A Square Shawl
On Monday I finished knitting the endless border on my version of the Square Shawl in the Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It started with some mystery yellow yarn in my stash and size 7 needles. I started as per EZ with Emily Ocker’s circular cast on of 8 stitches onto double points. There are 2 increases at each corner so the project progresses fairly quickly to a sixteen inch circular and then onto the 29 inch circular.
Of course, more yarn was needed. At Jo-Ann Fabrics I discovered that my mystery yarn is Bernat Baby Coordinates, 75.2% Acrylic, 22.2% rayon and 2.6% nylon in DK weight. It is crinkly with shiny bits from the nylon. I bought 2 skeins of iced mint to avoid any dye lot problems even though Baby Coordinates claim to be no dye lot. (They call the yellow lemon custard—I am a sucker for color names. Color numbers are boring and don’t really say anything about what the maker thinks of the yarn.)
So around and around I go pleased with getting the cast on right—it pulled the center gently tight just like it is supposed to. The yarn over increases at the corners looked very pretty and friends were teasing me about making a big bag. Just like EZ said in Knitter’s Almanac, “. . . early in the shawl those areas of plain knitting between the increases will begin to appear somewhat bland and you will start thinking of embellishments.” and she was right. I found a Sweetheart Lace pattern in the Stitch ‘N Bitch Superstar book. One heart takes 10 rows, then add 2 more, then two more, do a stripe pattern and reverse keeping the heart shaping and the increases on the same rows.
Around and around I go. It is time to think about a border. I found a pretty and simple picot border in 200 Knitting Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets by Betty Barnden. I have read that there are knitters who will knit a border and sew it on. I will do almost anything to avoid sewing seams of any sort. I don’t mind a three needle bind off for seams and I’m pretty good at Kitchener stitch weaving but sewing a border on a project grown to 496 stitches was not for me.
EZ knits on the border and it works like a charm. Provisionally cast on 6 stitches. The picot pattern increases to 8 stitches and decreases back to 6 picking up a stitch from the body every other row creating a pretty rounded border. I fretted a bit about how to get around the corners. The answer is simple. Do an extra unattached row on either side of the center corner stitch and around you go. It is not a sharp corner but I didn’t want a sharp corner.
The border seemed to go on forever. I was watching episodes of “Warehouse 13” and beginning to suspect as I got closer to the end that the shawl was unraveling itself after I put it down just as if it was one of the Warehouse 13 supernatural artifacts. Not so, I did reach the end, my provisional cast on came apart with just a little coaxing and I wove it and the finished end together. Pretty slick. I did some rusty math and calculated that with 496 stitches, attached to the border every other row with 8 extra rows around the corner that the border is 1000 rows. Now that accounts for the forever feeling