The " Kathryn Shawl"
"My Son is getting married in August 2021!" - Kathryn D.
Congratulations & Celebrations!
The Story: I have known Kathryn & Chris for a very long time as neighbors and great friends. Her son getting married is one of the best news of the 2021!
I pondered what I should gift the married couple and my wonderful friend - Kathryn, when it popped in my head - why not knit/crochet a shawl for her for the occasion! Kathryn, herself is very active crafter with her weaving and active participant in our Virtual Crafters Circle. Thus, began the quest for finding the perfect shawl and perfect yarn.
Love the way this drapes
Close up, very lovely delicate lace
Day 21! Knitting Done! Blocking & Review
Pop open the champagne! Shawl has been be cast off the needles. Loose cast off, cold water with lilac soap light wash, and painstaking blocking (pinned almost each wave of the pattern twice).
(a) 122 stitches
(b) 38 row repeats or 608 rows
(c) 2.5 skeins of yarn for roughly 1090 yards of 100% finest Mulberry silk
(d) 24+ inches wide and 78-80 inches in length
(e) Mistakes = 0!
(f) Time - immeasurable joyful seconds, minutes and hours
Pattern - Loved it and super easy!
Yarn - Loved it! Once I got the hang of handling the yarn slipping off the needles, I leveraged that "slippage" to favor smooth movements of stitches.
Knitting Needles from Chiagoo - Loved them! Absolutely a pleasure to work with.
* Gauge must be done with pattern. I was off by a few inches! In shawls it does not matter - at least that's what I think. The gauge in stocking stich was 30 stitches x 16 rows to 4.75 inches wide and 1.9 inches length. But with the pattern (and post blocking) I have a shawl about 22 inches wide and close to 80 inches in length; The gauge lands up at close to 5.5 inches width (30 stitches) and 2.15 inches in length for 16 rows. Quite a difference! Moral: Gauge and block with pattern
Tracking tool - paper, pencil and check marks as I go (see below)
Tools -Tracking and Keeping "Sane!"
One of the most common questions I often get is how do I remember where I have left off the knitting when I was interrupted or had to dash off. A few tips from the knitting room
(a) Use markers liberally. 12 repeats with 10 stitches in each repeat had a marker at the end, so kept count and kept pattern perfectly correct. Mistakes are caught fast!
(b) 16 row repeat each marked (see left hand side of the tracking paper) with what the row needed to do.
(c) Made up symbols to indicate in short what the row needed to do, "P" for Purl all, "O / \" for yarn-over's then the ssk's and k2togs, "/ \ O" for ssk's and k2togs then yarn-overs. And just to remind me the details of the repeat.
(d) A game of checkmarks as I finished the row, so, whenever I picked up (even after a breaks of several days), I knew exactly what row I needed to do next. My rule is either mark the one finished or the next one to do and stick to it!
(e) I didn't need to use them too often, but always have the needle stoppers (purple ones), just incase the stitches decide to slip off needles when picking up or putting down the work
My very simple, effective tracking tool without going insane
Day 10+.....: 2 Skeins Done!
Previously we did all the "mad" math and came to the conclusion that I need 40.5 repeats! Another small celebration - we have reached 29 repeats! 11-more to go! I think I will stop at 40 repeats (at 1.9 inch per repeat should give me blocked 76 inches)
I will celebrate when the piece is blocked and measured. I think it will be fine and I won't need to buy more yarn.
Now to the last skein and onwards......
Day 5.....: 1 Skein Done!
Whew! Not for 1 skein done, but that I think the calculations will work out fine. (read below day 4.5!) 1 skein needed to get me to 13 pattern row repeats with 12 stitch repeats, well, it has yielded 13.5 pattern row repeats with 12 stitch repeats. So, all three should yield me 40.5 repeats! A small celebration!
I will celebrate when the piece is blocked and measured. I think it will be fine! if not, I will go get another skein to add rows or borders to get to size!
Now to the next skein and onwards......
Day 4.5: Calculations! Calculations!
They say "Measure million times and cut once". I believe this is true in knitting as well, gauge - make a swatch, block, measure, and revise the final stitch and row counts and the needle size to use. Long time ago, I hard learned the lesson of not having done a swatch and measuring - but that is story for another day!
Needle size - 3.5 mm (I could have used 3.75 mm , but not 4 mm - why? I just like the blocked look of 3.5)
Pattern Recommended Yarns + Gauge
30 stitches by 28 rows with 3.5 mm
app. 7.5 stitches per inch
10 stitch repeat + 2 edging, 16 rows
Cast on: 132 stiches (13 pattern repeats + 2)
Blocked Size: 18 inches by 74 inches
Changed Yarn and Gauge
30 stitches by 16 rows with 3.5 mm
Swatch = 4.75 inches width, and just shy of 2 inches height (used 1.9 inches for the math)
Cast on stitches to get 18 inches = (30 * 18) / 4.75 = 113.68.
The pattern is a 10 stitch repeat + 2, so I choose to go up to 120 stitches + 2
Cast On: 120 stitches (12 pattern repeats + 2)
The pattern is 16 row repeat (hence the swatch rows = 16), 1 pattern set = 1.8 inches
Number of Pattern repeats approximated to 38-40 repeats;
With three skeins , each skein needs to make about 13 pattern repeats.
Normally, I would unravel the swatch (if it is the first time I am using the yarn), and measure the yardage used. Or reverse, measure the yardage used in swatch as I go. I was too excited to get going so didn't do this! And this gave me a few heart stopping moments when I thought I might need 4th skein!! (UGH!)
Skeins to Balls
"Hope" is 100% Mulberry Silk. Luminance Hand-painted by knitpicks.com
Day 4: Yarn Ordered and now...... it is finally here!
The hardest part of being a crafter is to wait for the delivery of materials!! 7 days (thank you knitpicks) for relatively fast delivery!
Step 1: Unboxing!
Step 2: Spending time with the yarn - going "ohhh!" and "ahhhh!" and this delivery.... well! delivers! All 100% silk yarn delivery! gorgeous vibrant shimmering luxurious soft light - "my oh! my! what a wonderful yarn"!
Step 3: Now get to work! Skein to balls.
Yarn delivery unboxing! Half the fun is opening the box that has all the "gifts" of yarn!
Day 3: Now for Yarn selections....
Pattern Selection - Done!!
Dresses Selection - Done!!
We are on a roll! ...... not quite, yet! Yarn selection turned out to be tougher than we thought! We knew we wanted 100% silk (and for that matter Mulberry Silk!). But what color would work? The criteria we made up was (a) should work with the dresses (duh!) (b) should suit Kathryn - I mean, what's the point if she dislikes the color or it does not work with her skin tones. Not trying to annoying, but I admit some colors just go together like peaches! (c) and, finally, I wanted it such that she would wear it even after the occasion, and not pack it in box!
Great shawls are meant to be worn!!
Winning yarn! D!!
"Hope" is 100% Mulberry Silk. Luminance Hand-painted by knitpicks.com
Day 2: Shawl pattern Selection: SPPPPPOOOOOKKKKKY!
When I saw this shawl the first time, I went .... "WOW! I want this for mysefl"
When I did a detail look through, I went ..... "OH! My! My! This is soooo Kathryn! Elegant beyond measure. This is her! I wonder what her selection will be?!"
We have a Winner! She Oh'd and Ah'd over all the selections, but loved this one as well.
When does it happen that we both selected the same one!
Day 1: The Choices! I set my own guidance for this project! Of course, the final decision on choices will be Kathryn's.
It must be lace! Silk or better
Other than that - I have no worries about it being simple or complex, as long as Kathryn loves it! I am good!
100's (possibly more) shawls reviewed! How do I review and select? I get myself to a Zen space (glass of wine always helps!), no other distractions, and spend 2-3 seconds per shawl, my heart's and soul's first reaction is more than enough to select a shawl. I copy the image and link and move one to the next. I also time box this quest to 60-90 mins, so I am not in searching paralysis!
Found 30ish designs, that I loved at first glance. With these (and a day later and another glass of wine!) I get down into the depths of the each. I select from that the designs I think will suit just as well.
Watch the video and let me know which one you would choose for yourself?