Thursday, July 24, 2008

Change of Heart

I haven't said much about the Afghan for Afghans shawl lately. It is deserving of more. When even my brain feels cross-eyed with cables and graph paper, it's a refuge of sanity and simplicity. Not only that, and even better, it has ceased to be the Red Shoes Project. I admit I was still a bit queasy over the color scheme, even after adding the red stripe. Once the wide (ish) green swath was in place, I was much happier with it.

So happy that I'm willing to share the recipe.

Directions for the "I Did It My Way (and I'm not a Frank Sinatra Fan)" Shawl.

Choose your yarn and circular needles. I'm using Unique Sheep Super Wool in Evergreen for the base and an assortment of Dale of Norway Tiur (the pink) and Baby Ull (the rest of the colors) for the stripes.

Swatch (sorry, but it's necessary).

Do the math (sorry, sorry). Stitches per inch from the swatch times the length or width of your shawl (depending on how you want the stripes to run).

Choose the kind of border you want and cast on. I used the crochet cast-on -- because I like the way it makes the cast on edge match the bind-off -- and an odd number of stitches -- because I wanted a seed stitch border (or is it moss stitch over an odd number and seed over an even?) that began and ended with a knit stitch -- and cast on 301 stitches for the length of the shawl so my stripes would run horizontally.

Knit your border - garter, rib or moss/seed stitch. I did 5 rows of moss stitch.

Knit in stockinette, maintaining a 5 stitch border at each side until you can't stand using the same yarn anymore. Add a stripe. I made it for about 3 inches. Here's the part where you see why you needed to use circular needles. It wasn't just for the huge stitch count. Slide back to the base color. Knit a row. Add another stripe. Slide to the other end. Knit a row. Continue for as many stripes as you want. Make the stripes farther apart by knitting more rows of the base color and carrying the contrast yarn up the side. Make wider stripes by knitting more than one row of the contrast.

Make up the pattern as you go along, repeat in it reverse once you've reached the half-way point.

One word of warning. If you go for the single row of contrast color, when you slide your yarn over, if you keep doing K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 for your border, it's going to get out of whack. Sometimes you're going to have to do P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, so look at your stitches. Remember that, for mos stitch to work, you need to knit into the purl stitches and purl into the knit stitches. I don't want to discuss how many stripes I went through and how many times I dropped down to fix the border before I figured that out.

It's knit. The ends are woven in. It's blocking. I'll send it off to San Francisco as soon as it's dry.

Wonder what I'll find next to help me avoid The Cable Project.


Cathy said...

Really nice! And thanks for the directions. Now that I've seen your shawl & Laura's (scarletknitter) circular/steeked shawl I'm almost wishing a4A would have another shawl campaign so I can try these & knit something a little more challenging.


Anonymous said...

It is beautiful! and I think Elvis may have ahd a version of "My Way"

Laura said...

Cool shawl and very clever use of your circular needle! I have to applaud having to purl 300 + stitches and using such lightweight wools! I hope to see your shawl in person as I volunteer in the basement periodically.