No not that. This is the Fuss Free Festival Shawl by Louise Tilbrook - if you're in the Everyday Knitter Facebook group you'll have undoubtedly seen posts about this. I've made two, and I know lots of other people have made more than one. So... why?

1. It's super-easy

It'd be perfect for beginner knitters, and for more practised folks it's the perfect mindless TV/travel project. I made my first one (HERE on Ravelry) whilst on holiday in Norfolk with a group of ten friends, so I needed something super-easy. As I posted on the Everyday Knitter group at the time - I was working on it even after much sambuca and other beverages, and no I didn't have to rip back the morning after! Here is said shawl:

Fuss Free Festival Shawl in Eden Cottage Yarns Hayton 4ply

2. Any 4ply or DK yarn will make one

Because you can basically cast off at any point (just make sure you have enough yarn to cast off with*) it means that you can just cast on and knit away with whatever yarn you want to use. That's great if it's handspun for example, and you only have a rough estimate of how much yardage you have. Both of mine (so far!) have been in 4ply, but Louise has added instructions for a DK weight shawl into the pattern, which really expands on its potential.

3. It's particularly perfect for showing off variegated yarns

Do you ever buy a really variegated skein because you just love all the colours in it, then realise that most of the things in your Ravelry queue would look awful in it because the pattern will get lost in the colours?? The FFFS is so, so perfect for these yarns. Because the row length constantly changes you are less likely to get pooling colours, and because it's garter stitch there's no clash of stitch pattern vs colour; just squishy loveliness. I used it for this reason to knit up a skein of Oakworth 4ply in Wild Orchid - it's one of my main variegated colourways (it's been so good having chance to create some, but that's another story), but it is one that I feel needs a fairly simple pattern. It's HERE on Ravelry but I'll show it to you here too: 

Fuss Free Festival Shawl in Eden Cottage Yarns Oakworth 4ply in Wild Orchid

4. It's great to wear

Just that. It is really good to wear - it's one of those that's perfect as a scarfy type shawl (that's how I wear all my shawls), and you can have it loose as an accessory (remember those cotton/sparkly woven scarves that you used to get - probably still do (I still have mine from my pre-knitting days) - in summer I often wear a light shawl as an accessory in the way I used to wear one of those scarves). Or you can have it closer and snuggle right into it. It looks great with jeans and a t-shirt, or with a dress, or with a smart jacket.. it goes with everything. And if it does get too warm (gasp!) it's small and squidgy enough that you can take it off and cram it into your bag. Perfick!

5. It's so adaptable! 

I mean that in terms of to make. You don't have to do the picot edge, for a start. Louise has included instructions for a stripy version into the pattern too, which is a great stashbusting idea. You could easily add your own stripes, rows of eyelets, or even little stocking stitch stripes like those in Quadratic (great for using scraps!). Oh and it works really well as a two-skein shawl. The first one I made (top pic) actually used two full 100g skeins of Hayton 4ply, and it's a wonderful cosy size - I love it. I just made sure to finish with about double the recommended amount of yarn left for the picot edge. 

I hope this helps and inspires you. I've seen a few facebook posts from people recently asking 'why do you knit shawls' or looking for shawl patterns for beginners - I would hope that this post answers both those queries. For me a shawl is as much an accessory as a neck/shoulder-warming device, so I do make lots of them and I use them a lot too.

If you do make one, don't forget to share it on the Everyday Knitter facebook group and The ECY Garden facebook group - we're tiny in comparison to Louise's group but we do love to share inspiration. :)

*The rule that I use for seeing if I have enough to cast off is - lie the work out flat, measure four lengths of yarn across that (so if your work is 12 inches across you'd have measured out 48 inches) and that's usually enough. For casting off normally I'm a bit paranoid so I double it. A picot cast off will use even more, but if you know it's a 'cast on 2, cast off 4' one for example, then you know you're using at least 100% more yarn (because if you have say 100 stitches on the needles, using this method means you'll actually work (that includes casting on AND off) an additional 100 stitches). So... if your work measured 12 inches across and you'd normally measure out about 48 inches of yarn to cast off, I would say double that (at least) for a picot cast off. Furthermore, if you take a measure of your arm reach (e.g. nose to outstretched tip of middle finger) then you can measure out your yarn on the go. This is all just picked up from trial and error - it has no scientific basis, but it's always worked for me!

You can see a similar 'do I have enough yarn to knit this row?' solution HERE


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