Apparently I’m in the mood for making shawls this year! The latest shawl I made is one of my favorites so far. It’s definitely on the more cozy side and something I can see myself wearing more than some of my other projects.
I started this project because I had 8 skeins of Shibui Knits Birch yarn in various colors sitting around. The Birch line is a single ply made from 100% extra fine merino fiber. I originally purchased it at a local yarn shop that was going out of business and remember being drawn to it both for the texture and the colors. Usually when I’m impulse buying yarn I tend towards the brighter, louder yarns that lend themselves to simple patterns that show off the yarn color and texture. This yarn, however, is on the muted side and is the perfect texture to show off design work.
As I was looking through patterns for this project, I originally focused on sweater patterns. I have been meaning to attempt another sweater for a while now. I made two several years ago, mostly improvised, and I want to go and actually learn proper techniques for gauging, fitting, etc. Unfortunately I only had one or two skeins of each color and I didn’t really want to deal with working stripes into a sweater pattern, so I settled on shawl. For the sweater, I’ll pick out a pattern first then either spin or buy the appropriate yarn :).
I finally settled on High Desert by Rosemary Hill. The design caught my eye because it has a thick band that rests mid back followed by sections that radiate outwards. To me, this gives the slight illusion of a high waist-line when viewed from the side or back which I think is very flattering.
I originally started this pattern with just the gray and blue colors from my stash. I had 100g of the blue and 50g of the gray. The plan was to alternate 12.5g of gray with 25g of blue to form 8 stripes. About halfway through the fourth stripe, I did some math and determined that I was going to come up sort of the size I wanted, so I decided to add purple in as well. Since I didn’t want undo and add the purple in for a consistent gray-blue-purple pattern through out, I came up with a stripe pattern to be slightly more balanced, with more gray at the top, more purple at the bottom and blue throughout. I actually really like how the stripe pattern turned out. I think it is just random enough to look good.
I did end up playing a bit of yarn chicken with this one. I only had about a yard of the purple yarn left at the end… but everything worked out! The shawl turned out much larger than I expected (roughly 7.5ft tip to tip) which is actually great. I think I need to shoot for slightly larger shawls than I have in the past because this one is definitely one of the more comfortable projects I have made.