That Stripey Shawl

It hasn’t been all promotion and writing around here this week. I’ve been knitting, too, and thought it time to show you my progress on that stripey shawl.

Undine shawl knit by Deborah Cooke

I’m just past the midpoint. I made a variation to the pattern on a whim. I decided to do some short rows in the middle, so there will be an inverted V down the centre back. This will make the shawl narrower but will also give it a slightly different shape. I worked two stitches less for every second row from about the lime stripey bit until I got down to just a few more stitches than the godets require. (There are more details on my Ravelry project page.)

Look at the ruffled edge at the top and you can see the green godet which is the middle point of the shawl. (It’s the top green godet.) From that point, I’ve been adding back two stitches every second row and will continue until I’m working all of the stitches again. Once there, I’ll carry on with the decreases in the pattern to finish the shawl.

I’ll show you another picture of the turns once I’ve made more progress and you can see the inverted V more clearly. I’m quite happy with this one. What do you think?

More Mermaid Stripes

I thought I’d show you my progress on my striped shawl today. I really like what the self-striping yarn is doing:

Garter Stitch Shawl knitted by Deborah Cooke from her own pattern, Undine












You can also see how the hem is beginning to flutter. If I held that top edge (the one on the right) straight, it would ripple even more.

I’ll start to decrease the width of the shawl once I’ve used half of the yarn. The easiest way to determine that point is to weigh the balls of yarn. (I use the kitchen scale.) They were each 100g when I started. Now they’re both around 75g. When they get to 52 g or so, I’ll start to decrease. I want to make sure the shawl is symmetrical, so might do something different at the midpoint. We’ll see when I get there.

In the meantime, what do you think?

Knitting for a Mermaid

Because I’m having an administrivia week, I needed something to knit in garter stitch. I decided to use one of my own patterns, but make it stripey. The colours in this yarn are shades of blue and green, so that makes it fit for a mermaid. 🙂

The pattern is for a shawl with a ruffled edge and is called Undine. That’s the Ravelry link to the pattern (which is free download) but I also blogged about my first one here. That one was knit in a self-striping yarn – Noro Kureyon Sock – and I mirrored the striping pattern. I’ll add the picture here so you don’t have to click through:
Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeAnd here’s a detail shot of the ruffle at the centre point. Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeFor this new one, I wanted stripes. I had two balls of Crazy Zauberball sock yarn, which is a self-striping yarn, in the colourway 2136. Originally, I planned to knit knee socks with this yarn, but I wasn’t happy with the way they were coming out. Plus, I’m more likely to wear a green shawl than green knee socks.

I found a mistake in my own shawl pattern in the set up! Yikes! So, I’ll have to fix the PDF, but here’s a detail shot of the set up tip of the shawl. Although I’m using two balls of yarn for this project, I did this part with only one.

Detail of Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeI joined the second ball after this, and began alternating between the balls, working two rows from each. Here’s a progress shot:
Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeWith the change in colours, you can see the godets more clearly in this version. At this point, I’ve worked seven godets, which make the hem of the shawl ripple when worn.

I’m having fun with this one. It’s not quite a mindless knit, which will keep me interested, as will the self-striping yarn. I also like how the striping is periodically disappearing when the colours from the two balls are similar. This could be avoided by using a solid yarn as one colour or a completely contrasting colourway, but I like when things slide in and out of focus. My Rav project page is here, if you want more detail.

What do you think?

Those Wyrd Sisters

I was going to tell you about a new shawl project today, but instead, I’m going to show you another one that I finally finished. (Yay!) That post about the new project has been bumped to next Friday.

When I was writing the Dragon Diaries, I did a lot of research on the Wyrd sisters in Norse mythology, also called the Norns (or sometimes the Nairns). These three immortals decide the fate of all living beings – in the myths, they’re spinners, but in ZoĂ«’s books, they’re knitters too. Around about the same time, I was intrigued to discover that a knitting designer had created a trio of shawls to celebrate these three sisters. I had this idea that I’d knit them all to commemorate the publication of ZoĂ«’s story.

I finally cast on in 2013.

I did finish the first one, Verdandi, pretty quickly. Verdandi is the sister who governs the present, so I called my project “Is”. This is a triangular shawl, and I knit mine in Fleece Artist Nyoni. This mohair, wool, silk and nylon blend is discontinued (so that’s a Ravelry link), which is too bad because it’s a scrumptious yarn. I still have a bit in the stash in another green colour. 🙂

The post about my completed Verdandi is right here.

Then I cast on the second shawl, Urdr. Urdr is the sister who governs the past, so my project is called “Was”. That was in September 2013. This is a huge round shawl knit in very fine laceweight yarn. The idea behind the design is that this shawl is supposed to represent the well at the root of the world tree, Yggdrasil, which the sisters tend. I used a gradient colourway from the Unique Sheep called Brigid, which made me think of copper cauldrons and ancient goddesses. (You can see Brigid on this page of the Gradiance colourways. It’s in the middle of the fourth row. Mine didn’t look quite like this sample, but each base yarn takes colour differently. Mine was very teal at the one end and quite a warm grey gold at the other with no mauve or blue bits—actually it has colours like the two middle skeins in the sample.) The base yarn is Ling, which is a silk and merino blend.

Knitting this shawl became a bit of a slog, as the rows at the end had more than 1200 stitches, and I added rows to use more of the yarn. Also, knitted lace looks like nothing until it’s blocked. I was losing heart because I had what looked like a lump in my lap each time I picked up the needles. I told Mr. Math about two weeks ago that I had to finish it, and he said “What’s the rush? You’ll just cast on another one.” Such was my mood that I wasn’t so sure of that. Maybe this would be The Last Shawl.

I should have anticipated that blocking would change everything. it’s such a magical process. Imagine my surprise when my lump stretched out to look like this:


It’s at least six feet in diameter and so lovely that I can’t stop looking at it. The yarn is dyed in gradients, which means that there are six skeins in the set, and you change from one to the next as you knit.

Here’s a detail shot, after blocking, on the couch. You can see the colours better in this shot, although IRL, the gradation is more subtle and the middle is less blue than it looks here:

Urdr2It’s supposed to have nupps (which are little knitted knots) but I don’t like knitting nupps so I put beads in those places instead. Because I didn’t make nupps, I used less yarn. I wanted to have the entire gradation of colour, though, so I added repeats to the border. I also added more beads to the outside edge. Details are on my Ravelry project page.

It was totally worth it, and I’m ready to cast on another shawl, if not two! I’ll tell you next week about my nerd knit in that raw silk and merino blend (in another gradient colourway from the Unique Sheep, also with beads). There’s also the third Wyrd sister’s shawl to knit. It’s called Skuld, for the third sister who controls the future. My project will be named “Might Be” and I have some lovely Fleece Artist yarn set aside for it. I’m going to try to be good, though, and finish the lace stole that’s on my needles and only one third knitted before casting on another. (Ha.)

What do you think of my Urdr?

That BitterBlue Shawl

I told you a while back about a shawl I was knitting in gradient colours, following a pattern called BitterBlue. Well, now it’s done and I’m very happy with it. Because I chose not to block it, it’s between a large scarf and a small shawl in size. Blocking would make the points stand out more on the border and would make it larger, but I like how scrunchy the garter stitch is. Plus I just love the colours.

Here it is:

BitterBlue shawl knitted by Deborah Cooke I did make some changes to the pattern – some planned and some inadvertent user errors – and you can read about those on my Ravelry project page, right here. The base yarn is really nice, and I realized that I have another kit from Earthfaire in the stash that came with the same yarn. I caked up the yarn for that project up, and will tell you about it next week.

What do you think of this one?


You might remember that the three Norns have cameo appearances in my Dragon Diaries YA trilogy. While I was writing that series, I saw a trio of shawl patterns saluting the three Wyrd sisters, and knew I had to knit them. I’ve just finished the first one. It’s called Verdandi – she’s the sister in charge of what is. She’s the first sister to appear in my series of books and turns up in Flying Blind, where she was knitting snowdrifts.

Here’s the shawl:


And here’s a detail shot of the tip:

The yarn is Fleece Artist Nyoni, which I love to bits, and I used 700m of it. I cast off in Knitpicks Palette in Bark because I ran out of the Nyoni. There are beads added to the hem, plus I made the shawl bigger by adding repeats of the charts. It’s 39″ down the spine of the shawl. I’m not sure how to measure the wings, but they’re big. The design is intended to evoke the leaves on the world tree Yggdrasil – here’s a link to the designer’s website page for this pattern.

I’m quite pleased with this shawl. The pattern was easy to follow, too.

What do you think?

Inspired by the Kleks Shawl

Last fall, I came across a wonderful lace yarn in my LYS. It was dyed to change colours once over the length of the yarn. The yarn is Knitwhits Freia Handpaints Freia OmbrĂ© Lace, and the colourway I chose – Grapevine – changes from purple through brown and green to chartreuse. I thought it would look great in a semi-circular shawl – crescents of colour – and was inspired by the Kleks Shawl. This is the Ravelry link for the Kleks.

This is where you can grab the free pattern.

I really like the look of this shawl, with its alternating bands of stockinette stitch and bramble stitch, but wanted a shawl that was a wedge out of a circle with a rounded neck – like the letter C. It’s clear from the projects shown on Ravelry that the Kleks doesn’t have that shape. I also was confused by the increase instructions in the shawl pattern (it’s easy to confuse me about such things) and noticed that many Ravellers had issues with the stitch counts.

So, I made a plan for some variations. This is how my shawl came out:


The colour is richer than that, but the flash did what it does. The crescent is about 18″ deep, so the full width is roughly 45″. It falls to my elbows and comes together nicely at the front. I love it!

Here’s how I knit this variation. You need a multiple of 4 for the bramble pattern, plus there are 3 stitches on each border. It made sense to me to cast on a multiple of 4 plus 6 stitches, then to always increase stitches in multiples of 4. If I can avoid counting stitches, I will!

(Actually, in order to make the lace pattern come out symmetrically, you need a multiple of 8 stitches plus 4, plus the borders, but I missed that bit. You might want to modify the counts if asymmetry troubles you.)

Here we go!

Cast on 86 stitches.
Knit 1 row. Knit 5 more rows, slipping the first stitch on each row. (This gives a neater edge.)

First Stockinette Stitch Band – You’ll add 8 stitch markers in this band.
19 rows in total
Row 1 – Slip 1, K2, K8, M1, place marker, * K9, M1, place marker. Repeat from * six times. K to end. (94 stitches.)
Row 2 – Slip 1, K2, purl to last three stitches, K to end.
Row 3 – Slip 1, knit to end.
Row 4 – as Row 2.

Repeat this four row sequence four times, as follows:
Row 5, 9, 13 and 17 – Slip 1, K2, *K to marker, M1 before marker. Repeat from * seven times. K to end.

After each increase row, your counts will be as follows:
Row 5 (102 stitches)
Row 9 (110 stitches)
Row 13 (118 stitches)
Row 17 (126 stitches)

Remove the stitch markers anytime after Row 17. You’ll need them in different places for the next stockinette stitch band. End after Row 19, with the wrong side facing. (Yes, you knit the pattern stitch on the wrong side.)

First Lace Panel – 15 rows in total. This is one repeat more than the pattern specifies, which is why I have 15 rows instead of 11. Work in trinity stitch (or bramble stitch. Call it whichever) as specified in pattern, keeping three border stitches in garter stitch. There are no increases in this panel.

Second Stockinette Stitch Panel – This time, we’ll put 16 markers in the work.
19 rows in total.
Row 1 – Slip 1, K2, K7, M1, place marker, * Repeat from * fifteen times. K to end. (142 stitches.)
Row 2 – Slip 1, K2, purl to last three stitches, K to end.
Row 3 – Slip 1, knit to end.
Row 4 – as Row 2.

Repeat this four row sequence four times, as follows:
Row 5, 9, 13 and 17 – Slip 1, K2, *K to marker, M1 before marker. Repeat from * fifteen times. K to end.

After each increase row, your counts will be as follows:
Row 5 (158 stitches)
Row 9 (174 stitches)
Row 13 (190 stitches)
Row 17 (206 stitches)

Remove the stitch markers anytime after Row 17. You’ll need them in different places for the next stockinette stitch band. End after Row 19, with the wrong side facing.

Second Lace Band – as first lace band.
15 rows total.

Third Stockinette Band
Following the same increase strategy, add 24 stitches to every increase row. You’ll end with 326 stitches.

Third Lace Band – as first lace band.
15 rows total.

Fourth Stockinette Band
Following the same increase strategy, add 36 stitches per increase row. I forgot to count the stitches after this one.

Fourth Lace Band – as first lace band.
15 rows total.

In an ideal universe, I would have had enough yarn to mirror the 19 rows of stockinette stitch followed by 6 rows of garter stitch at the collar. I was running out of yarn, though, so had to adapt. I worked 3 rows of garter stitch after the last last panel, putting beads on the second row, on every second stitch. I didn’t have enough yarn left to cast off (there’s about a meter of it) so I knit a row with some Kidsilk Haze in BlackCurrant that was in my bits and ends, then cast off with that. For the cast off edge, I used a crochet hook – this is the cast-off from the Fiddlesticks Knitting Peacock Shawl, which I liked on it. *Work 3 stitches together, place bead, chain 5, repeat from * to end, work last chain into last stitch and bind off. (I was short one stitch at the end, but just worked 2 together before the last loop instead of 3.)


And that’s it! What do you think?