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):
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!
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:
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:
Now it was sketching time:
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!
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!