Traveling Stars shawl part I - test swatch

OMG OMG OMG!  I am so excited!

Spoiler alert: If you're even a moderately accomplished knitter, skip this.  You'll think I'm nuts.  And very silly.

I've probably said this on here before, but I've been a beginning knitter for like 30 years.  Seriously, I'm hopeless.  Okay, I'm probably not actually hopeless, but I have too many hobbies and can't devote mastery-level attention and energy to all of them.  Knitting is definitely a second- or third-tier hobby.  I love the idea of knitting but I mostly do it because I can't find sweaters I like (I've yet to actually produce a whole sweater, by the way).  And I'm resistant to a lot of it: I like basic patterns.

I think some of this is my arithmetic-related learning disability--patterns that require a lot of counting and keeping track of stitches are extremely stressful.  I'm not here for stress, thanks.  I'm getting better and recognizing specialty stitches when I see them, but I'll probably never be into fine lace shawls.

So . . . a couple of months ago I splurged on a ridiculous amount of Cascade Venezia merino/silk worsted weight yarn.  It was on clearance or I would never have done such a thing since my knitting skills are strictly Wool-Ease league.

It goes without saying that you can't use that yarn on just any pattern.

I have been futzing around ever since with potential patterns but none of them measured up.  Too busy, too complicated, too boring, too whatever.  Whatever pattern I used had to be:

1) Relatively simple.
2) Not hideous on the reverse.  Didn't have to be pretty, I just didn't want it to look like hamburger.
3) Not too open.  Some eyelets = fine.  Tons of eyelets = what's the point since it's not going to keep you warm?
4) Not absolutely boring.  I'm actually fine with plain shawls with some garter ribs or whatever, but not for this.

Finally, I ran across two patterns, both of which had elements I liked.  Both are by Judy Marples: One was the Lineau shawl, which I like for the eyelet rows and raised knit stitch-on-a-purl-background band, and the other is the Deep Cove scarf (inexplicably neglected by Ravelry users.  It's a lovely pattern!), which I like for its simplicity and because the pattern is diagonal but is not knitted on the bias. 

So I emailed some knitting friends for help.  For awhile, it looked like knit-one-below was going to be the answer, but that meant knitting on the bias and . . . ugh, blocking.  So much blocking.  But another friends suggested traveling stitches.  OMG!  Traveling stitches!  Little, tiny, one-stitch cables!  Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Diagonal pattern that's not knitted on the bias.  Easy.  Not too open.  Raised ridge of contiguous knit stitches.  Hooray!

Sorry, I know I'm out-of-line pleased with this but knitting pretty much never does what I want.

The pattern is a 14-stitch repeat (the test swatch shown has a four-stitch garter border on either side.  I forget what I cast on but it was not a multiple of 14, but that doesn't matter since it's not in the round; it just ends mid-pattern):

First row: *Knit 1, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog, purl 4, knit 1, purl 4*
Second row: *Purl 5, knit 4, purl 1, knit 4*
--From this point on, all wrong-side rows will purl the five stitches over the eyelet band, knit the purl stitches, and purl the traveling knit stitch.

F subsequent RS rows, you move the pattern over by one pattern stitch each time, and you travel the single knit stitch:

*purl1, Knit 1, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog, purl 3, [switch the knit stitch and the next purl stitch after it] purl 1, knit 1, purl 3*

The next RS row would purl 2, etc.


Teri said…
Try the Churchmouse patterns. Their GoTo Cardigan has some nice shaping but is an easy knit. Their patterns are rock solid. I've yet to find a mistake in one. I like the Modern Wrapper and I'm working on the Fir Cone shawl.

And I sound like the reverse of you. I've been sewing since the 60s and I still don't feel like I'm any good at it. I've even worked in two sewing factories. But I can knit and I am a spinner too. If you run into any knitting stuff you can't figure out, feel free to drop me a line. (And I have six cats, so I must be a trustworthy person. And real cockatoos too.)