Sun 18 Mar 2012
When I realized that the striped shawl sweater was in fact going to be a sweater and not a shawl, it freed me up to finish the spiral shawl that has been languishing on the needles for ages. The idea for this pattern came from the spirals of a seashell, which made me wonder if adding successive layers of increases would lead to a spiral that eventually wrapped around.
For the pattern, I decided to go for a short shawlette version, something small and simple to highlight the shape and the increase lines.
One of the reasons I’d first put this shawl aside was that I just couldn’t find an edging that I liked. I looked and looked, but nothing was quite right. I wanted something with a little lace to it, but that preserved the simplicity of the shawl. I’ve found myself more and more drawn to simple, understated stockinette pieces lately, and I didn’t want anything too showy to distract from the gentle play of color in the yarn. The edging would also need to have a gauge similar to the stockinette shawl body. When I looked this time, I found the perfect thing right away. I stumbled across this simple edging with columns of yarnovers and decreases, making a beautifully scalloped edge in the first book I opened. I must admit I’m rather smitten. See how it curls around at the very tips?
Because of the flared shaping, the shawl front looks almost ruffled when worn open.
Or it can wrap around to be worn closed. You can see echoes of the sweater in this shot, I think.
(I also love how that upward sweep shows off the shawl pin that Branden bought for me, from Nicholas and Felice.)
The original plan was to continue the increases and make the shawl a few inches longer, so that the ends would wrap up and over the shoulders. I decided to stop here, largely because I wasn’t loving working with this yarn. The shawl is knit in Knit Picks bare lace, which I dyed with Logwood purple in a workshop I took a couple of years ago. I love the color, but something in the dyeing left the yarn a little rougher than before, and it wasn’t terribly fun to work with. The workshop dyepots weren’t quite ideal, and the dye didn’t fully take to the yarn, so it kept coming off all over my hands while I knit. I think I’ll probably revisit this pattern again in the future with a different yarn to make a longer version; I can see myself wanting a few shawls with this kind of shaping.
The back looks like a simple triangle shawl, with one column of yarnovers decorating the center.
I used a cabled cast off for the hem, which I think gives it a nice decorative edge. There’s an extra yarnover thrown in there to help keep it stretchy.
And so, the spiral shawl is finally done.
After much calculation and reworking to make sure I got all the numbers right in my scribbled notes, the pattern is also ready for test knitting, should any of you want to give it a try. It’s quite a simple knit, with only one row at the body-to-lace transition that requires some attention.