The shawl that never ends

August 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

So for August I got really ambitious, probably thanks to the success of the Tour de Fleece, where I managed to not quite spin every day, but had a lot of fun nonetheless. Unfortunately my plans to participate in two knitalongs this month got steamrollered by falling ill, so the two shawls I hoped to finish — one a design of my own, no less! — have yet to materialize. I’ve gotten about 80% or so through the mystery knitalong shawl, designed by Stephen West of westknits. Oh, and I clearly got nowhere on testing the cowl I designed last month, and therefore can’t publish yet.

At first I was a bit tentative to join the westknits knitalong because it requires intarsia, though it turns out intarsia is actually quite easy. For the first and second clue I wasn’t really that wild about the shawl, but I’m glad I persevered because I actually really like it now, though it seems endless, the rows dragging on stitch after stitch. I’ve already settled on what I’ll knit for the fourth clue (the edging), going with a nice, easy garter-stitch border, perhaps with some thin contrast stripes.

Jamieson and Smith Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight

While I like the pattern, my favorite part of the shawl is the yarn. It’s a good thing too that I like it as I ordered a LOT of it back when there was a sale at Jamieson and Smith’s, one of the Shetland Isles’ biggest yarn sellers. I bought enough for a sweater and more, which was risky, I know, but the worldwide free shipping sale was too much to resist. I ended up with seven of the nine colors J&S offers, thanks to ordering some colors for my sweater (it’ll be striped), and getting some yarn chosen for me in a “lucky dip” (grab bag).

As the yarn I ordered is the Shetland Supreme and therefore hand-selected from the natural colors of Shetland sheep, the shawl is two shades of brown and gray from one of my lucky dips. I like how it makes the intarsia appear a bit more subtle, though I think my color selection was in the minority. Most people chose bright, cheerful colors, resulting in shawls with a lot of contrast. However, it seems that all the shawls have turned out well, with only a few people expressing displeasure at their color selections. Considering I would guess at least a thousand people are participating (well, some people are knitting multiple shawls), that’s a pretty high success rate.

As for the second knitalong, the one for which I was planning on knitting my own design, I ended up bailing on it pretty much. Hopefully next month I’ll be able to work on it some more. Sadly since I haven’t been able to finish either shawl, I won’t be eligible to win any prizes in either KAL group, but I LOVE following along all the threads on Ravelry where people post pictures of their projects in progress and, now that it’s the end of the month, lots of finished projects. Especially when I was too sick to really knit, seeing the pictures of other knitters’ progress really cheered me up.

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