Last week I showed you Swirl and promised you a post all about it, so I’m keeping to my word!

In case you’re not a regular reader of my blog (Welcome!  Make yourself at home!) or you have a particularly short memory, this is Swirl, my latest shawl design featured in the current issue of Let’s Knit! Magazine (Issue 69, August 2013):

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Let’s Knit 2013, used with kind permission

I really love the styling in this photo!  But enough of that.  You want to know the design ‘story’ behind the shawl.

I wanted to create a shawl that would work really well with all those pretty variegated yarns that really call to you in the skein, but once you get them home are difficult to find a pattern for.  Obviously you could knit variegated yarn up to any pattern you like, but an intricate lace pattern or detailed cabling would be lost in a highly variegated yarn and all your hard work in knitting something complex would be for nothing.

Just one teeny problem.  I love variegated yarns, and have many in my stash.

I also like more complex interesting patterns.

They say that all designs start with a problem that needs a solution (although I’m sure there would be a more eloquent way of phrasing that) and that was my problem.  Most of the stitch patterns that I swatch in variegated yarn just give me that little niggle in the back of my head that says ‘it’s ok, but it would look better in a solid colour’.  It’s rare that I think a stitch pattern looks just as good in a variegated yarn as it does in a plain one.  So I really needed to find the exception to prove the rule!

Gorgeous yarns from 'Andyfest'

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012 – 2013

So I had a look through my stash to find the most variegated yarn I had, one with lots of contrast, the sort of yarn that screams ‘If it works in this, it will work with ANY variegated yarn!’ and I came up with a gorgeous skein of Easyknits Biffle-Boo that I bought at Andyfest/Bluefaced Open Weekend last year (such a lovely day out, and such a lot of nice yarn – I did of course buy far too much!).

Then I thought about the usual shawl shapes, and whether there was something a little different I could do.  There are so many beautiful shawl patterns out there, mostly triangular or crescent shaped, but as my stitch pattern would have to be quite simple I thought it needed a shape that would add extra interest.  After all, as long as you have the right number of increases every row, you can put them wherever you want!

With all that in mind, after letting all these thoughts simmer in my head for a bit, I came up with this:

Swirl Swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Large eyelets, for lots of contrast with the stocking stitch sections and an asymmetrical swirl shape for something more unusual!  Plus the swirl shape is easy to wear around your shoulders without it slipping off.

The swatch was fun to knit and I got a bit carried away!  But eventually I cast off with a scalloped edging that flowed nicely out of the eyelet pattern:

Swirl Shawl Swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Now it was sketching time:

Swirl Sketch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Once the shawl had been accepted I had to choose a more widely available yarn for my design.  This wasn’t difficult – I have a bit of a weakness for Manos Fino (a 4ply version of their popular Silk Blend yarn) and that comes in some pretty variegated colours, so we chose #6881/Jewel, a pretty mix of blue, turquoise, pink and purple.

And here is the finished article 😀 I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Rubbish model though!  I enjoyed making it so much I’ve already made another to keep for myself, but more about that when I get some decent photos (I’m waiting for the weather to pick up a bit).

Hope you like it!

Lottie x

13 thoughts on “Swirl

    • I’m really glad you like it – design isn’t difficult, it’s just a series of decisions really and there is no right or wrong way to do it! I just design stuff I would like to knit and hope other people feel the same 🙂 xx

  1. I love this – although I find myself quite envious of your designing talent! I always thought that if I knitted long enough it would come naturally. You, I believe were born for a talent for this! BRAVO!

    • Anyone can design, it’s really just a series of decisions – instinctively you will know if you are happy with an aspect of the design or not. I only started designing because I’m a bit awkward and couldn’t find patterns that I liked for the things I wanted to knit, so I decided to just have a go at making up my own. Try it! I have faith in you 😀 xxx

  2. I can i get some help with this pattern as I would really like to make it? when it says at the beginning work 10 rows garter stitch. pick up row and knit 3 pm – what does it mean by pick up row?

    • Hi Paula,
      So after you have done your 10 rows in garter st the next row is a ‘pick up row’ (this is just a handy little sign post in the pattern to say that on this row you’ll be picking up some stitches) so you would knit the 3 sts of the garter st strip, place a marker, then turn the work 90 degrees clockwise and then pick up and knit 5 stitches along the side of the garter stitch strip, place a second marker, then turn the work 90 degrees clockwise again and pick up 3 sts from the cast on edge. Now you should have 11 sts on your needles.
      This is a common way to start a top-down shawl, but it can take a bit of time to get your head around it if you haven’t made one before! I hope that helps, but if you need a bit more guidance please let me know and I will try my best to explain :).

      Lottie xx

  3. Pingback: Swirly Whirly! | Lottieknits

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