I’m never sure how to start blog posts so I’ll dive right in..
It’s a simple, crescent shaped shawl that offers the opportunity to really play with colour, contrast, and/or subtlety. I designed the shawl as I wanted something that was so simple I could knit it whilst also participating in Eurovision drinking games.. (which I did, and no I didn’t have to rip back the morning after!) so make of that what you will. At the same time I had been dying to knit with Eldwick Lace (that’s our kid mohair/silk laceweight) held double with other yarns, so that’s how that came in to play. There are stripes in this shawl, and in the original version they are very subtle. My idea was to have sparkly stripes but have them in a colour close to the colour of the main yarn, so that you’d get just a subtle sparkle coming through the mohair. It’s really effective but it is hard to photograph. Oops. If subtlety is your thing but you fancy just a little bit of sparkle then I’d suggest going for a contrast colour that’s quite close to your main colours.
These are the colours I used in my original shawl shown above:
As such, we have put together lots of colour combination ideas for you. You can see them in our previous blog post HERE. They’re only suggestions - they’re not kits (mostly because we didn’t have the print pattern yet!), so you can go with them or go your own way. I’d heartily encourage you to use this pattern to experiment a bit.
For my second Laverton shawl I went for the contrasting colour option - I chose matching Carlisle and Eldwick (in Blue Geranium) so that the colour would really glow, but I went for a mini skein in Dahlia, which is a yellowy peach. I didn’t have any sparkly minis in that colourway so I went with the not-sparkly Carlisle. I also (take note) didn’t use the mohair for the stripes - I wanted the colour to really pop, and holding a highly contrasting shade of mohair along with it would have really muddied the colour. If you go for highly contrasting stripes you might consider doing the same.
So… tips on choosing colours:
- Choose your MC and mohair in colours that go well together (low contrast) to avoid it looking muddy, e.g. any colour with a neutral such as grey, cream, beige, etc.
- Bear in mind that what you’ll get is a fluffy halo of your mohair colour over the top of your MC, AND you can see the core of the mohair amongst the MC as well
- If you choose a richly coloured MC your mohair will diffuse/mute it unless it’s the same colour
- if you choose a highly variegated MC your mohair will blur the colours (as it has in my original shawl)
- For the stripes, either choose a low contrast colour which will ALSO go with the mohair
- OR choose a high contrast colour, but DON’T hold the mohair alongside it
A few other things that came up during test knitting but we felt didn’t really warrant being included in the actual pattern:
Working yarn overs…
You will need to work yarn overs both between knit and purl stitches, and purl and knit stitches.
Here’s a youtube video showing you how to do yarn overs between knit and purl stitches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzdot1KNYmw
And here’s a youtube video showing you how to do yarn overs between purl and knit stitches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycovWUdQiJY
A note about gauge…
This shawl is knitted at a gauge you might normally associate more with aran or even chunky yarn. Due to holding the mohair along with the 4ply/fingering weight yarn you get a thicker yarn anyway, and in order to help the shawl to drape nicely I’ve used quite large stitches - the fluff from the mohair fills in the gaps so it’s still cosy and warm. Remember that the gauge is after blocking, as well.
Which type of needles to use?
I would always recommend using circular needles even to knit flat/back and forth, as it means that you don’t have the weight of your work on your needles, which strains the wrists (I know I know, people have been knitting for 60 years or whatever and never had a problem, BUT if you have, and lots of us have, then this might help).
Secondly, I’m finding that Eldwick Lace is much easier to work with on bamboo needles. I find that for all laceweight actually - bamboo is a bit more clingy than metal or polished wood, so the stitches don’t slide about as much. Normally that wouldn’t be desirable but when it’s laceweight I find that it is. Personally I like KnitPro Basix which are a slightly-polished bamboo, so they don’t catch the yarn like other bamboo needles can do (I haven’t tried all brands - I’m sure there’ll be other good bamboo ones).
How to block it?
This is quite a nice easy one to block. I use the KnitPro blocking combs - since getting those I’ve never looked back. Yes, they’re expensive, but if you hate actually blocking things as much as I do, it’s worth paying to have equipment that makes it easier and quicker! So.. I start at the centre top with the combs. Give the shawl a gentle stretch widthways but it doesn’t need to be stretched overly hard. Pop your combs in along the straight edge, right on the edge, and allowing the shawl to curl around as it wants to. You’re aiming to straighten out the centre hump and a few inches either side, then to let it gently curve. The very ends will curve more dramatically - that’s ok - go with it.
Then for the picot edge, again start in the centre, this time at the bottom. Gently stretch the shawl downwards - this can be as much or as little as you want, although if you stretch it a lot it’s then harder to get the shape even (or so I’ve found), so I like to stretch it out then let it relax back a little bit. Again, go with the natural curve of the shawl, putting a T pin in each picot point, working outwards from the centre. I do about six on one side, then six on the next, and so on until you get to the ends. The nice thing about a picot edge is that it’s quite forgiving, and it’s obvious where to put your pins! I always find a normal cast off edge on a crescent shawl much harder to block evenly!