end, it wasn’t the miles of stockinette stitch that did me in, but the mesh lace border. The stockinette stitch was sort of meditative, but I had to pay attention to the mesh lace (eek!), plus working 100+ SSK’s in a row was hard on my hands.
Although it’s generally an easy pattern, there were a few hiccups at the beginning. Behm used Wollmeise Lace-Garn. I chose Shimmer, a laceweight yarn from KnitPicks that I’d wanted to use for a while. Too bad it looked wretched at the gauge called for: all loose and limp like cheesecloth. If the gauge swatch was having trouble holding its shape, imagine what an entire shawl was going to look like. I went searching for suggestions and answers on Ravelry and learned that despite its name, Wollmeise Lace-Garn is more like a light fingering yarn. But I was determined to use the Shimmer—what else was I going to do with it?—so I bought more of it and tried again with the yarn held double. This was definitely the way to go. It may be heavier than a shawl made from Lace-Garn would have been, but it’s still sheer and light. Shimmer is 70% alpaca and 30% silk, so it’s plenty warm for its weight (and soft!). And as it turned out, holding the two strands together made the coloring more interesting. Lamb switches between pink and white with no intermediate shades. Using the yarn doubled resulted in parts that are white and parts that are pink, but mostly the shawl is a heathered pink, and overall the effect is remarkably like marbling.
The final dimensions were 58½” (149 cm) long by 62″ (157 cm) wide. Behm’s schematic shows a nice cone shape. Mine is more like an L. I suspect using M1 increases on every round distorted the fabric. I did try to knit those stitches loosely, but, well, it’s an easy thing to forget. It’s only noticeable when the shawl is laid out flat, though. If anything, the added curve makes it easier to drape the shawl around my shoulders. Perhaps I should have noticed that in the pattern photos, Behm models the shawl herself and she’s much taller than I am. Depending on how I wear it, I can feel a little lost in the final product!
Yarn: KnitPicks Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn
Needles: 4 (3.5 mm), 6 (4.0 mm)