I made only two knitting-related goals for 2014:
- Try new knitting techniques
- Knit 14 shawls before the end of the year
Well, this project puts check marks next to both of those. Introducing my Unruly shawl, designed by Linda Wilgus.
My 14 shawls only have to be completed in 2014, or this shawl definitely would not count. I started it back in November and brought it with me to Boston, knitting a few rows each night after Hannah went to sleep. (She's an "early to bed, early to rise" type and I'm pretty much the exact opposite.) After I got home, though, I put it aside for other projects, mostly Christmas gifts. But at the beginning of February, I decided that it needed to be finished, so after a few days of feverishly-paced knitting, I finished it on Valentine's Day.
Unruly is knit entirely in garter stitch (ah, bliss) and with short rows shaping. I had always avoided short rows because I was convinced they were way harder than they actually are. Call me crazy (it's okay... I'll wait) but I had thought knitting short rows meant that you somehow made stitches that weren't as tall as normal knit stitches, NOT that you just turned your work before reaching the end of your row. I mean, DUH, right? If I had ever even tried to learn this before, I would have immediately known that they were NOTHING to be afraid of. Silly, silly me. But you live and you learn, right?
Let's talk about the designer for a second, okay? I have this horrible thought that the people who design the patterns I purchase on Ravelry are some kind of distant group of individuals who only want to sell you their pattern and then laugh as they read the messages they get from knitters who are struggling with their projects. Well, all experience points to literally the opposite being true, but I still feel weird commenting on the pattern page with a question. What if they don't get back to me, and I have to put this aside? What if they think I'm dumb for asking a question about something I'm not clear on? What if, what if, what if?
How about this scenario instead: what if the designer responds to you in less than 12 hours, not only with helpful information, but also with a compliment about YOUR designs?
I'm excited to hear you're knitting Unruly, I hope you're enjoying the project! Oh, I love your designs btw!
Ahem. Moving on.
I had a really good time knitting this shawl. I think it was a perfect choice for a first short rows project since everything else about it was so simple. After all is said and done, I have just two comments about it:
- I should have switched the colors of the stripes. I like the pink much more than the yellow, so I kind of wish that the biggest stripe was pink instead. I don’t hate it by any means, but I can’t help but think that every time I look at it. Merp.
- I'm not sure that I entirely love the end result shape of this shawl, but through no fault but my own. I followed the instructions to the word, but I seem to have bound it off too tightly. I always have a problem with that, and when I messaged Linda about which bind-off she recommended, she said she used the standard, but that suspended may be better if I think I bind off too tightly - the exact reason why I asked in the first place. So I went with that one, but I think my edge is still far too tight. As a result, it took a bit of finagling to get it into the shape Linda recommended on my blocking boards because the bind-off edge just wouldn't form into the proper shape. It dried super quickly (thank god for the fingering weight yarn & warmth of my bedroom combination), but when I hold it up, it isn't right at all. It hangs in the shape of an upside down triangle, as compared to Linda's sample (see above). The curve of hers also makes the short rows look way cooler than mine. Waah.
I just wish I knew what it was exactly that I did wrong! I'm assuming it was the bind-off edge, but maybe it was something else I did. Hmm. BUT since I'm always determined the look at the bright side of life (and knitting... especially knitting), I've decided that I'll just wear it the way it ended up! I love triangle shawls, so I have no problem with this at all. It doesn't hang like a true triangle shawl does, but I love it anyway.
To knit this shawl, I used four skeins of Cascade 220 Fingering, purchased at Do Ewe Knit? in Westfield, NJ. (And, yes, the question mark IS an official part of that shop's name.) I'm not sure why I decided to go with pink and yellow, but I DO know that the night before buying it, I had had this whole conversation with myself (what, you don't talk to yourself?) about the fact that I needed to start knitting things in color palettes that weren't necessarily matchy-matchy. If me, myself, and I hadn't had that talk, I'm sure this shawl would be purple, pink, and grey instead.
NOTE TO SELF: If you decide to knit this shawl again, use a fingering weight yarn with a little more density. Cascade 220 Fingering claims it’s fingering weight, but I’d definitely consider it light fingering.
Shawl 1/14 complete.
Short rows technique checked off the list.
I'd call this a successful knit.