Sunday, July 18, 2010

My first shawlette design

UPDATE:  Early release pattern is READY - to order, click here!

In the 70's, when I was a kid, shawls were usually crocheted and rather dull.  Sure, there were knit shawls, usually in exquisite lace, knit and worn by elderly ladies.  But what folks seemed to wear (at least where I lived) were shawls crocheted in squeaky, durable, will-live-through-the-apocolypse acrylic yarn (in fact, I still have a throw that either my Mom or Grandma crocheted maybe 20, 30 years ago in acrylic!).

In the 80's, when I was obsessed with crocheting lace, I ran across knitted lace and nearly swooned.  Amazing!  I didn't really have the knitting chops to knit lace (M1?  What's that!?!) and the library books that I managed to find on the subject made no sense to me.   Sigh.

With the knitting revival that we're currently enjoying, gorgeous lace and non-lace shawlettes and shawls abound.  And knitters LOVE their shawls and socks, both of which I knew I needed (and wanted) to add to my own pattern line up.  However, I wasn't going to do so until next year.  I select a new skill each year to focus on as I prepare for the upcoming Fall/Holiday season.  Shawls and socks weren't on the schedule for 2010, but ... I changed my mind.
I'll talk a bit more about process, etc. in the coming weeks.  But first, I wanted to share with you my first shawlette!

This is Cheques (checkered rib).  I've been working on this since mid June:   my first shawlette or kerchief or triangle scarf or whatever term you prefer.  Why so long to knit?  A few very good reasons:  (a) fingering weight yarn, (b) size 3 knitting needles, (c) solid fabric (no lace!), (d) learned a few things along the way, and (e) this isn't the only thing I've been knitting!

I loved using Hedgehog Fibres merino wool/cashmere for this (but love using any of Beata's hand dyed yarns - so beautiful!).  The 20% cashmere creates a soft halo for a soft matte (versus shiny) fabric that looks and feels very sumptuous.

I wanted to design a piece that male knitters could also enjoy (and possibly wear!), hence the kerchief rather than a super lacy shawl.  I also wanted a fabric that showcased subtle and random shifts in color, rather than distracting from the color.

And I wanted a piece for any level of knitter.  I think the trickiest part is the garter stitch cast on, which is so easy once you master it.  (p.s., I'm not finding a video or tutorial to link to for this - I will find one and link to it, though!)

Finally, I wanted a one skein project.  The above, on size 3 needles, took about 380 yards.

I'm working on the pattern now, this time using size 4 needles (maybe it will go a little more quickly?) and using Malabrigo sock yarn (SO soft and buttery - and shiny). Although I love the texture and colors, I keep thinking I should use size 3's (oy).  I'm using the Indiecita colorway, which I absolutely love.  With 440 yards, this should end up considerably larger.

I'll be sharing a first draft or "early release" of the pattern for Cheques, as soon as it's complete, this week ... at a ridiculously low price!  The first draft will be the smaller size, but those who purchase the early release will receive the later release with full instructions for both sizes.

Why am I doing this, you ask?  Well, I could (and would) spend the next month or two working on the full pattern.  But I have a LOT of patterns I'm writing up in time for the Renegade Craft Fair.  I want this to be ready for Renegade too, and I can do that with an early release.

Also, it gives my customers a chance to try a new pattern at half the usual price!  I may be doing this more often!

To be notified when the pattern is released, click here to add your name to the list!


madichan said...

Beautiful! I love the way this drapes. And size 3 needles - good grief!

Brenda said...

Thanks, Mad!

I know, I know ... that's a whole lotta knitting!!!

Sharon said...

Cool shawlette design, Brenda! I love things knitted on size 3's!

OMG, that Indiecita colorway is to die for!

Brenda said...

Thanks, Sharon! I am loving the Malabrigo sock colorways - so subtle, while rich. Sigh.

Summer said...

So, so pretty! It's perfect for fall!

Brenda said...

Thank you, Summer! And yay, Fall! xo