My daughter Meg, of Twisted Fiber Art, lately ran a yarn/roving club with a great deal of flexibility. People could buy a club membership for sock yarn, evolutions, or roving. There were three installments (Oct – Dec 2010) and each month there were two colorways. Choice of colorway and sometimes of yarn base were mostly determined by surveys that we sent out to participants in the clubs where they mentioned favorite and least favorite colors and answered several “style” type questions. I am an honorary member of all of Meg’s clubs. This time I’m getting either one or both of the colors in Meg’s choice of yarn for me to knit socks for her out of. In addition, I can get anything I want for myself in an evolution or stripes.
For the first month, I chose to get the colorway Intrigue on her Arial base, in an evolution. All club evolutions are equal to a double evolution, and Arial is a light fingering weight yarn, so I got 680 yards in my yarn cake. I decided to use a technique that Meg had come up with and made a shawl/scarf that she wears a whole lot. The technique involves casting on 8-10 inches worth of stitches, then increasing each end of every row, so you end up with a very wide not very deep blunted triangle. This shot shows the final product wrapped around a chair.
You can see the center part and the two ends. Dangling from one end is the entire amount of yarn I had left at the end of my bind-off. The bind-off row came out 7 feet five inches wide, and I had five inches of yarn left. Boy did I sweat that!
The lace pattern that I chose to use was Annie Maloney’s Interrupted Chevron pattern from her Mastering Lacework book. (I cannot recommend Annie’s books highly enough. Her stitch designs are superb, and the books contain many other useful knitting tips.) I love the stitch, love the yarn, and find the result intriguing, but it isn’t the easiest shawl to wear that I have ever seen. I have found three chief ways of wearing it:
1. It can be worn with the blunted triangle on the back, with the ends wrapped around the shoulders and tied at the base of the spine. Mine is long enough that there can be lots of slack worked into this tie. The effect is a lot like wearing a shrug. Here’s one shot of it:
That turns out to be quite comfortable and surprisingly warm. I’m wearing it that way right now – my back is very cold today.
2. This shawl likes to be worn around the head, with the ends crossed on the chest and again tied in the small of the back. I’m surprised how much I like this method. It also makes me feel like someone out of history (and reminds me of the title of an old Donovan song: Widow with Shawl, a Portrait, don’t know why). Here’s a quick shot of that:
3. I can more or less wear this the way Meg usually wears hers. She puts the bulk of the triangle in front and wraps the ends around to dangle in the front. Not sure I’ve reproduced this right at all, but it is a pleasant way to wear it. She frequently wears hers over a jacket in this configuration, serving as a rather large scarf. My winter coat would look really bad with these colors, but I might wear it that way for spring or fall with a lighter jacket. Here’s my version of that method.
This shot shows a bit of one of the things I like least about this scarf. Both the cast on and the increases are a bit tighter than I would like. The curling up at the bottom is due to that – the stitch pattern makes a beautifully flat fabric. The major problem I have with this shawl, though, is that I can’t wrap it around my shoulders and chest at the same time at all readily. And that where warmth comes from. I think I want to experiment with increases along multiple lines, as with Lune or one of Stephen West’s designs. I haven’t yet selected my yarn in the December colorways of the club, and I may go with another shawl length of Arial or Meg’s new Tasty yarn (merino, cashmere, nylon light fingering) and try my hand at this kind of design.