So many people love Fall for the changing of the leaves, the smells and flavors, and the cooler weather. Many crocheters and knitters love this time of year because the cooler weather allows us to start layering and showing off those kerchiefs, cowls, lightweight scarves, wraps, shawls, and shawlettes. And there are so many options out there!
If you use Ravelry, you know there are a bazillion and one great patterns for these types of projects. A simple search for shawls brings up more pages than a person can reasonably review. Add scarf or wrap to the search and the number of options jumps to an outrageous number. However, there are a few perennial favorites; Hitchhiker Shawl, Color Affection, Virus Shawl (photo above, (c) woolpedia.de), Clapotis, and Wingspan to name a few.
Because of their weight and design, many shawl patterns often call for finer weight yarns, fingering through sport. Sometimes they play with color, in the form of stripes, blocks, or motifs. Because many of them are repetitive, they are a great way to learn a new technique or stitch, and they also make great companion stitching projects - projects you can work on in the company of others or in places and situations where you can’t count stitches or do elaborate stitch work.
Using fingering / sock weight yarn for a shawl means those of us that don’t knit socks have ample opportunity to use some of the gorgeous hand dyed sock yarns that are available. If you’re a crocheter, projects like the Virus Shawl encourages crocheters to take advantage of hand dyed sock yarn - a yarn that is so often “reserved” for knitters. Part of the description of Hitchhiker Shawl (photo left, (c) MartinaBehm) outright states that hand dyed sock yarn is great for many shawl patterns: “ It‘s simple, its warm and squishy, stretchy and reversible and it makes any variegated, hand-dyed sockyarn really shine.”
Have I peaked your interest yet? Ready to start a shawl, wrap, or light weight scarf? Now you need to choose a yarn!
Done Roving’s Frolicking Feet is an ever popular sock yarn - for sock knitters, and shawl stitchers alike. And with good reason. It’s hand dyed in amazingly rich and deep colors, superwashed, and has decent yardage (490 yards). As if it weren’t fun enough, they now offer Frolicking Feet Transitions - the same yarn, but in 4 seperate, yet coordinated colorways, that are spliced together. As you work, the yarn transitions into another colorway, with out ends to weave in. Making it a great yarn for a very simple or basic pattern in which you want to feature the colors of the yarn.
Yarn Carnival also offers some unique colorways in a superwash sock/ fingering weight in their High-Wire 3 ply line. The speckles and longer color swaths would add unique dimension to shawl patterns. If you’re looking for a striking solid color for your shawl, try their Snake Charmer line. This fingering weight blend of 50/50 Merino and silk has an unbelievable luster that practically shimmers in the skein, I can’t image how it would transform when used in a shawl with unusual construction or a beautiful stitch.
We recently received a new yarn, Mirasol’s Nuna. This is a fine weight (2) wool/silk/bamboo blend with great luster and drape. The colors are well coordinated with each other and would look beautiful in a shawl that uses multiple colors; like Color Affection, (photo left, (c) veera ) or Wingspan. Try two similar and one contrasting color for striking results, or mix it up. Either way, this yarn should work up into a wearable work of art.
As it gets even cooler and you start thinking about scarves and cowls that are a bit warmer, or if your project calls for a yarn that’s a tad heavier, try Imperial Yarn’s Denali. It’s a sport weight 50/50 blend of US grown wool and alpaca in an array of trendy colors that blend well together. The softness of this yarn would be great for colorwork cowls that are gaining in popularity right now - have you seen the Scarab Cowl by Tanis Gray in "Knitting Traditions" Fall 2017 issue?
Personally, I’m not a shawl stitcher, but I do love a good cowl, so don’t be surprised if you see a few of these yarns on my needles and hooks in the future. And please, by all means, show off your shawls, wear them with pride. Just because I don’t make many of them, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy seeing your creations.
Keep on stitchin’.