For the Love of Garter Stitch Shawls
I can’t help myself around garter stitch, especially a good old garter stitch shawl or wrap. This simple stitch results in major smooshy, cozy loveliness. When at TNNA, I kept dragging Patty back over to the Fibre Company booth, mainly because a woman was wearing a striking green, garter stitch shawl that I desperately wanted to put my hands on. Luckily a number of patterns have just been released that satisfy this love, and I have a few more tricks up my sleeve to make the most of my love of garter stitch.
First of all, we’ve had this gorgeous yarn from Pure Bliss hanging around the shop all summer, and it’s not getting the attention it deserves. Sita is a ridiculously luminous blend of cotton and silk, worked into a chainette with a hint of nylon (to add some ease to your stitching). This yarn comes in beautiful brights and sophisticated neutrals, perfect for anything. While I’m a die-hard sweater knitter, I’ve been dying to knit this into a scarf or wrap. I finally got the inspiration I needed yesterday and I’m adapting a free pattern from O-Wool to bring you a color-block rainbow. Think “Unicorn Tails” scarf featuring Madeline Tosh’s mini-skeins of Tosh Merino Light, but this will be a much less tedious version. Knit on the bias, you’ll be getting all the color and softness, but with a fraction of the stitches. (Stay tuned, I’ll have a pattern for you soon!)
A couple new patterns were recently released and caught my eye.
To begin, Bassenfell, the shawl I obsessed over at TNNA was just released by the Fiber Company. This triangle shaped shawl has a asymmetrical eyelet detail that lends a bit of modernity, an i-cord edge which makes it look finished. Worked in a fingering weight yarn, feel free to knit this up in anything from Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal to Shibui Staccato to HiKoo Sueno (the lighter weight version). The latter two will give you more drape, but all options will give you a cozy, smooshy (I’m pretty sure that’s the most appropriate adjective here) layer that you can wear throughout the year.
Classic Elite released a similar pattern, called Underhill. This shawl has more of a crescent shape and a cable pattern throughout. Worked in an aran-weight yarn, knit up this beauty in something like Queensland’s Kathmandu, Falkland or Lhasa (both from Pure Bliss) or Katia’s Cotton Merino.
Melanie Berg’s Drys has long been on my radar (and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before). This blanket of a scarf screams cozy luxury. I absolutely love the simplicity of the eyelets throughout this piece – it’s simple, modern and chic. Since this piece is so large, feel free to play with your cast-on number, or the weight of yarn. I think this one would be gorgeous in Blue Sky Extra, Pure Bliss Lhasa or the old reliable Shepherd’s Wool!
One more gorgeous piece is Braidsmaid by Martina Behm. I love the way the cable runs asymmetrically around this garter stitch shawl, and it’s a great size (not too big and not too small) to play with technique and shawl construction. Knit this up in a DK-weight yarn. I think it would be perfect for Dromedary, a new yarn from Juniper Moon that is a heavenly blend of alpaca and camel. These skeins are huge – 290 yards each – so two skeins will do for this beautiful project!
Garter stitch means lots of knitting, which is simple and mindless. Each of these projects offer a little something to shake the patterns up a bit, and to make sure you’re paying attention. All in all, you should look at these projects as a great way to learn a new, small technique on an otherwise simple canvas. At the end, you’ll have a beautiful, cozy and smooshy shawl – and I hope you’ll keep it for yourself!