Thursday, July 09, 2020

I'm Sensing a Bit of a Theme

I mentioned on Tuesday that I was close to finishing my TTL Mystery Shawl, and I did indeed finish, but I will talk about that further down in the post in case anyone wants to avoid spoilers. I always feel the need to start a new project when one is finished, and you also saw my swatch for my next sweater in my last post. Last night I cast on for it, and it just occurred to me that I've got a bit of a color theme going, completely unintentionally. I didn't anticipate working on these two projects back to back, and certainly when I bought the yarn for this sweater back in 2018, I didn't even know that I'd be knitting the mystery shawl, but here you have it.

Obviously this isn't much of a start, but this is only about an hour's worth of knitting from last night. I expect it will grow quite quickly. I did look at stitch counts and do some math, and it looks like I'm going to be fine using my gauge and the directions for a smaller size. I'm actually knitting the extra small, which is crazy pants to me, but it means I will likely use less yarn than I have (because I bought yarn for the medium size, I think) and thus may have enough to lengthen the sleeves. As much as I like the look of the 3/4-length sleeves specified in the pattern, I'm much more likely to wear something with full-length sleeves, particularly as I always wear sweaters with a t-shirt underneath and have very few with 3/4-length sleeves.

Sweaters aren't exactly fast projects, but I'm feeling pretty confident that I can knit this one up in a relatively short period of time. There is some slip-stitch colorwork in the yoke and some short rows, but after that, it's all stockinette in the round. I expect this will be a good project to work on while reading!

And now let's get on to the main event -- my finished shawl! Let's see if I can do it justice with my photos.

I have said several times that this pattern is not something I would have picked to knit on my own if I'd seen photos of it beforehand, but I am glad I took the risk in knitting it because it was so much fun! It was a challenging knit, with the combination of lace, cabling, and mosaic knitting, but that level of engagement kept me focused, meaning that my mind was fully on my knitting and less involved in stressing over the general state of the world.

The yarn I used was really unlike the yarn that was recommended. The Jill Draper yarn that Kirsten used is woolly and nubby and textured. My yarn, a merino/silk single, is shiny and drapey. So my finished shawl doesn't have the texture or the dimensionality (is that a word?) that was perhaps intended, but I think I am more likely to wear this shawl because of its lack of bulk.

I ended up using about 363 yards/332 meters of the gray and 372 yards/340 meters of the red. A number of people either ran out of one color or were worried they were going to, so I'm glad that I picked a yarn with plenty of yardage in it so I didn't have to stress about playing yarn chicken. I have small balls left that will be good for swatching or playing with.

The only thing I don't really love about the shawl is the bind off. It's a creative way to do it, but it was a challenge to block. I used blocking wires along all three edges to get an even block on the shawl, and doing so was straightforward for the two sides (I ran the wires through the garter edge of the straight vertical and through the yarnovers along the diagonal vertical). It was difficult doing it for the top edge, though. I ended up running the wires through the big yarnovers in the motifs and then tugging the reverse stockinette band of Color B so that it sat above the wire. I'm not sure if that's what Kirsten intended, but it seems to have worked out okay. I also needn't have worried that it wouldn't be big enough -- after blocking, it's plenty big!

I have to say that I'm rather proud of myself for keeping up with the clues and getting each one done in a day or two after it was released, though I know that working from home this year is really what allowed me to do it. I know some of you have been surprised at how much crafting I've been able to get done, but the secret is that I simply have a lot more time to do it. The nature of my job is really feast or famine: I either have a lot to do or I seem to have nothing to do. Back when I was still going to the office every day, the slow times meant all I really got done was reading books online, but now that I no longer have to look like I'm busy, I'm free to knit or crochet or spin, provided I'm keeping my eye on my inbox. Plus I've gained a bit of extra time in my day given that I'm not commuting or running to pick up Rainbow at school or really going anywhere during the day. It's a nice perk of the pandemic!


  1. I love your sweater yarns together and the fact that you started a new project immediately after finishing one. Your TTL shawl is simply gorgeous. I'm not sure I would have thought to put those colors together, but they work perfectly and some of Kirsten's stitch patterns are genius. Congratulations on a lovely finish!

  2. The drape of your shawl is gorgeous. I kept hoping to see it modeled—so glad you included that last stunning photo! I like what you said about having to concentrate on the variety of stitches and how that kept your mind off the state of the world (if momentarily!). A knitting meditation.

  3. Your shawl is just beautiful Sarah. And that sweater pattern is great! I can't wait to see yours knit up. Happy Friday!

  4. Your shawl is beautiful! I agree - I wasn't a fan of the bind off either. But I've never played with the bind off before, so it was still a fun experience. I hope your shawl gets a lot of use!

  5. The more of these shawls I see, the more I want to knit one! I love your colour choices - it just looks gorgeous.

  6. Your shawl is simply stunning, Sarah - love it! I will say the taste I had of the pattern reminded me that I do miss knitting lace and I'm definitely going to try to start something else soon.

  7. The shawl is beautiful. I love your color combination. I find I too am enjoying having a project that requires some concentration to take my mind off the state of this country. Knitting and learning to spin have contributed to my mental health.