I named this shawl “New Year’s Wishes” as I’ve been through some difficult life events during the past years, with the need and urge to change something now.
So I started this shawl on New Year’s Day and poured all my hopes and wishes for this year into this silvery shimmering shawl while knitting. Starting on a New Year’s Day and ending it on Easter Sunday is a nice touch as well for me. Hopefully it will accompany me for a long time and hopefully these notes might be a help for you. :)
Casting on 82 sts instead of 58 sts is one of the modifications I made (see my Ravelry project page for a list version of the modifications). The pattern calls for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn, which is a worsted weight yarn from high-crimp Targhee Finewool and Columbia Mediumwool with 140 yards (128m)/50g, while I used the gorgeous Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico, an undyed 50% baby alpaca/50% mulberry silk blend with 147 yards (134m)/50g. labeled as sport weight (and – though undyed – in the colorway Silver).
Though both yarns have a similiar yardage, I needed many more pattern repeats to attain a comfortable width and length. So I knit six pattern repeats (á 12 sts) instead of four pattern repeats for the width and 2.5 x Chart A, 5x Chart B (instead of only once), 2.5 x Chart C. You can see here in this picture the zig-zag of the multiple repeats of the middle section/Chart B very well.
The original “Guernsey Wrap” measures 74” x 17” (188cm x 43cm; blocked) while my version turned out as 66” x 16” (166cm x 40cm), but I’m comfortable with the length, as many on Ravelry reported, the original version with 74” would be too long to wear it daily or in office.
Wet blocking (using Soakwash) was really necessary as the shawl was only 52” x 13” (132cm x 33cm) before blocking – which is compared to the measures of the finished shawl of 66” x 16” (166cm x 40cm) a really huge difference. Blocking also brought out the pattern much nicer.
According to the yarn care instructions, it was also and indeed vital not to agitate or twist the yarn while washing to prevent felting. I just pressed some of the water out of it by wrapping the wet shawl into a large towel and afterwards blocked it on a large mat, using blocking wires and T-pins. See here the how the shawl looked before and after blocking. Quite remarkable change, I think.
Blue Sky Alpacas metalico is a really gorgeous yarn, like a silky cloud, incredibly soft and has a wonderful shimmer. Knitting back is not recommended though because of the slightly fuzzy yarn structure, so paying close attention to the pattern and avoiding mistakes is crucial.
The stitch definition of the yarn is good, but complicated patterns might tend to look a bit blurred, but that’s to decide for everyone on their own.
Blue Sky Alpacas provides a very neat stitch sampler picture on their website, showing the yarn knitted in elfin lace, yarn over cables and a wide rib pattern so you can check for yourself if you like the stitch definition. I wouldn’t use it again though for the Guernsey Wrap pattern as the yarn is just too thin for it (mea culpa), and you need too work on it for a looong time. But on the other hand, so it’s perfect for training endurance. ;)
It took me almost exactly four months to knit (started Jan 1st – ended April 5th), but I also didn’t work on this project only. I knit it in parallel with my sweater from the Sous Sous KAL and while working on my first weaving project, a shawl in turquoise Casbah yarn on my Rigid Heddle Loom (which I needed to assemble first ;)).
The pattern for the Guernsey Wrap is very easy though, only knit and purl in different combinations. I knit most of it while commuting on train to and back from work. You just have to keep proper track of the rows you are in. I thought about using an app for tracking the rows, but too much effort, so I did it the old fashioned way: Printing out the chart and hiding the rows I already worked with a post-it. Cheap and easy solution.
And don’t forget that stitches on the WS rows are shown the same way as in the RS rows in the chart (knit stitch symbol=knit stitch, purl symbol=purl), but are KNIT the other way round (knit stitch = knit as purl, purl stitch = knit as knit). A little brain exercise. Oh, and… I used up ca. 5.2 skeins of the Metalico yarn, which should be around 764.4 yards (699.0 meters) or 260 grams. :)