Shawl obsession

two shawls

I realized yesterday that I’ve gotten behind on getting blog posts ready because I’ve been obsessed over the last few weeks with knitting some lace shawl samples. (One is done, one is getting blocked today, and one is just getting started.) I was just going to let today’s blog post go, but then I realized I can share some sneak peeks of the shawls in question because I’m planning to self-publish them.

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How the crescent got its hump

Occasionally I read forum posts or blog posts or project pages on Ravelry complaining about the “hump” in the center of the top edge of a certain kind of crescent shawl. Some people speculate that it has to do with what kind of cast-on is used, but I think it’s inherent to the structure of the shawl itself (though sometimes it appears and other times it doesn’t).

Here’s why I think that.

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Disappearing loop as a flat knitting cast-on for shawls

Disappearing loop as a flat knitting cast-on for shawls

I wrote recently about a start for a top-down triangular shawl I’d come up with, but there’s another that I’ve used in several shawl designs (most of them not yet published): modified disappearing loop. You can see it in use in Sycamore Creek.

Disappearing loop is generally used as the center of a shawl or something else to be worked in the round from the center outward. However, there’s no reason it can’t be used in cases where you need to cast on a small number of stitches for a shawl to be worked flat.

Here’s how.

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A start for a top-down triangle shawl

One of the difficulties of knitting a triangle shawl with a two-stitch garter selvedge from the center of the long edge outward is making a smooth transition along the center. The difficulty is that the stitches of a provisional cast-on that go up are offset by half a stitch from the ones that go down.

A solution to this came to mind based on a traditional technique described by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts in Ethnic Socks & Stockings.

I am reasonably certain that I’m not the first person to come up with this shawl start. Nonetheless, here it is. I hope you find it useful. (It will be of most use to knitters who are already familiar with triangle shawls.)

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Purse Stitch crescent selvedges

Purse stitch crescent selvedges

Thinking about Purse Stitch made me think about how to incorporate it into crescent shawl selvedges. Understanding its structure helped me figure out how to mirror it along the two edges.

I like the result. It’s a bit unusual in how it’s worked, so I hope my instructions are clear enough. I’ve phrased it in three different ways. Please comment if you have trouble!

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Helianthe: a shawl pattern

Nim Teasdale and I collaborated together on Helianthe. She suggested sunflower to me and I encoded it as stitch patterns to suit the sorts of designs she likes to make. This is a pattern that will suit a variety of weights of yarns and can be worked to more than one size. Here’s more information on Ravelry. (No Ravelry account required for purchase.)
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Crescent shawl selvedges

Crescent shawl selvedge variations

One of the  common forms of knitted crescent shawls involves casting on a few stitches in the center top of the shawl, and then knitting back and forth while increasing three stitches on each side over every two rows.

The selvedges I’ve seen most frequently are in two parts: there’s a two stitch garter selvedge on the outside edges, and the increases take place just inside. There’s a pretty standard recipe for this that results in pretty large holes at the edge. These look great in some circumstances, but I don’t think they’re always right for any given crescent shawl. I’m sure other people have come up with variations, but here’s a couple of my own. Feel free to use them however you like.

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Two patterns released: mitts and shawl

 

This week I’ve published two more patterns: a pair of mitts called Meeting-of-the-Waters and Sycamore Creek, a shawl pattern.

Meeting-of-the-Waters looks like a very plain fingerless mitt pattern, but there’s two twists: one, they’re knit from the top down to make maximum use of your yarn, and two, they’re designed to make a pair of matching mitts from yarn that wouldn’t otherwise make that possible. The trick? Steeks! That is, knitting them in a single piece, cutting them apart, and sewing up the cut edges.

Sycamore Creek is a very deep shawl with an angled long edge. It covers the wearer’s back nicely and stays on the shoulders. It’s also great for stash busting!

Click through for more about each of these.

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