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
I’m endlessly amazed at how musicians can be given the same limited set of musical notes and yet come up with an infinite number of new tunes and melodies. I feel a bit the same about these two shawls — oversized rectangular wraps — both of which are based on the simple concept of squares knitted in alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette:
TOP: Ippen Shawl by Claudia Eisenkolb puts two twists on the classic big-basketweave effect: the squares give way to wedges at the center, turning the rectangle into a U shape; and there’s a stripe of color running the length of it that shifts depending on whether you’re in a stockinette or reverse-stockinette block, from a solid line to a ticking stripe [Link updated 11.13, original Ravelry pattern listing was broken]
BOTTOM: Sjal by Antonia Shankland is a subtle collection of nested squares that change scale along the way
Remember back at the end of last month when I said “Or perhaps I’ll cast on a Grete, if there’s a suitable yarn for it in my stash”? So that happened, and I’ll show it to you as soon as I take some pics, but it’s amazing. And between that and the situation with my too-warm sweater collection and my short attention span right now, I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of a winter wardrobe plan that consists of some very simple long-sleeve tops combined with statement-making neck accessories that also fend off the coming cold, and would be immensely satisfying to knit. I’m once again reminded of the loop stitch Markham Collar (which Tara-Lynn has since sent me and I just dug out) but am also newly fixating on Brandi Harper’s sculptural, convertible head-and-neck-ccesories, the Hoodie (above bottom) and the Shawl Collar (above top). Both would be great with yarns held double or triple, making them great stash busters, as well.
Summer seems to me like the perfect time for knitting neckwear — scarves and shawls that fall just in the sweet spot on the continuum between interesting and mindless, that are portable, that don’t require you to worry about fit or to have a growing sweater in your lap, and yet last long enough to carry you through road trips or baseball practices or whatever the case may be. Plus they’re the first thing you get to use when the weather begins to cool off (or when the sun sets at the beach). So why don’t I tend to knit such things? These three recent patterns have me wondering hard:
TOP: Madison Scarf by Norah Gaughan, who must have been smirking if she happened to see that whole conversation we had about adding a back flap to the Grete dickey when this one would have been deep in the pipeline and is that very thing! A scarf with a headhole and lovely overall knit-purl texture, which can be worn a variety of ways.
MIDDLE: Adrian by Dianna Walla is a traditional scarf (designed for cotton) that takes typical colorwork motifs and renders them in purl stitches instead.
BOTTOM: Orthogonal by Emily Greene is a stunner of a shawl with a mesmerizing geometric-lace maze of a stitch pattern. I saw this on her at Squam, artfully bunched around her neck, and it made me want to be a fingering-weight shawl knitter.
I’ve basically been asleep for four straight days (even when my eyes are open), since getting back from Portugal — I can’t get enough shut-eye or enough water, for some reason. Which means I don’t yet have my arms around the first round of Summer of Basics prize selections or how to even begin to tell you about the trip. But this is a rare summer in which, so far, the flow of droolworthy knitting patterns is uninterrupted. So can we talk about these clever garter-stitch beauties for a minute?
TOP: Picket Fence Afghan by Julia Farwell-Clay (from the new MDK Field Guide: Ease) is made up of 3-color garter-stitch blocks which somehow magically eliminate the weaving of ends and create a magnificent tapestry, which I think would be great at wrap proportions
BOTTOM: Ellsworth by Scott Rohr takes garter stitch, two colors of yarn, and short rows to a new level of magnificence
The Summer issue of Pom Pom is all about stripes, and it’s astonishing how many distinctly different ways the designers have managed to deploy them, even though the majority of the patterns are simple little summer sweaters! My favorite details among them:
TOP: Anna Maltz’s swingy little Tarmac tank with it’s striped edging!
MIDDLE LEFT: Tina Tse’s simple little Deauville with it’s perpendicularly striped hem
In addition to the fact that the whole color palette for this photo shoot is KILLING ME (her hair, that wall, that foliage …), I am swooning hard over these two new patterns by Whitney Hayward that use the tiniest bit of colorwork to such major effect. In both cases, it’s just a few well-placed rows of 1×1 stranding, and while I obviously love the neutrals here, you can imagine how totally different the effect would be if knitted in three colors instead of three nons. The shawl is Ural and the little transitional-season sweater is Fukuro. Gorgeous on every level.