I have now knit the Burning Branch Shawl three times in a row, by which I don’t mean I’ve knit three different shawls, but the same shawl three times. If nothing else, this is a testimony to my stubborness.
As I’ve been knitting my way through one shawlette after another, I’ve been analyzing them, trying to figure out which designs are easier to wear. The triangular ones come in so many lovely patterns, but I’ve found them a bit difficult to actually wrap securely around my neck. By contrast, Burning Branch’s curving shape intrigued me because it seemed like it would wrap naturally. (More importantly, I liked the look of it.) The original was made out of a orangey-red yarn, but I went with a green yarn from my stash, so I suppose mine is more of a Burning Branch Shawl.
It’s not like there was no warning. The pattern calls for a skein of BFL Fingering Hand Dyed, which is 416 yards. Unlike most patterns, this one advises, “This will use up the entire skein of BFL fingering. Yardage can vary slightly between skeins, so if yours is a little short, it’s fine to bind off a little earlier.” But I was going to use Charlemont Kettle Dye, which has 439 yards, and my skein weighed in at a perfect 100 g, so I figured I had all the yardage promised. Why worry?
Attempt #1: Cast on with a size 4 (3.5 mm) needle. Knit until there’s enough solid stockinette stitch to take gauge. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen until I’m past the halfway point. Discover that despite the gauge swatch, I’m knitting too tightly. Frog.
Attempt #2: Cast on with a size 5 (3.75 mm) needle. Knit until 22 rows from the end, when I realize that 23 extra yards will not be nearly enough. Bind off. Stare at finished shawlette. Frog.
Attempt #3: Cast on with a size 4 (3.5 mm) needle. Knit, confident that if I am now knitting to a tighter gauge than called for and I have more yarn than called for, I will have a slightly small, but complete, shawlette.
But no. Knitting more tightly only got me four rows further along than my previous attempt. I remeasured the gauge, and yes, I’m still a smidgen tighter than what the pattern calls for, 25 sts/4″ where the pattern calls for 24 sts/4″. I had less than 7 feet of yarn left when I bound off. Is my row gauge completely different than the designer’s? (The row gauge wasn’t given in the pattern.) I went on Ravelry, and looked at what photos I could find of other people’s finished projects, and a lot of them weren’t able to complete the pattern either. It looks fine if you stop a bit short; it’s just frustrating that I don’t get to see mine in all its complete glory.
But enough about what I don’t have. Here’s what I do have: (almost) one Burning Branch shawl in Charlemont Kettle Dye, color Deep Sea. It spirals out from the top edge, growing by six stitches every other row. The solid stockinette parts are “leaves” and the bits with the parallel lines of knitting at the bottom are “twigs.” I’ll see how easy it is to wear, and maybe someday I’ll make another one OUT OF A REALLY BIG SKEIN OF YARN.