Shawl Parade

A close up of the mesh section of a Curve of a Boat shawl knit with a variegated magenta yarn. #knitting #finished shawl  Shawl Parade |

We got an early snow storm last week that dumped about 4” (that’s about 10 cm) and brought cold temps along with it. And I was ready thanks to my very prolific bout of knitting over the summer. All I had to do was wrap myself up in one of the two shawls I finished in August.

A finished Curve of a Boat shawl hanging from a wall. #knitting #knitshawl  Shawl Parade |

The first shawl of the needles was Curve of a Boat by Larissa Brown. It had been a travel project in July, but I didn’t work on it much at all when I was traveling. Turned out to be just what I wanted when I got back home - interesting autopilot knitting that I could relax with at the end of the night.

A close up of the mesh and variegated colors of the Curve of the Boat shawl. #knitting #hedgehogfibers  Shawl Parade |

As beautiful as the shawl was on the needles, washing and blocking really helped it bloom. The yarn plumped and lost the limp feel it had while I was working on it. The garter stitch and mesh sections opened up to make a wonderfully sized shawl with great drape. I love the extra points and different shape that arise from how this shawl is constructed. The only real mod I made was to skip the tassels since I wanted something more streamlined.

The color is definitely more magenta than I usually pick for myself, but it still has earthy tones that will match pretty much all of my jackets. I’ll be wearing Curve so much this Fall.

A finished Free Your Fade shawl hanging from a wall. #knitting #AndreaMowry  Shawl Parade |

It took me a few years to join the fade trend, but I finally knit a Free Your Fade shawl. I don’t want to stuff this shawl in a closet when I’m not wearing it. I want to hang it on the wall as art. It’s got beautiful drape and luster, and curls just so. Plus, the colors speak to my usual muted earth tones palette. I haven’t had much luck hanging it up because wall space is at a premium, but it was the perfect thing to wear when I had to run errands through the snow. I can now see why people really love cashmere.

A close up of the bind off edge of the Free Your Fade shawl hanging and curling from a wall. #knitting #AndreaMowry #FreeYourFade  Shawl Parade |

The yarn kit I used added a little extra challenge to the project. While I loved the colors and the fiber blend, every color had the same yardage. So I had to spend a lot more time tracking yardage and “knitting” the shawl in a spreadsheet so I could get the most out of every color. It wasn’t exactly the autopilot knit I imagined but the end result is so worth it.

I had to make a few mods as I went. The biggest is that I started the color/fade sections at different spots in the repeat so I could make the most of the yarn. I also changed the picot bind off to have fewer points. Whenever I knit another one of these shawls, I’ll stick to just a regular yarn over because of the larger stitches sticking out all over the place.

A slightly out of focus look at the color progression of the Free Your Fade shawl. #knitting #FreeYourFade #AndreaMowry  Shawl Parade |

Washing and blocking did wonders for this shawl. The stitches relaxed and I was able to stretch and shape the Fade just so. It went from dense and compact to big and drapey without losing warmth. Perfect for bundling up in the snow.

In typical Fall fashion, the weather is back to it’s sunny, warm, and windy self. The gusts, cold spells, and surprise snow storms are never far off though, and I am so ready.

Pattern: Curve of a Boat by Larissa Brown

Yarn: 429 yds Hedgehog Fibers Socks - Vengeance

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)

Dates: June 1 - August 2, 2019


Pattern: Free Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

Yarn: Sun Valley Fibers MCN Gradient Set

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)

Dates: August 5 - 22, 2019


Marginalia and Spreadsheets

A close up view of my in progress Free Your Fade shawl with grey and green stripes.  Marginalia and Spreadsheets ||

I remember taking a random knitting survey that asked if I preferred printed patterns or digital patterns. I am 100% in for printing my patterns. I’ll keep the file on my phone as a backup, but the paper version is what I’m going to work from. Why? Because it is so much easier to make notes, track repeats, and see the whole pattern at a glance. Plus, I don’t have to run the distraction laden gauntlet that is my phone every time I have a question about a stitch count.

A segment of the knitting pattern with my notes tracking row counts, yarn used, and when to switch colors.  Marginalia and Spreadsheets ||

The Free Your Fade pattern, or the Yarn Chicken shawl as I’ve come to call it, is the perfect example. The margins are jam packed with notes. You can see where I’m counting row repeats, tracking how much yarn each section is using, and telling myself where to fade in new colors. All this marginalia is also a pretty handy indicator of how much I’ve knit these past weeks - AKA a lot. This is one case where working from a screen can’t beat paper.

A small segment of my spreadsheet used for tracking rows and yarn used per repeat. #FreeYourFadeShawl  Marginalia and Spreadsheets ||

This is not to say that I’m not going to use a computer/phone when needed to enhance my knitting. My spreadsheets and knits are best friends. Take a gander at the screenshot above. Those strings of numbers are me “knitting” the shawl digitally. With enough IRL knitting and then weighing the yarn after each repeat, I was able to determine how much yarn is used per stitch. Armed with that minuscule number, I can work ahead in the spreadsheet, estimate how much yarn will be used, and figure out where to switch colors. There have been some leftovers, but I’m fairly confident I’m getting as much out of the yardage as I can.

An overall photo showing the #FreeYourFade shawl with 4 colors knit and and 2 yarn balls waiting to be knit.  Marginalia and Spreadsheets ||

Even though this shawl isn’t the low key process knit I was expecting, it’s still really fun. It’s also a great excuse to watch other people play video games I’m not going to play myself. As much as I’ve been focusing on the stitch counts and row by row of this pattern, taking these photos is the first time I laid the shawl out and got a good look at all of it. I really like my Free Your Fade which is, you know, good since I’ve put so much time and energy into it already.

Yarn Chicken Shawl

As a happy birthday gift to myself I finally wound the yarn to knit a Free Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry. Dyed by Sun Valley Fibers, the colors are earthy and lovely. The merino/cashmere/nylon blend has been a joy so far. I really enjoyed casting on and knitting the first few repeats during a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. However, this shawl is going to be more stressful to knit than I originally thought. Why? I have already played yarn chicken and lost on the first fade!

Ran out of yarn with just a few stitches left in the row. Sock yarn leftovers to the rescue! Yarn Chicken Shawl ||

I was tracking how much yarn I used every repeat (small digital kitchen scales (<<— affiliate link!*) are awesome for this) and estimated I’d have just enough yarn to finish Color 1. I was right except for the 26 stitches left at end of the last row. Bah. It was late so I went to bed instead of ripping back.

Ran out of yarn with just a few stitches left in the row. Sock yarn leftovers to the rescue! Yarn Chicken Shawl ||
Ran out of yarn with just a few stitches left in the row. Sock yarn leftovers to the rescue! Yarn Chicken Shawl ||

Getting some sleep turned out to be the best option because, in the morning, I remembered all the leftover sock yarn I have stashed away. Maybe I could find some that matched? Turns out that I did have something close, and can’t tell the difference between the two in the shawl. The extra ends are the only sign I had to take drastic measures. Whew!

Ran out of yarn with just a few stitches left in the row. Sock yarn leftovers to the rescue! Yarn Chicken Shawl ||

I’m going to rename the shawl Yarn Chicken because, while I have the required amount of yarn, all six colors are the same yardage. Those rows are only going to get longer and longer too. I did find a few other matching leftovers so I do have some insurance, but knitting this is going to be...interesting. The scale and a spreadsheet will be my constant companions.

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