I’ve made good progress on my Captain America shawl. I’ve been working away at it, row by row and bead by bead, all the while watching any Marvel movie available on Netflix. I truly thought it would have taken far longer than it’s seeming to right now, but I’m happily watching the progress take place.
The yarn, as I explained last week was all hand dyed. The grey finished with steaks of mint green throughout, a result of the black I used for dye breaking, and after receiving encouraging comments from a revelry group, I decided to keep it as is. The green isn’t bothering me nearly as much as I feared it would at first glance.
The most challenging part of the shawl has been the beading, as this is a new technique for me. Like with all new things, at first it felt like such a foreign motion, but after over 300 beads, muscle memory starts to form and progress got faster. The beads are adding a lovely weight to the shawl, and I’m just excited to see it taking shape. That I get to re-watch any Marvel movie I can get my hands on, well that’s just an added bonus.
This summer, one of the many projects I worked on included a sock weight shawl. I bought a lovely skein of SweetGeorgia from a LYS and cast on immediately. An easy pattern to memorize, and being completely in love with the colours, it knit up rather quickly:
This stunning pattern, which is perfect for showing off two different yarns, is Graphic Kerchief by Ce Persiano, a free pattern. I made my own mods to the pattern as written, noted on my Rav project page, and I love it. It was also a great way to use those extra little bits of sock yarn still in my stash. The contrast is leftover Madelinetosh, the majority of which went into a pair of socks. The rest of it is an amazing pop against the Sweetgeorgia auburn.
Because shawls are a great go-to fingering weight project, I’m always seeing what interesting projects I can find on Ravelry. I have no idea why, but I’m always captivated by the asymmetrical shawls. I find their construction more appealing that the traditional triangle shawl. Of course, this isn’t my first asymmetrical shawl, others have included:
I’ve hit that moment of a project. You know the one, that moment where you’ve been working on a project for what feels like forever, you think you’re getting close to casting off, but the project just keeps going and going.
Meet my Pendant Purls Shawl (the yarn: Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch Ultra Solid in Peacock colourway). I started it on New Year’s Day, and I’ve worked on it sporadically since then. The first few rows went rather quickly, then I hit Chart A: 32 of rows of lace work, knitting and purling through the back loops, and different increases and decreases. It could only hold my attention for a few rows at a time, but then a few weeks ago, I got determined and have been working diligently away, finishing Chart A last week. Chart B was a series of knit and purl stitches over 8 rows, and they flew by in a few afternoons. Chart C, four rows repeated, and the end was in sight, or so I thought. The shawl is shaped through short rows, and these short rows are the four rows repeated a total of 10 times, increasing after every chart repeat; so it the nature of short rows. I felt so close to the finish by the time I started Chart C, but it just keeps going.
I’m stubborn and determined. This shawl will be finished before the end of the week. That is if the short rows don’t get the better of me.
Remember that time I knit a wrap from an 1860s pattern? It was called a Sontag. Sontag, you say? What a strange name! Well, I looked into the history of this garment here. And this is my finished Sontag:
Sontag, front view
Sontag, from the side
Sontag, from the back
Well, my needles have been busy for the past few weeks, making a Sontag for a co-worker. The beauty of making a project a second time, especially if that second time is a commission, is that you have the chance to improve upon what you did the first time around. I’m very happy with my Sontag and it has kept me warm when I’ve needed a few extra layers with my costume for work, but I also knew there were things I would change if I was to ever make it again. This is my chance.
Firstly, the basket weave. The Sontag’s fabric is a 5×5 basket weave made up of alternating knits and purls, increasing one stitch at the beginning of each row, or, as Godey directs:
Cast on thirty-five stitches, knit five stitches forwards and five backwards, thus forming the blocks; knit five lines in this way, widening one stitch at the commencement of each line. Knit the second row of blocks alternate with the first.
Don’t you love 19th century patterns.
When I knit this the first time, I worked my increases the same as the stitches before it, like so:
The basket weave looks off by the sides of the wrap. Only when you’re really looking at it can you see, and perhaps it’s me being picky, but this has always been something I would change about my Sontag. For Sontag 2, I did.
Look at those new stitches, worked opposite to the ones beside them, continuing with the established basket weave pattern. Much happier.
When making the Sontag, the back is made first, and then the fronts, one side at a time. Again, the pattern wasn’t overly clear on how to go about the decreases:
…Knit up one front, narrowing one stitch on the inside every fourth line for six blocks; narrow every other line for the next six blocks; then narrow every line till you come to a point.
Clear as mud, right.
When I made my the first time, I narrowed every fourth line for 200 rows. I kept measuring the length of the front against myself, and once I determined it was long enough to wrap around me, I narrowed every other row until 4 stitches remained, using those 4 stitches to make an i-cord 20″ long. The fronts are certainly long enough, wrapping all the way around to the middle of my back. The way I worked the decreases was another thing I would change if I was to make another Sontag, so change I did.
This time, I decreased every 4 row for 120 rows, then decreased every other row until only 4 stitches remain, and again made a 20″ i-cord using those stitches. Measuring against myself again, this time the fronts come to their ‘point’ around my sides, which I think will make a more attractive wrap.
Front number 1 is done, and I’m 5 rows into the second front. I’ll have this completed in the next few weeks, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to revisit this pattern and improve upon what I’ve done.
Want to make your own Sontag? Awesome! Check out the pattern on Ravelry! Or, here’s a copy of the pattern from the January 1860 Godey’s Ladies Book.
I am not known for my patience. I don’t like waiting, and I love working on short, simple projects because of the immediate satisfaction that comes from finishing the THING. I also love simple knit, purl, garter or stockinette projects because you can turn the brain off and just knit. This is not to say though that I dislike lace, cables, large projects, or complicated patterns – there is a different satisfaction that comes from completing the TRICKY THING. Oh, how wonderful it is to cast off and block that tricky, challenging, and consuming project. I’ve been knitting like a fiend to get to that point with my latest project.
I bought this beautiful cotton yarn at the 2016 Knitter’s Frolic from the Mississauga dyer Dye Version, and it is giving a lovely weight to this project.
But, oh, how it has tried my patience.
Fifteen lace panels; five lace pattern repeats.
A good deal of my long weekend was spent on this shawl. I’m now at the point of knitting the top garter ridge short rows, and it should HOPEFULLY be ready for casting off later this evening. Once it’s finished, I’ll share a picture.