Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year Cast On: My Sister Shawl MKAL

I'm doing something I've never done before - a mystery knit-along (MKAL).

Recently, I've started following a knitting podcast hosted by three sisters (and sometimes the fourth sister joins them), Cozy Up with the Stitchin Sisters. They live in northern Alberta (like five hours north of Edmonton - that is way up there) and podcast weekly about their knitting life.

I find them very entertaining and one of them very much reminds me of one of my sisters. (I'll let you try to figure out which sister reminds me of which of my sisters. :)

When they announced they were hosting their first mystery knit-along, I decided I would like to play along. I generally avoid mystery -alongs because I like to know what the finished product is going to be (and how I can change it to make it into what I want it to be). But I decided to put that aside and go along for the ride.

The first "clue" was going to be released New Year's Day (a "clue" being the instructions for that week) and in late December, I still didn't know what yarn I was going to use. I thought I could use some raveled cashmere from my stash but it turned out I didn't have enough or suitable colours.

I had just heard of a new yarn store so I went to check it out one afternoon. There are so many pretty yarns in so many pretty colours, but they're not all wearable with a wardrobe. Some people seem to be able to put on any shawl with any outfit and look great, but I never feel good when I try it. So I decided to look for colours that I could wear with my wardrobe. Like red and black and white (or natural).

They had quite a selection and I had a lot to look through. The pattern told you to get two solids and a speckled yarn. I debated trying three solids or some other combination because I don't really like speckled yarns, but then decided to just go with it and do what the pattern said.

I looked all through the store and narrowed it down to two options. Neither was black and red, but they were pretty colours. When shopping for yarn (or fabric), you usually have to drop whatever idea you had going in and go with what's available. I've come to expect that.

So I settled on one of the options and as I was putting away the skeins I wasn't going to use (I am a considerate shopper), there on the other side of those skeins was the very thing I had in mind!
This is why I wander slowly and keep looking - it's so easy to miss something the first time past. So I was very happy with the yarn I was able to get. They're all wool/silk blends (the red and black have some bamboo as well).

And since the Stitchin Sisters are "can't-wait" sort of people, they released the first clue on December 31 and I got to stitching!

The pattern started with the red and a provisional cast on. I chose to use the crochet cast on so it would be easy to pick up the stitches when they're needed.
You can see there's some lace mesh, then the broken seed stitch for some texture and then more lace mesh.

Then there's a lot of garter stitch as more colours are brought in and a few eyelets.
And here is the entire Clue 1:
The weird shape is because the lace mesh is a very biased fabric and skews on the diagonal. Hopefully that will block out, but even if it doesn't it will be unlikely to affect the look while the shawl's being worn.
So far there is far too much garter stitch for me (although it is a great chance to practise knitting continental style). I much prefer stocking stitch, but I am still along for the ride. Clue 2 comes out on Monday so we'll see where that takes us!

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