Fortune’s Wrap

Once upon a time—some unremembered year before I joined Ravelry, so probably in the early 2000s—I bought 10 hanks of Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe. I hadn’t been planning to buy it when I went to the yarn store—I’d never even heard of it before—but they were closing it out, there was enough of it to make a vest, and I liked the colorway.

Fast-forward 15 years or so. I moved a couple of times; the yarn moved with me. I’d see it every now and then when I was digging through my stash looking for something else, and I’d feel a bit guilty that I wasn’t using it. More than once, I seriously contemplated getting rid of it, but then I’d have an attack of the sunk cost fallacy and end up reburying it in the stash and pushing it out of sight for a while longer.

A few years ago, I discovered the Fortune’s Shawlette pattern. I’ve liked it enough to make four of them so far. (I admit I’ve liked some of the finished shawlettes more than others.) Crochet often makes a stiff fabric without a lot of stretch, but between fingering weight yarn and a very open stitch, the Fortune’s Shawlette is drapey enough to make wearing it easy. And because it’s worked sort of like entrelac, it breaks up the color in a short-repeat yarn differently than knitted rows do, in a way I find quite attractive.

With all that going for it, you’ve probably guessed that I was happy to learn that the designer had taken this pattern stitch and turned it into a wrap. I got thrown a bit at first, though, because this pattern uses DK yarn. Also, the designer measures the gauge differently than she did in the Fortune’s Shawlette pattern. For the shawlette, the gauge may be measured on an unblocked swatch—at least that’s how I measured it, and the shawlettes have come out just fine. The pattern for the wrap, however, specifies a blocked gauge swatch. Somehow, that threw me, and that delayed my starting the project by several months. But I didn’t forget about it, and eventually I decided that, like the shawlette, I’d work with whatever hook was large enough that I’d feel as if I was about to lose control of the crocheting. That doesn’t sound all that promising when I write it out like that, but it worked—I even had to drop down two hook sizes from what the designer had used.

The wrap was bigger than I’d imagined. (Because why do anything sensible before starting like use a tape measure to see just how long the finished dimensions would be?) I’d hoped to use up all ten hanks of the yarn, but I’m short, and at nine hanks, it was sufficiently large for my height. As lacy things do, it grew during blocking, going from 17″ x 66″ to 27″ x 86″ (43 x 168 cm to 69 x 218 cm). I suspect I’m going to need to use a shawl pin to fix it in place for anything more active than posing for a photo.

There’s a warm glowing feeling at having finally used a yarn that’s been in your stash long enough for its origins to have almost been forgotten. Although my stash is large enough that it doesn’t seem at all smaller with this yarn out of it…

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Fortune’s Wrap
Pattern: Fortune’s Wrap
Yarn: Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe
Colorway: K451
Hook: K (6.5 mm)

Lesson learned

Someday, I will learn not to join mystery knit-alongs. Or rather, let’s be more optimistic than that and say that with this shawl, I have learned not to join mystery knit-alongs. I like the concept, and the actual knitting has been pleasant enough, but I have yet to end up with a finished item that I wanted to wear.

I joined this knit-along early-ish in 2019, in great part because the pattern wasn’t the mystery. It was going to use the Sunshower Shawl pattern by Ambah O’Brien; the great unknown was which 12 colors of yarn we’d receive to knit it in. I did enjoy knitting the shawl, one monthly installment of yarn at a time, and I’m seriously considering making another one. But the 12 colors don’t really go with my wardrobe, and I’m unlikely to ever wear the poor thing.

By the way, the final installment was the I-cord bind off that edges the entire shawl. When you set it up, you have 760 stitches on the needle, which is impressive in its own right. But the I-cord bind off uses 3 stitches for every stitch you bind off. So I’ve decided to say I bound off 2, 280 stitches on this shawl. Wow.

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Sunshower Shawl
Pattern: Sunshower Shawl
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light
Colorways: Ceremony, Winter’s Rest, Silver Fox, Constellation, Antler, Star Scatter, Hosta Blue, Dopamine, Coquette Deux, Beautiful Liar, Twin Peaks, Iris
Needles: 4 (3.5 mm)

Delphinia Shawl

My Ravelry queue is an idealistic vision of my aspirations to be an organized creator. In theory, I will add projects to my queue only when I own the pattern. My adding the project will be a commitment to definitely make it, and to reinforce this, I will link appropriate yarn from my stash, reserving it for this future project. If I just want to bookmark an interesting pattern for possible consideration in the future, I’ll add it to my favorites list—no commitment involved. See? It’s a system.

Narrator: She usually ignored her queue and chose projects on a whim from her favorites.

The Delphinia Shawl pattern had come to my attention one day when I was browsing for shawl patterns that would use more than one skein of fingering weight yarn. (Even with bursts of disciplined weeding, my stash is way beyond life expectancy, and I want to use it up faster.) I remember noting that it used two colors and had an arrowhead shape that I’m trying to use for more shawls and shawlettes, since it makes them easier to wear. I noticed at the time that the green yarn used in the original had speckles or splotches of other colors, but I wasn’t intending to use that yarn and didn’t pay any more attention to it than that. Onto the favorites list it went, no doubt with several other patterns that day.

Fast-forward a week or so. I’m on KnitPicks’s mailing list, and I got an announcement for one of their “sock lab” limited issue yarns. This was a Stroll color pair, where there were 10 colors. Five were bright colors. The other five were super-pale shades of those first five. Both the pale and bright versions had speckles of a deeper shade of that color. I found most of them attractive, but limited myself to only getting the pink variation.

Stroll Sock Labs: Berry
Stroll Sock Labs: Berry Speckle

(And yeah, buying more yarn is pretty much the opposite of using up your stash. Still working on that.)

So anyway, what was I going to do with yarn like this? Which is when the Delphinia pattern popped back to mind, even down to how Ambah O’Brien had used a speckled yarn for the garter stitch stripes. This sounded like the perfect pattern for these yarns. And they worked out well. As it turns out, I had much more yarn than the pattern called for, so I was able to add another two stripes. While I was knitting the shawl, I was a mite concerned that the garter stitch bands were 14 rows (7 ridges) wide while the mesh ones were only 10 rows (5 holes) wide. I need not have worried: the perceptive designer had realized that the mesh would stretch more than the garter stitch, and after blocking, all stripes were the same width.

And lo, I have made another shawl. But not from my queue.

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Delphinia Shawl
Pattern: Delphinia Shawl
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted
Colorways: Berry, Berry Speckle
Needles: 3 (3.25 mm)

Bliss Kalari Shawl

If you love a pattern, do it again. Since the Lothlorien Kalari Shawl worked out so well, I decided to make one in one of the cakes of Twisted Fiber Art yarn I had in my stash. The chosen cake was in the Bliss colorway. I retrieved the cake from the stash, I chose my needles, and then I hit an unexpected obstacle: the cake was so pretty, I hesitated to even start the project. I just kept admiring the cake!

Eventually I shook myself free of my admiration and got started. The knitting itself was uneventful. As I said back with my first Kalari, it’s a repetitive, not particularly challenging project. It’s meant to show off the color changes of a graduated yarn, and it does that quite well.

Click to enlarge

I did run into a small challenge at the end. The problem was, I had almost enough yarn—but not quite—to do one final pattern repeat. If I finished the shawl the way the designer intended, I was going to have a lot of purple yarn left over, and to my eyes, anyway, the shawl would look off-balance. My solution was to add a picot bind off. I may have chosen the world’s most finicky one, though! I really like how it’s looks, so it was worth the effort (I’m going to keep telling myself that, anyway), but each picot required turning the project twice. I did test other bind offs, but at least for this particular project, I liked this one the best. And it consumed enough purple yarn that I didn’t feel like I’d wasted it.

And ta-da: a lovely, well-color-balanced shawl:

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Bliss Kalari Shawl
Pattern: Kalari Shawl
Yarn: Twisted Fiber Art Ariel Evolution
Colorway: Bliss
Needles: 4 (3.5 mm)

Lothlorien Kalari Shawl

Finish one project, start two more. I am not getting ahead here.

But for the moment, I will celebrate a finished project. This is another case of buying the yarn and then trying to find a project that was suitable for it. This particular yarn comes from KnitCircus, and I picked it up at Vogue Knitting Live back in 2016. I loved the name (from The Lord of the Rings!), but I promise, I would’ve left it behind if I didn’t like the colors. But I had indulged in a 669-yard (612 m) cake instead of the 400+ yard (366+ m) skeins I usually get, and it took a while to find a pattern that could be used with that larger size. The colorway name was just a bonus.

 

It was a fun knit. Yes, a mite repetitive, but when you’re using a gradient yarn, you can always look forward to the color changing even when the knitting itself is getting a bit monotonous. It’s a fairly simple pattern, but it has just enough variation (one row of yarnovers with decreases and two rows with a different increase frequency) to keep me paying attention. Really, the pattern changed enough to hold my interest; it was just that the rows were pretty long at the end.

I’m really enjoying wearing this. It’s a chevron rather than an isosceles triangle, so I can wrap it around my neck without fabric piling up too deeply under my chin. And the larger-than-usual size (for me) makes it easier to tie it attractively.

That bit at the beginning of this post about starting two more projects? One of them is another Kalari shawl. I said I was enjoying it!

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Lothlorien Kalari Shawl
Pattern: Kalari Shawl
Yarn: KnitCircus Trampoline
Colorway: Lothlorien
Needles: 5 (3.75 mm)

Making all the things

I had a lot to blog about when I was doing small projects and finishing them one after another in short succession. Now I’m working on several larger projects and haven’t remembered to say anything about them. (I knew my productivity would drop when I stopped having those weekly conference calls at work!) So, an introduction to the current projects:

Randomicity

Although Passeggiata turned out to be a lovely shawl—after five restarts—I was disappointed that it wasn’t as semicircular as I’d thought it would be. I read up on the construction of semicircular shawls (thank you, new edition of Vogue Knitting) and Randomicity is how I’m putting that into practice. I’m delighted to report that at about 80% done, this shawl has gone beyond semicircular and is more of a major sector.*

Highlander

I saw this sweater at Shepherd’s Harvest back in 2010. I bought the pattern, bought yarn, and then, for whatever reason, didn’t start the project. Almost a decade later (eek!), it finally felt like the right time to get going on it. Honestly, I hadn’t even realized the pattern had cables until I began knitting it. You knit the back and the fronts as one piece, so it started slowly, but now that I’ve divided for the armholes, it’s going much faster. If I don’t bog down on the sleeves, I might even get it done by this fall (!).

Kalari Shawl

A few weeks ago, I needed a small, mindless project. By this point, neither Randomicity nor Highlander were small, and while Randomicity is pretty straightforward, I need to pay attention to Highlander. The Kalari Shawl was both simple (garter stitch and increases, with a row of yarnover holes to add visual interest) and would use up this nice cake of Knit Circus Trampoline that I’d gotten at Vogue Knitting Live! back in 2016. If this shawl wears well, I may be making more, since it does a lovely job of showing off a gradient.

Sunshower Shawl

I rarely participate in knit-alongs, but I saw this being advertised on Jimmy Beans Wool’s site last year and thought I’d try it. This is a shawl on an installment plan. It’s going to go into next year because I probably won’t get the last shipment of yarn until late in December, and it could very well be January before I finish it.

Left to right: Highlander, Randomicity, Kalari Shawl, Sunshower Shawl

I have to finish something—anything—because I want to start another three or four projects, and I cannot afford to give in to this temptation.


*Pac-Man shaped. 🙂

A shawl Penelope would love

Ahem. I have finished the Passeggiata shawl.

That doesn’t look right written out. Far too quiet and restrained. You need to imagine me dancing around, waving the shawl in the air, and yelling, “Finally! It’s done! I can have my knitting life back!”

It’s bigger than it looks. That’s a corner of my sofa in the photo.

(Okay, that was exaggerated. I was with friends, and there wasn’t enough space in E’s living room for a lot of dancing around, and yelling would mostly just have alarmed E’s neighbors, who don’t know that I knit, much less care how it’s going. Although my friends were impressed. Also, I’ve been working on another Ardent shawlette, so it wasn’t even like the Passeggiata was the entirety of my knitting life.)

I began the Passeggiata back in September. I was at the knitting retreat, and it was an easy enough project to work on while I was away from home. It’s a garter stitch shawl with stripes, which seemed easy. As detailed in Adventures in striping, however, getting the stripes to work out has proven to be quite the challenge. When I posted that in November, I was on my third attempt. I finished the shawl on my fifth (!) attempt.

Attempt #4: This was when I modified the striping pattern. Unfortunately, now I didn’t have enough of the Aniversario to finish.

Attempt #5: Kept the modified striping pattern. Ripped back into the initial purple section and took out a few rows, hoping that would give me enough yarn at the end for that final stripe. It did.

A closer look at the stripes.

I had the same problem with Passeggiata that I did with Melodia last summer. These are supposed to be semicircular shawls. However, as knitted, they’re inverted triangles. If you’ve knitted them loosely enough, you can force them into a semicircular shape during blocking, which I did with Passeggiata. I also used three different bind offs to help shape the shawl. For the first and last 40 stitches, I used the standard bind off, because a tighter bind off would help straighten the tips. The next 60 stitches in on both sides were done with a suspended bind off: a little stretchier, but not that much. For the center, I used the yarnover bind off, because I needed as much stretch as possible to open up that arch. I then blocked fiercely, and I was successful. But basically, the knitting will not naturally turn into a semicircle if the only increases are at the edges. You need to increase within the body of the shawl as well. At this point, I probably wouldn’t do another one of these shawls unless I was prepared to add those increases in myself. I started a true semicircular shawl a few days ago, and just a couple of inches in, the difference is noticeable.

But enough of that. It’s done! It worked! It’s a shawl! Yay!

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Passeggiata
Pattern: Passeggiata
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock
Colorways: Aniversario and Cote d’Azure
Needles: 8 (5.0 mm)

Sparkly Purple Shawl

I honestly cannot explain why it took so long to make this shawl. I’ve made two shawls from the Grande Wrap pattern already, as detailed in Mega-shawl! and And again!. I knew what I was doing, and even if I hadn’t, this is a garter stitch shawl done on size 13 (9.0 mm) needles: not particularly difficult. And yet I started it in May 2017, zoomed along up until I only had two rows left (two!), and then let it sit for 15 months.

[wince]

Well, it’s finished now, anyway.

A knitted purple shawl with a purple button.

I tried to make this one look dressier than its predecessors. It started as an excuse to use the metallic Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, which had been tempting me for some time. As designed, the shawl is tied with two cords. That’s worked fine with my earlier shawls, but I was afraid the friction would eventually break the metallic thread in this yarn. Plus, the bow wasn’t at all elegant, whether it fell at the front or the back. So I replaced the cords with a crocheted button loop and a large button. (I am so happily amazed that I managed to find a button that both coordinated with the yarn and was large enough to work on a heavy shawl.)

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Sparkly Purple Shawl
Pattern: Grande Wrap
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Metallics
Colorway: 305 Galaxy
Needles: 13 (9.0 mm)
Hook: L (8.0 mm)

Adventures in striping

I am knitting a Passeggiata shawl. More accurately, I am knitting it, frogging it, knitting it again, frogging it again, knitting…you get the idea. For those of you who care, no, I did not start it during a void-of-course Moon, nor was Mercury retrograde!

Passeggiata is a shawl that involves two colors of fingering weight yarn. I’m using Malabrigo Sock in the colors Aniversario (red-violet, mostly) and Cote d’Azure (navy blue). You start with a large section in your first color (Aniversario, which I’m now going to call “purple”), eventually add a thin stripe of your second color (“blue”), and proceed to alternate between your two colors, with the stripes of the first color getting thinner and the ones of the second color getting thicker, eventually ending with a bottom section solidly in your second color. In theory, I should use up almost all the yarn. I’m not worried about the blue because I plan to knit until it runs out, but getting the purple to work out right has been quite a challenge.

Attempt #1: I began knitting on size 7 (4.5 mm) needles. Passeggiata is a semicircular shawl, but the only increases are on the sides, so I added a yarnover at the beginning of each row to be dropped on the return, to loosen up the selvages. This turned out to not help in the slightest, so I frogged it and started over.

Close-up of purple shawl with blue stripe, on a knitting needle.
And again…

Attempt #2: The shawl was coming along nicely, up until I’d added three blue stripes. At this point, there were only three purple stripes left to work. I noted uneasily that I had more than half the ball of purple left. I ripped back to the first section, figuring I’d add a few more rows to it, then start the striping, and maybe start the sequence with a thicker purple stripe, while I was at it. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t the way it was supposed to go, so I checked the gauge. I was supposed to be getting 20 stitches/4 inches (10 cm). I was getting 23 stitches. Oops.

Attempt #3: I re-restarted the shawl on size 8 (5 mm) needles, and again made it to the point at which there were three blue stripes knitted and three purple stripes to go. My ball of purple yarn was definitely smaller than last time, but it still looked too big. But my gauge was correct, so maybe this was how it was supposed to go?

Well, I’d knitted three blue stripes. They were the same thickness as the purple stripes I had yet to knit, although they were a little shorter, but that was close enough. I weighed the blue ball of yarn and subtracted the weight from the starting weight. The three stripes had taken 15 g of yarn. Then I weighed the purple ball: 32 g. The purple stripes will take more yarn because they’ll be longer, but I doubt they’ll need 17 g more yarn.

Current solution: I’ve ripped back to the end of the first purple stripe. As designed, it’s 5 garter ridges thick. I’m going to increase that to 6 ridges, and then add an additional ridge to each of the following stripes. Since the last stripe should only be 1 ridge thick, this will mean adding an extra purple and an extra blue stripe to make it come out right. That’s fine: it’ll just add to the visual interest I figure.

I really hope I love this shawl after it’s done, after this much effort…

Iolite Iolite

It would be fun to name this post “Iolite2,” but I don’t think I can add a superscript to the title.

Back in June, Suncat and I went to a few of the local yarn stores. At one of them, I discovered the joy that is Yowza by Miss Babs. It was a hank of 100% superwash merino: worsted weight and large enough to hug. (The standard weight of a Yowza hank is 8 ounces (227 g); mine was a generous 8.7 ounces (246 g).) The store carried several dramatic colorways, but I’m not that exciting in my tastes, and what I fell in love with was Iolite: gray with splashes of purple. Now thanks to my totally reworking my stash storage last November, worsted weight yarns are towards the bottom of my tub system. It was going to be a pain and a half to move enough tubs to slip the new hank into the worsted weight one. But that wouldn’t be an issue if I used the yarn in a project right away.

Off to find a pattern that would use 560 yards (512 m) of worsted weight yarn. It wasn’t enough for an adult sweater—what I normally do with worsted weight—but the hank was expensive enough that I didn’t want to buy more. Obviously, this was a job for the Ravelry pattern browser. Several shawl patterns met my requirements and I’ve bookmarked them for the future hanks of Yowza I intend to acquire. And of those patterns, one caught my eye because it was called Iolite.

It really did take me a moment to realize that the designer had named the pattern for the yarn she’d used, and that what she’d used was a hank of Yowza in the Iolite colorway. Because, like, what were the chances? And once I’d realized that, how could I not use my Iolite in this pattern?

It was a fun knit. It’s been way too long since I’ve used knitting worsted for a project—I’ve missed it. The V-shape of the shawl helps it stay on.

I give you the Iolite Iolite:

Iolite shawl lying flat.

Iolite shawl, seen from the back.

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Iolite Iolite
Pattern: Iolite
Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza
Colorway: Iolite
Needles: 6 (4.0 mm)