The Yarn Warrior

Last night I knitted like crazy and got my Reyna shawl (by Noora Laivola) finished. I wet blocked it overnight (hoping that sleeping kitties won’t notice it…) and this morning I took it outside to the garden swing to finish it up while I was watering the lawn. Of course my cat MacKenzie couldn’t resist helping out.

Cat chomping shawl
Oops! I didn’t realize he was hanging out under the swing… At least he’s predictable in that he never missed an opportunity to chomp!
Shawl in tree
Here it is rescued from the cat. Isn’t it a fun mix of garter stitch and mesh? Here are my project notes on Ravelry.

This shawl was a fast and easy project, but I learned a lot of new things while working on it and it led to some new insights. After all, while I love to knit, I really am more driven to play with new yarns, patterns and ideas more than I need a new shawl (or pair of socks for that matter). Every new project is an opportunity to learn something new!

I first selected this pattern because I had a skein of wickedly soft and colorful yarn in my stash. I knew that the colors would go with everything in my wardrobe, but there were so many of them in the skein that I needed a way to show them off without nasty pooling or something that looked muddy.

Yarn
This is Zen Yarn Garden’s Serenity 20 in the colorway Confetti. See what I mean about the colors? 
Closeup of Shawl
I knew that garter stitch plays well with multicolored yarn, and I was hoping that the mesh would break the colors up a little more and help each one shine. Mission accomplished! The yarn looks really different in the two sections of the shawl and the colors each stand out.

There are YO stitches to each side of the center stitch in the garter section. Hard to see aren’t they? That’s because they are hidden by knitting in the back loop of the YO on the wrong side row. Who knew? By hiding the YO stitches the garter stripe stands out better between the mesh segments.

I also noticed a difference in the mesh. Normally K2tog stitches slant to the right. In the mesh section of the shawl the K2tog creates a slant that goes to the left. Check it out!

Mesh stitch
See the left slant? This was knit by [yo, K2tog] stitches that repeated every other row (all stitches purled on the wrong side).
Mesh closeup
The right slanting mesh was created by the opposite type of decrease stitch: [yo, ssk] repeated across the row. Once again the stitches on the wrong side were purled. The designer balanced the direction of the mesh slant around the center stitch of the shawl. Cool! 
As I was knitting along I realized that my ball of yarn was starting the shrink a little faster than I wanted it to. Yikes! How can I be sure to use as much as possible while leaving enough for the last three garter rows and then the BO?  Well, this is when a yarn warrior really digs in and takes control.

Row Tracker
Look at what Noora gave us in the pattern! Wow, isn’t this a nice idea. In fact, it made me think that all patterns should be organized as a table with the rows, stitch count, the pattern, weight of the yarn and a place to make tally marks. I mean, why does the entire thing have to be written out? See how I started tracking how much my ball of yarn weighed every 4 rows? I decided to switch to the last 4 rows as soon as I had only 8 grams left. (8 rows of the mesh section were skipped)
Yarn on balance.
This is how many grams of yarn I had left over after binding off.

See, it isn’t about the final object (OK, it is a little). It’s about being a YARN WARRIOR!! Capture the learning and master the craft. Be at one with the cashmere and bond with your fellow knitters.

Isn’t this why we all do it?

 

 

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Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled cats.

22 thoughts on “The Yarn Warrior”

  1. I think you are right. This is a wonderful pattern for variegated yarn! Even better because it is free! I wanted to add some picots to the BO but couldn’t because of the yarn issues, but I think that would add another color pop.

    1. Thank you. How fun you said that because I finished the shawl up while watching the American Ninja Warrior finals.

      By the way, your Drachenfels is haunting me. I have two different yarn/color combinations kitted up waiting for me to start the shawl. I’m trying to finish another project first but they keep on calling me. Every picture of your beautiful shawl sets me off again… I think that I will have to wind the plum/slate/charcoal/black yarns tomorrow and cast on. There is cashmere involved after all. 🙂

  2. I’m sort of new to knitting and this is my first attempt at knitting. I’m currently on row 18 of the shawl. I think I may have done something wrong because the #of stitches on either side of the marker aren’t even. I have 21 on one side and 12 on the other. Am I completely off??

    1. You are off. 😦 The good news is you asked for feedback before knitting too much. 🙂 I just did some math while looking at the pattern and here’s my take on the numbers:
      1. The stitch number is different on the sides of the marker. One side will have one more stitch.
      2. When you start the garter stitch section you add 2 stitches on EACH side of the marker on the odd rows (RS). Each yarn over (yo) adds a stitch.
      3. On the even rows (WS) you don’t add any stitches.
      4. At the end of the 18th row you should have 17 stitches on one side and 18 on the other.

      I attach a safety pin to the beginning of the RS of the shawl to help me remember where I am. Also, you can enlarge the row tracker to keep count of the stitch number. Add 4 stitches for each white box and that gives the total number.

      Good luck! Just start over, track the stitch count and it will be wonderful. I would love to see the final picture (maybe on Ravelry!)

    2. I just thought of another thing: When you turn the needle to start a new row make sure you take the yarn under (not over) the needle the knit the first stitch. If you take it over you can accidentally knit two stitches in the first stitch. 😦 Play around with your yarn and you’ll see what I mean.

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