When I was going through all of my favorited shawl patterns in putting together the most recent New Favorites installment, I ran across Julie Hoover’s Walsh (top), which I had saved as a shawl pattern because it’s literally a little triangle that would also look great scaled up to shawl proportions, and even at pattern scale might double as a neck kerchief like the one I made my mom long ago and still want for myself. But when I saw it again that day, my reaction was “a head kerchief is such a good idea.” And a matter of days later, along came Denise Bayon’s Hatdana (bottom)! Now I find myself wanting to knit one of each — and why not, when they’re perfect little portable warm-weather projects.
It’s been four years since I swore off knitting shawls but, ahem, I’ve been thinking about that grand tradition of a shawl that can double as a baby blanket. So I’ve gone back through all the shawl patterns I’ve ever favorited to see if anything might tempt me into it. I’m not making any commitments, just saying these are a few that call to me, either newly or still, that seem suitable for this particular purpose—
TOP: Tensdale by Patricia Shapiro — probably my all-time favorite shawl pattern, baby friendly (nothing to poke or snag), and would look just as good in a bright color
MIDDLE LEFT: Dionne Shawl by Jeanette Sloan — on the one hand, I’m super curious to see what would happen if this motif were knitted at worsted gauge; on the other, lace plus baby fingers makes me a little nervous
MIDDLE RIGHT: Euclid by Isabell Kraemer — that is some serious cabling, especially at shawl dimensions, but looks like it’s all 1-over-1 crosses and easily memorizable, and it’s really lovely
BOTTOM LEFT: Ashby by Leila Raabe — another longtime favorite that has stuck with me, would be fun to knit but still baby-friendly fabric (See also Gansey Shawl, same thoughts)
BOTTOM RIGHT: Cloud Half Pi Shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlen — a nice mindless pick-it-up-put-it-down project that would also let the color and yarn shine
Wandering around Ravelry late last week, I ran across a new-to-me designer named Leeni Hoi and fell for her lovely halo-y sweaters knitted in fingering weight yarn held double with a strand of silk-mohair. This is one of the tricks I remember being awed by when I first took up knitting, and I have bought two or three skeins of silk-mohair over the years with a plan to try it, and yet I’ve still not done it. Which is ridiculous, because in addition to creating an incredibly soft and supple fabric — just look what it does for these three beauties — it’s also a good way to boost fingering yarn to a gauge I’m happier knitting at, while still creating a garment lighter than a worsted-weight sweater. Win/win/win.
ABOVE, TOP: Shimo Sweater has a pretty cables-and-bobbles motif that dovetails neatly into the hem and cuffs
ABOVE, BOTTOM: Vaña Sweater is a simple reverse-stockinette pullover with a few graphic lines of ribbing to set it off
BELOW: Uhuru Sweater looks like a super-basic pullover, but offers the surprise of a triangular detail at the cuffs and back of neck
In addition to my shawl-collar vest idea and the navy pullover I still haven’t quite sorted out, the other thing I’ve had in mind to possibly knit for myself this year — making alternative use of a sweater quantity of wool in my stash — is a textured wrap. I’ve still never knitted a scarf, but have always wanted to knit a big blankety wrap of one sort or another. Some contenders:
MIDDLE RIGHT: Castlemilk by Cecelia Campochiaro, sequence knitting which could be easily scaled wider
BOTTOM: Heure d’Hiver by Emilie Luis, I’d leave off the fringe and elongate the ribbing
BELOW: En Voyage by Espace Tricot, just shortened a bit
Plus there’s still Julie Hoover’s Wallace from last year’s Favorite New Favorites, which is probably in the lead. But I’m also recalling how much I loved knitting the stitch pattern of my Channel Cardigan, and thinking that could make a lovely wrap as well.
Maybe it’s because I’m wrapping up my annual spot-of-colorwork project, I don’t know, but for whatever reason, I’m finding myself soooo drawn to the idea of knitting something really simple and straightforward but also beautiful and useful. Such as …
TOP: Column by Hiromi Nagasawa is a bulky or superbulky pullover with an unusual construction method that also gives a simple sweater a different look
I’m jumping the gun on this one because I literally cannot wait until the pattern publishes on Friday — it’s Junko Okamoto’s latest flash of brilliance, the Bouquet Sweater and scarf (not sure if the latter will be a separate pattern, but I assume). We’ve talked before about my love of The Twigs, and I’m equally smitten with her floral doodle on Papa, but this one is next level. Bouquet features a large-scale flower motif that reminds me of a sort of Weiner Werkstätte way of doing a floral — graphic and abstracted. But it’s also not a standard stranded motif and not embroidered after the fact. I’m eager to see when the pattern drops, but it’s either an incredibly clever use of right-side and wrong-side floats, or a wrapping technique similar to that in L’Arbre Hat? Like I said, I can’t wait to see the pattern and find out.
She’s knitted the sample sweater in a marl and a fairly low-contrast color, downplaying the effect — then flipped the two yarns for the scarf. For a higher-contrast version, just look at this gorgeousness.
This is anecdotal, but I feel like there’s been a significant trend lately toward combining stranded knitting (which is almost always stockinette) with texture in various ways — frequently through the introduction of bobbles. I’m particularly taken with these two hat patterns that take on just a little added texture by virtue of simply purling some or all of the colorwork—
TOP: Hat with Purled XO by Arne and Carlos features a classic motif at jumbo scale with purled colorwork boosting its impact
BOTTOM: Hjarn Hat by Amber Platzer Corcoran is also bulky gauge but with more delicate, three-color motifs (click through for the more colorful samples)