I’m happy to see that so many of you are going to knit along on the Summer Mystery Shawlette.
I have worked up a document (in pdf format) with all the preliminary information you need, along with the cast-on and shawl set-up. It is here. The link will be available from my Free Patterns page soon as well. And from the Ravelry pattern page too. Read this document first. (A note to advanced knitters who want to resize — add stitches in groups of 48 to make it bigger.)
Now, some guidance,
There is nothing that is terribly difficult to do in this shawl. You need to be able to cast on and bind off, knit and purl, and execute the following stitches (the links are to instructions for how to do each stitch):
- yarn over
- ssk (left-slanting decrease)
- k2tog (right slanting decrease)
- sl1 k2tog, psso (double decrease)
The pattern is both charted and written out so you can choose which method works best for you.
I’d say that for yarn you will want to lean towards less variegated rather than wildly variegated. The more solid your yarn color, the more the lace pattern will show. Some subtle variegation will work, though. I’m using a semi-solid: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Mulled Wine colorway.
My shawl is worked on a 24″ Signature Needle Arts circular with stiletto tips. I think it is easiest worked back and forth on a circular needle, and I find a 24″ needle just right for the number of stitches cast on. Remember, this is worked from the bottom up, so you start with the most stitches you will ever have, and work down to fewer. To start, I wouldn’t go any smaller than a 24″ length because you’ll have your stitches bunched up a lot of the time. As you work your way up, you can transfer your work to a shorter needle, but I am happy leaving mine on a 24-incher.
A 32″ needle is fine as well if you don’t have a 24″ length.
Note that you will also need a needle 2 sizes larger than the size you are going to use to knit your shawl (see “Getting Gauge” below). This is for the cast-on only (to make sure it is nice and stretchy) and you will immediately knit the stitches off this larger needle onto the one you will be using to knit your shawl on the first set-up row.
The unblocked gauge is 5 stitches to an inch in stockinette stitch, and I get that with a U.S. size 5 needle (but I’m a loose knitter). If you know you are a tight knitter, do a little swatch with a size 6.
But remember, this is lace, so gauge is not terribly important. You just wanna be in the ballpark. And if you have a choice between 4.75 stitches to an inch or 5.25 stitches to an inch on two different needle sizes, go for the size that gives you the looser gauge rather than the tighter (i.e. 4.75 stitches to the inch).
The pattern specifies either a long-tail cast-on or a lace cast-on(scroll down for the lace cast-on), but really, you can do whatever cast-on you are most comfortable with that will give you a stretchy edge. The cast-on is done on a larger needle to aid in stretchiness. I almost always do a long-tail cast-on.
I’ve not included an option to bead the shawl because I am not a fan of beaded knitting as a rule. I prefer to knit my knits unadorned. That doesn’t mean you can’t add beads if you wanna!
Remember, there’s a discussion thread for this project in the Wendyknits Ravelry group, here.
The next piece of the pattern will be released on Tuesday (May 17) — I’ll post it here in my blog. There are a total of five parts of the pattern — here is the release schedule:
- Preliminary Information — cast-on and set-up — today
- Part One — Chart A, 12 rows — Tuesday, May 17, around 4:30pm
- Part Two — Chart B, 12 rows — Sunday, May 22, around 11:00am
- Part Three — Chart C, 72 rows — Thursday. May 26, around 4:30pm
- Part Four — Chart D, 20 rows, and finishing instructions — Thursday June 2, around 4:30pm
Note that Part Three is a big chunk — I wanted it to be released before Memorial Day weekend (here in the U.S.) so those of you who have extra knitting time can indulge. But remember, because you are knitting from the bottom up, the rows get shorter and shorter, so it is not as daunting as it sounds!
That’s the schedule. However, you are welcome to knit at your own speed. If you prefer, wait until the entire pattern is released and start then. No pressure here!
Lucy is clearly feeling no pressure.