I wanted to make a shawl for my Mom with some beautiful pink mohair I bought especially to knit something for her but while it was mostly soft, it needed just a little bit of help, which came in the form of another strand of super soft mohair carried along with it as I knitted. I saw a version of this particular scarf, which must have been knitted wider too, it was very elegant looking. I actually widened this pattern (Originally Airy Scarf) by increasing it to 48 stitches cast on, and since I am knitting with two strands of mohair, I increased the needle size to 15 which was the desired amount of "airiness" for me. After I had worked the repeat for a few rows, I decided to add a more detailed lace pattern to the center. This was my first time knitting with lace weight yarn and I had chosen a very simple pattern for that reason. The mohair was helpful too, not so slick for a beginner. I was encouraged by an interview awhile back on the Knitpicks podcast, with the author of the book, I Can’t Believe I’m Lace Knitting, written by Kay Meadords. She was really down to earth with her advise, explaining that you can start lace knitting with something a simple as yarn-overs and build on it. That got me thinking about the Airy Scarf, which I fell in love with the moment one of my friends, Kathryn, “Faved” it and it popped up on my Ravelry, friends activity page, thank you, KG! Could it be the pink fluffiness that won me over so instantly? As I mentioned once I worked a few yo rows and found that I was comfortable with the skinny yarn, I began looking for a more intricate pattern for the center of the shawl.
The Optic Waves pattern, by Sheila January, from The Knitters Book of Yarn, worked out quite nicely for this, as it's a 12 stitch repeat and I had cast on 48 for the original enlarged Airy Scarf pattern. I had worked 80 rows, which worked out to be two narrow yo rows and six wide yo rows from the Airy Scarf pattern. Now I'm incorporating three of the optic wave pattern repeats per row, each row begins and ends with K6. I was proud of myself for figuring out what was wrong the other night when I messed up by starting the pattern row on the ws row when I should have been purling…it was way past my bed time…anyway I messed up the first 12 stitches of this row about 12 ways from Sunday. I was moving stitches backward, forward and every which way backing them off then trying to fix it. It’s a miracle I didn’t drop any! Thank you mohair yarn and knitting angels! When I counted…10 stitches, but no dropped stitches, it was a real head scratcher for a minute, then I realized I had inadvertently missed picking up a couple of the yo’s as I was noodling around with the stitches! I found them, got them back on the needle, did my purl row like a good girl and because I enjoy the pattern so well, knitted a few more rows!
This is also the first time I have knitted using a chart. Can I say, I ADORE IT!!! I have friends that use them all the time. I once saw my friend Kathryn jot down the chart for a pattern and I asked, you can get the whole pattern from that? I thought, How handy, would that be….if you knew what it all meant. Then one day another friend at our knitting group, Rosalyn, was learning to read and knit from a chart and she was really excited about it, so she gave me a mini tutorial. She told me that when reading the chart you start in the bottom right and read to the left. Good information! Thank you! The chart is set up very nicely, showing you which way to read the next row, by numbering them on alternating sides if you are working in rows or the same side if you are working in rounds. All you chart knitters are saying, “no kidding, this is not news.” But I never really got this information looking at the charts in my stitchonary, I’m sure it’s there, I just didn’t notice. Friends, this was the fastest I’ve ever memorized a pattern, I loved not having to refer to the pattern repeatedly, which is so fussy when all you really want to do is knit and listen to NPR or watch TV.
The shawl will be finished on either end with a border from Crocheting Over The Edge, it’s a darling little pattern with butterflies dangling on the diagonal. (say that 10 times fast) My Mom will love it. It wont be long now, I’m almost done!!!
So it makes sense that I’m referring to it as the Mix and Match Shawl, all these great inspiring ideas, from those wonderful authors and from friends, who planted little seeds of knowledge along the way, and you can see why I’m so excited to see it complete! I hope my Mom gets as much enjoyment out of wearing it as I have making it!