My third shawl was a relaxing break from lace knitting but includes a number of fun design elements. The Scania Shawl by Caroline Wiens is inspired by Skåne, in the southernmost part of Sweden. It’s an asymmetrical triangular shawl that uses five colours of fingering weight yarn held double, which produces a marled effect and a wide range of colour combinations. I chose maize heather (a mustard yellow) combined with earth tones from cream to dark brown. Again, I’m using Cloudborn yarn, this time Cloudborn Highland Superwash Sock Twist (80% Peruvian superwash highland wool, 20% polymide).
Along with the colour changes, the pattern includes a genius way of achieving the cable border and fringe. This is definitely a pattern worth trying.
I enjoyed knitting the High Sierra Shawl so much that I couldn’t help but get started right away on another lace shawl just released by the same designer, Romi Hill. This pattern was a little different, as it was part of an MKAL (Mystery Knit Along). In an MKAL, the design of the pattern is unknown at the start of the knit along. Each week, part of the pattern is released, therefore each stage of knitting is a complete surprise! It was a fun process, and I adore enough of Romi Hill’s patterns (which heavily feature lace), that not liking the end product wasn’t a huge concern.
I got started with two scrumptious skeins of Manos del Uruguay Alegria in the colourways Orla and Spirulina. They reminded me of new spring leaves, even though this year’s cold winter was still lingering and it was April but still snowing. I should add that this beautiful and richly coloured fingering weight yarn is hand dyed and fair trade. Manos del Uruguay provides jobs to women in their rural hometowns, and each skein is signed by the artisan with the name of the town they are from. Orla is by Maria in Dragon, and Spirulina is by Davida in Fraile Muerto, Uruguay.
This shawl was a great follow up to the High Sierra, as it had some common elements, while also adding in a number of new stitches and techniques. For one, I got to try cabling for the first time. Two of the sections feature tiny two stitch cables, and what could be better than lace and cables combined? Cables have also been a knitting technique (other than lace) that I admire due to how complex they appear. I am one for loving intricate little details.
I didn’t encounter any notable problems or issues knitting up this shawl. It shows how much my confidence and skill has improved since I first picked up knitting less than a year ago. I finished my shawl and despite being an MKAL, I was also pleased with how the colours turned out. In fact, the name of the pattern turned out to be Spring Forth, so how fitting that I had chosen colours that reminded me of spring!
Backwards loop cast on
Pick up and knit
Stitches: k, p, k tbl, p tbl, YO, k2tog, ssk, sk2p, kfb, pfb, M1, M1p, k2tog tbl, k3tog tbl, slip st wyif, slip st wyib, c2b, c2f, 2/3 sts, 3/3 sts, 2/3p sts, 3/3p sts, k3 into YO
With the Waverton Cowl under my belt, I took a dive in the deep end of the pool and started on the High Sierra Shawl by Romi Hill. It’s my first larger knitting project, and definitely not rated for beginners, even though it’s quite achievable. The pattern is well written and extremely clear. It also comes with video instructions. I love the lace, colour changes and asymmetry featured on this shawl, and I was quite determined to complete it.
I picked out the a Cloudborn Merino Superwash Sock Twist Mini Set in Hill Myna (gold and greys) with a larger skein of Cloudborn Superwash Merino Fingering yarn in black and cast on. It took me about an hour and multiple tries to cast on, even though there were only five stitches required! It was another new cast on method for me (CO through loop), but the result is that the stitches blend in seamlessly with the rest of the shawl. The cast on is actually situated in the middle and not at the edge of the shawl. After that, it was straight off into lace knitting on the first chart.
Once chart A, B and C were completed to form the top triangle with circular lace motifs, it was time to bind-off even though the shawl was just beginning. I found this to be a surprising construction, and tried the reverse stockinette i-cord bind off for the first time, which gave a clean looking edge that blended well with the garter stitch of the triangle. Once bound off, I continued knitting by picking up stitches along the lower edges of the triangle, added in some stripes and started the colour changes.
The rest is a combination of lace panels, stripes, and colour gradients that are constructed in an asymmetrical but balanced way. I found the construction to be extremely interesting and eventually got into the rhythm of it. In total there are 7 lace charts. The hardest (for me) was definitely Chart D. This is probably in part because I was still getting accustomed to lace knitting, although it is undoubtedly a very busy chart that includes triple yarn overs.
It was a bit of a relief to complete the last lace chart and see the shawl come together. But just when you think you are almost done, there’s a number of additional stripes to add at the end. And they are LONG stripes of about 400 stitches each, which comes out to many thousands of stitches, so it takes longer than you would think. After a lot of knitting I finished and it looks great!
Like rays of sunlight shining over the mountain peaks, this shawl is a stunner. It’s bold with stripes and colour contrasts. Elegant with lace and gradients. It’s been my most ambitious knitting project to date, but I’m so glad I did it.