My contribution to Joji Locatelli’s Fall KAL (knit-along) 2015 has been my interpretation of her little shawl “Mixed Stories”.
Small shawls and hats are currently the most rewarding projects to me compared to knitting for 6 months or longer at one sweater. ;) I just don’t have the time currently for long projects. Though this shawl had a rough start as well – I decided to use Madelinetosh Merino DK yarn (single ply) in colorway “Raspberry Cordial”, a lovely, very dark purple like fully ripe plums or.. blackberries. :)
Why it had a rough start? Well… speak of hand-dyed yarn. As beautiful as it is/was, it rubbed off massively onto my fingers, so they got deep purple too. I guess it was the dark color, but never experienced something like this with Madelinetosh yarn so far.
So I washed my second skein for a test, twice, three times with Soak wash – and it bled massively! Rinsed it too at least 20 times… let it dry… and had still purple fingers. Resigning finally and going with the flow, I continued with the bleeding yarn, but this was the time when I decided to call the shawl “Bramble Hedge” because of the color, the thorn-hedge-like lace pattern, the rough start and autumn in general (and because I was and still am obsessed with the perfume “Blackberry & Bay” ;))
The pattern is written well though, but I needed to look both at charts and written instructions to figure out what to do. The combination of Body Part A (the RS) and Body Part B (the WS) and in addition the cable chart was a bit confusing, but after a while I could figure out some “personal” easier workarounds for not having to look at the charts or the braid instructions all the time:
1. The center cable/braid A always turns up in the same rows of the
pattern repeat: Row 1, 5 and 9 which are all RS rows.
But as the braid A pattern is a 8-row-repeat opposed to the body pattern (12-row-repeat), knitting with the cable needle held in front (my shortcut: 1) alternates with holding it in the back (2) like this:
Row 1 (RS): … Braid 1/1, 2/2, 4/1, 5/2, 7/1, 8/2, 10/1, 11/2 etc…
…this means, in Row 1 I knit the first repeat of the braid with cable needle held in front (1/1).…
Row 5 (RS):… Braid 1/2, 3/1, 4/2, 6/1, 7/2, 9/1, 10/2 etc…
…followed by Row 5 where I knit the first repeat of the braid with cable needle held in the back (1/2)…
Row 9 (RS):… Braid 2/1, 3/2, 5/1, 6/2, 8/1, 9/2, 11/1 etc…
…followed by knitting the second repeat of the braid with cable needle
held in the front (2/1)… and so on.
Might seem a bit confusing, but worked for me pretty well. I marked the braid rows in the written and charted instructions and wrote down the numbers next to the respective rows.
2. Secondly, the non-braid rows are always the same when it comes to the stitches you have to knit instead of the braid: On RS rows, it’s always sm, p1, k9 ,p1, sm and on WS rows, it’s always sm, k1, p9, k1, sm
So this means, in every row, where you don’t have to knit the braid
using the cable needle, the 9 center stitches are always knit stitches on the RS and purl stitches on the WS.
3. For all WS rows, the knit stitches are always knit into the yarn-over stitches from the RS before. And all purl stitches are knit on purl stitches from the RS before. In all variations. So I didn’t pay attention to Body Chart A (RS) or B (WS) while knitting any more and instead try to keep this in mind for not getting confused.
In a nutshell it was a smooth knit, once you can remember the pattern. I quite like the look as it’s a nice little accessory – more suited for leisure activities than for office or business outfits though.
Solved the problem with the massively bleeding yarn by washing the shawl in the washing machine for 20 minutes (Madelinetosh Merino DK is “superwash” wool)… the original color was a lot deeper and less reddish, but I like it more now as it’s not so dark any more.
Anyhow, loved knitting my little Bramble Hedge shawl!
P.S.: I forgot to do a proper White balance when shooting the photos of the shawl (on different days, with different tools (camera, phone…), so the color of the shawl varies a bit, mea culpa. ;) The most accurate color of the shawl shows on the big “still life” picture.