Despite the fact that the alpaca shawl is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite knitted objects, it is far from perfect. It was a piece that evolved, not one that was designed. Sometimes this works beautifully, and it was fun to use a different approach to the design process.

Combined with the limitations of the yarn (not a lot of it, and not really re-knittable), the evolution left its mark.

First, the shawl is pretty narrow.

Great for a scarf (which is primarily how I’ve used it), but a little stingy on the width for serious shoulder-wrapping.

And while I like it like this:

This looks ever so much better:

See that center seam hanging out below the bust line? Yeah. That means it needs extra length, with more of it in the waving lace pattern.

Next, there’s the edging. It looks great when worn, but right after blocking it looked like this:

Those corners are bulging out because I added too many repeats in the turn section.

And then there’s the seam. I knit the two halves and then grafted them together. It’s not a bad graft, but it is definitely visible, particularly because it interrupts the faggoting columns.

Finally, there’s the part where the different kinds of openwork refused to play nicely together.

Overall, lots of room for improvement. Plenty of things to play with in the next version (and why knit if there can never be a “next version”??).

The second shawl is knit from the center with a provisional cast on. With a little bit of care, it’s simple to keep the faggoting in pattern. I can still see the seam, but just barely, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to see it at all after blocking.

(Sorry for the flash, but it really helps you see the lace detail more clearly…)

I added another repeat to the waving lace panel, making it about 4 inches wider. Last time, the waving lace limited how wide I could block the piece. This time, it will be a little less stretched and I’ll get a more open openwork section, which was kinda the idea.

I replaced the Rick Rib with a simple yo k2tog faggoting stitch. Looks beautiful, only slightly different, and it works well with the waving lace pattern.

Last time, I ended the waving lace abruptly at the join with the openwork section. I didn’t like how that looked, so this time I extended the last repeat of the waving lace into the faggoting.

It’s a tiny bit uneven at the join, as my abundant stitch markers messed a bit with my tension, but I’m pretty sure that it will block out well.

I used fewer turn repeats, making a nice, tight corner that shouldn’t overstretch.

And the knit-from-the-center construction eliminates four grafts in the edging, making for a much nicer, smoother border.

This version has used a ton more yarn (probably about 600 yds, all told), mostly because of the larger waving lace area. It’s denser knitting, and so requires a lot more length. I had between 350 and 400 yards of the alpaca, by comparison.

The Cascade sock isn’t the softest stuff on the planet, but I think it will wash nicely. I wanted something a little heavier than a laceweight, and this was all that the shop had in the right color when Branden visited. I love the sculptural look of the waving lace in the high-twist yarn, though this one will definitely not have the same warmth as my soft and fuzzy alpaca.

I don’t think this shawl will steal the others’ place anytime soon, but it’s fun to see the same pattern knit in two different yarns, and this one is far and away the better design.

And now, off to finish the pattern transition in the second half…almost finished!