Sometimes, the best designs are like a mystery novel; all twists and turns and unexpected conclusions. It seems that the striped shawl is destined to be one of these (at least the mystery part; the design part is yet to be seen).

You’ll remember that I started out thinking that it was going to be a pair of socks. And then a brown and yellow shawl. And then a brown and yellow and purple shawl. Well, lo and behold, now it wants to be a sweater. Talk about ambition, huh?

It all started the other day when I noticed how nicely the shoulder shaping works in the laceweight version. Then, when I was knitting the beginning of the handspun version, I started to see a v-neck coming out of the shaping.

Today, I transferred the “shawl” to longer needles and laid it out so that you could see. I like the striped version a lot; it really highlights the details of the construction.

It starts out as a simple triangle, knit from the top. As you get to about 5 inches long, you add another double set of increases, which makes it start to wrap around the front. If this were to continue as a shawl, I’d knit to about 10 inches and then increase again, to make tails that flip up over my shoulders and out of the way. Simple.

Here’s what it looks like in the back. That extra set of increases that you add at 5 inches become the shoulder line, and the back keeps the shape of a triangle shawl.

But when you look at the front, it wraps all the way around to cover your neck.

What I thought would be a v-neck turned into a great high-collar opening, and the rest is just begging to be a raglan. Add in some sleeve openings, and I have a cardigan with really interesting stripes. If this were to be a shawl, I’m a few inches from done (I like mini-shawls better than full-length ones). But I have a good bit of yarn left, and I’m tempted to see how far it goes. I won’t have enough for a full sweater, but I think I could make a cropped cardigan. What do you think? Sweater, or shawl?

At the moment, I’m actually thinking that I might do both…this one becomes a sweater, and then I make another as a shawl because I like the idea of a shawl that wraps all the way around (or I could just finish the first one, and have a shawl). It’s very hard to resist such an interesting piece of geometry…