I’ve mentioned before that I teach knitting classes at a local cafe. It’s something I really, really love doing. It’s comfortable and fun and exciting, and I really love being able to share something that I enjoy so much. Since I’ve started teaching, I’ve also been writing my own patterns – it just makes things easier than worrying about copywrite or having everyone buy their own copy of the pattern. Plus, it means I get patterns that teach the skills I want to teach in the way I want to teach them.
You see, I start off with a simple cowl – knit in the round, different sections, each new section coming with a new skill. Once that cowl is done you’ve learned how to knit, purl, yo, k2tog, and cast off. You know the difference between knitting flat (we do practice swatches) and knitting in the round. You learn how to read a pattern, and how to read your knitting. Plus, at the end, you’ve got something wearable (even if there are a few mistakes along the way). I’ve done the cowl class a couple times, and I’ve also done a mitten class (to learn magic loop, chart reading, and cables) and I’m currently finishing up a sock class (magic loop, toe up, my version of a short row heel – that pattern will be added to Rav in the next week or so).
The owner of the cafe asked what I would like to do for the next class – run the sock class again? Maybe another beginner class? I had already thought about this – I wanted to do lace. I love lace. I love how it looks impressive, I love how the pattern starts to grow, I love the charts. I thought sitting outside on a warm spring evening knitting a fancy lace wrap would be a wonderful thing to do.
Except I needed a pattern first.
So I got to work, brainstorming, sketching, swatching. I had, in my mind, a solid concept – an asymmetrical scarf/wrap (depending on what yardage I had to work with) that would get more complex each week. Asymmetrical triangle shawls seem to be all the rage right now, so for the first time I think I’m being trendy. I wanted a few different lace patterns, just a bit of each one, just flirting with them you see.
Drafting the actual pattern took a lot of math. A whole lot of math. It included a stitch count spreadsheet so I could estimate yardage and a handwritten chart to keep track of how many stitches I’d need for each chart/repeat. There may have been an easier way to do this, but I figured it out my way, and it worked. Well, except for those times I made mistakes and had to rip it all out and start over.
In the end, what I have is a piece I love. There is texture, movement, and of course a lot of lace. It’s beginner friendly, but also interesting enough for anyone to enjoy knitting. There are two sizes – the smaller size is knit with under 350m of yarn (I haven’t measured my leftovers yet to get exact yardage, but I’m guessing it’s about 320m) – perfect for a single skein of hand dyed or otherwise luxury fingering weight yarn. The larger size will be around 450m and will make a lovely, cozy wrap. For the small size (pictured) I’ve put a button on the small end so I can wear it without a shawl pin, fastened almost like a little cape, but it can also be worn like a scarf with the edging in the front. I think it makes a perfect summer wrap – just enough to keep the cool air off your shoulders (and show off your beautiful yarn).
There are more progress pictures on my project page if you’re interested.
The pattern will be going on Ravelry soon, and the knitting class will begin on May 24th, so if you’re local you’ve got lots of time to pick out your yarn and get signed up.