MKALs (mystery knit-a-longs) are not normally something that I get involved in because I am usually so far behind with new pattern releases that the KAL element is already over by the time I get involved! The closest I normally get is creating yarn packs for others to make wonderful things from. But for some reason this one hit at just the right time (Oct 2021 I think) and when I was in the mood for doing something different. I mentioned it to yarn-enablers Debbie and Claire and it piqued their interest too, so before we knew it we had an ECY Shedquarters knitalong going on! We got very excited about doing a Stephen West MKAL in three very different ECY colour palettes.
You may be wondering how MKALs (or MCALs for the crocheters) work. You buy or sign up to the MKAL and are provided with yarn requirements and any other important information ahead of time so that you can be ready. There is normally a strong social media element to an MKAL/MCAL so you will also be told how to get involved on social media and other forums - this is optional though. Once the KAL starts the pattern is released in weekly chunks. It is only once the full pattern has been released that you will know what the finished object will look like.
With having lots of people making the same thing at the same time it is a great opportunity for participants to share tips and tricks as well as comparing how the different colours chosen affect the overall feel of the item. One great thing about an MKAL/MCAL is that it doesn't matter if you fall behind (unless you don't want spoilers) as you can catch up when you are ready. People online are normally pretty good at hiding their progress with spoiler warnings so that you can choose whether or not to look.
The yarn requirements for this MKAL were five x 100g skeins of 4ply/fingering weight yarn; all different colours but with one framing colour which should be a neutral. Find the full pattern HERE.
Like I said, I don't normally get involved in MKAL's at the time but something about this one captured my imagination. I was really excited to see members of our facebook group (The ECY Garden) posting about their colour combinations and I had to get involved. We had our own mini-KAL in the group and Claire and Debbie were both knitting along at the same time. There were lots of beautiful combinations and it was a joy to see them all developing.
My Shawlography uses Keld Fingering in Woodland, Coniston Fingering in Thunder, Oakworth 4ply in Hot Choc, Keld Fingering in Chestnut and Pendle 4ply in Plum. Hot Choc made a wonderful framing colour with its gentle variegation of cream and soft brown. This colour combination feels really autumnal and earthy with striking accents from the Plum. I slightly changed the border pattern, adding in the thin stripes of Plum in between the thicker stripes of the other colours.
Claire used Keld Fingering in Echinops, Titus Fingering in Tarn, Hayton 4ply in Millpond, John Arbon Paint by Numbers, Rosedale 4ply in Whispering Grass and Keld Fingering in Falling Leaves. This combination really reminds me of beach scenes and it is stunning. Claire decided to make the border differently as well and it looks really smart - when we posted this on social media it was a *really* popular idea.
Debbie used mostly Oakworth 4ply for hers, and her colourways are Hot Choc (that's the creamy one), Larkspur, Waterfall, Thunder, and Bark. Blues and neutrals are a classic combination, also quite coastal but in a different way. Debbie loved the edge section of Claire's shawl so much that she decided to do hers in the same way.
This was such a fun project to work on, with each clue containing new techniques to keep us interested. It is a great way to have fun with different stitches and I actually really loved not having any idea what it would look like. I literally just knitted each line as it came - I didn't look ahead at all and that really kept me interested, it was very cool. As a five skein project it does take quite a while but the finished shawl is an enormous statement piece and I have to say I've already worn it loads more than I thought I might - I thought it would be a bit big and bulky if I'm honest but over winter throwing it around my shoulders was like a big hug, and I adore the colours and striking patterns in it. The best thing was when we had it in the car travelling one evening and my other half was feeling tired and cold so he snuggled up in it. When he woke up later he declared he was keeping it on because it was so cosy and lovely. Don't worry, I have re-claimed it though. 😁
We have five colour 4ply yarn packs on the website HERE. What colour combination would you choose?