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The Many Moods of Brown Shawls

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Dear Ann,
Even for me, knitting two garter stitch shawls one after the other, both brown, is a little worrisome. What makes a person do that?
I don’t know. It was fun? That’s a good enough reason, really.
The funny thing is, many thousands of mostly brown stitches later, it would not take much to get me to cast on another one. Apparently my fondness for multiples extends beyond dishcloths and miters.
In a these times of general world wobbliness, there is no safer place to park your cashmere and/or Koigu and/or whatever you’ve got stashed, than a lovely triangle shawl with softly undulating ruffle. In effect knit on the bias, it flatters everyone who tries it on, regardless of size, shape or age. It goes with everything, from PJs to high heels. It doubles as a blanket for the sofa, so you don’t even need to find closet space for it. It’s not going to go out of style. Why doesn’t every knitter have one? Why don’t I have one? Must rectify! We have the technology!
Brown Shawl Facts
For giggles, here is what the long-tail shawl (Brown Shawl the First) looks like laid out flat.
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Holy KFBs, Batman! It’s heart-shaped, and somehow disturbingly so. The tails measure 120 inches from wingtip to wingtip. Not for the faint of heart. Not for a person who feels that 900 stitches is too many for a row.
The length from the back of the neck to the bottom point of the ruffle is 39 inches.
Brown Shawl the Second
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My second brown shawl, seen here lying on top of the first one, is for a smaller recipient, so I didn’t want the long tails. I started with the inner triangle of Cheryl Oberle’s Wool Peddler shawl in her book Folk Shawls, but tweaked it with some early increase rows to widen the top of the shawl so that it will rest more securely on the shoulders. (The soft garter ruffle is not in the original shawl; it is Terhi’s brilliant stroke of simplicity.)
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My pal Danielle is taller than the recipient but otherwise about the same size. As you can see, in the front it looks almost identical to the long-tail version.
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In the back, it’s a different story, with no long tails. In springy Koigu, this one feels very “huggy”; it truly swaddles the shoulders. It’s 70 inches from tip to tip across the top, and 34 inches from the back of the neck to the bottom tip of the ruffle. I used US 5 needles.
These photos were taken before blocking. The shawl is soaking right now, and I’m expecting it to grow a couple of inches in all directions when I block it. [UPDATE: Boy, did it ever grow when I washed it! The length down the back from neck to ruffle point is 37 inches; from wingtip to wingtip it is 90 inches. Wha? How did that happen? Anyway, more shawl to love!]
That’s all I’ve got. Casting on some Rowan Denim this afternoon, though, for a secret sweater to be revealed in late spring. Do I dare to purl?
Love
Kay

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. I am still a litle fuzzy on how I would knit this for myself. Could you get all anal-retentive and list the pattern source and your mods? Would alpaca be too drapey? Would it get all weird and floppy in something that size with it’s weight distributed so unevenly?? (I have a bargeload of alpaca awaitin’ a purpose) How many hanks of koigu did you use and is there any way to create and rig a contest where I win enough cashmere to knit one for myself?
    okthnkbainao!

  2. Oh my goodness, where do you find these lovely people to model your lovely shawls? I love both shawls and want to be that long haired beautiful blond with no hips when I grow up…….

  3. a koigu shawl!?
    I am totally impressed. Completely in awe.
    (I’m still working my way through Metropole, which I started a month ago.)
    Your shawls are amazing. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  4. Very nice!
    I’m going to embarking (sometime this weekend) on the beautiful ship KroKay to do some blanket creating work. Mind using your awesome powers to give me smooth sailing on this project (it is a garter stitch blanket)!

  5. I’m loving the long tails, and I still don’t understand quite how you shaped them. I looked up the Wool Peddler’s shawl, and it is a simple right triangle. Is there a reference you can think of that would help? Thanks!

  6. Sorry to say I can’t come with on this shawl adventure (although we know what you’re doing, Kay. You trying to seduce us into knitting shawls).
    I am still working on the scarf from Christmas and I know 900 stitches on a row can only end badly! (for me- you, however, are a genius!)

  7. The shawls are very lovely. I like the second one best – the ruffles are nice.
    Now on to more important details. Like, why does your house always look so clean and soothing?
    Please tell me that before you took this picture you cleaned old mail, empty juice boxes, and 13 remote controls off of those fabulous built in cupboards. Which you maybe even commissioned especially for Posing The Knitting and had built whilst out shopping for the terrific chair? Or that if you opened the cupboard doors stuff would slide out onto the floor? Something?
    I am beginning to think you Mason-Dixon girls have a full-time cleaning staff since I have never seen so much as a dust bunny. I took some pics of my knitting the other day, and it took me 30 minutes to unearth the dining room table and by that time I had forgotten what I was doing, and everyone wanted lunch.

  8. Dear Deb,
    You know those days/weeks/months that sometimes pass between posts?
    During that time, I am digging out The Chair And Its Surroundings, so as to be able to pose a piece of knitting on them. I do this as a public service, and also because my mom reads the blog.
    When we started bloggifying, back in Ought-3, Ann and I made a solemn pinky swear that we wouldn’t show sinks with dirty dishes, or any other Real Life Moments, to our readers, who presumably have their own sinks and dishes and don’t need to see ours.
    Dust bunnies are allowed, if the lighting is right.
    Still looking for a crop feature for real life,
    Kay

  9. the lighting & colour and subtle ruffle on #2 make it look like brown velvet. Lurrrvely.

  10. Kay Kay Kay
    is there a contest for guessing the nature of the secret sweater cast on. Can we venture there. The shawls are wonderful and we all agree that you must be running an America’s Next Top Shawl Model out of your home. Did you post a sign in that park where they have the finals for Project Runway or do you just run around with model type peeps all the time.

  11. You are right about that first shawl being disturbing, with its horns, the point, and the all encompassing size it looks somehow lunar, phallic, and enveloping in a warm, but not quite fuzzy way. Just the garment to wear to the psycho-analyst’s office. And yes, the ruffle on shawl #2 does look like velvet, so luxurious!

  12. Love the shawls. I made a Wool Peddler for my mom and am contemplating making one for myself.
    BTW, I’ve started on my Sean Scully afghan. Malabrigo. Garter stitch. Need I say more? Pics at my blog at http://www.redisforpassion-red.blogspot.com.

  13. Those are beautiful. If I can cast on for one soon, I will. Is purple alright though? I can’t see much brown in my life other than the dirt I like to play with now that it’s spring …

  14. To me, the large shawl looks like a bull’s head or horned goat’s head, a kind of faceless animal which inspires numinous fear. I wouldn’t have thought of anything strange on my own though, I don’t really think it’s disturbing.
    I also would appreciate knowing the source of the pattern, etc.
    Thanks for a neat post.

  15. I LOVE the photo of the bigger shawl on the bed! All that curve! All that angle! What a wonderful quilt that would be…

  16. They look so good together–very cow-y, somehow, longhorn-ish.
    Me, I’m still stuck on argosy scarves & blankets. I’m years behind!

  17. Hhhh. So shawls can look classy then rather than just mumsy, I love the ruffled one. But I don’t know if I have the strength and perseverance to finish one…or the funds for that matter! They are lovely though.

  18. delicious shawls, kay,……they appear to be in a dusty lavender color family, rather than a brownish one. lovely “chicken soup for the soul”……

  19. day light time begins sunday
    perhaps it will help some how
    in these diffcult times to
    take a walk look at the flowers
    and the lacey green of the trees
    and the air will feel soft
    and not so harsh
    the shawls are lovely

  20. They look so nice and cozy! And the ruffle on the smaller one is just beautiful. The Wool Peddler shawl has been in my queue for some time — can you explain how you widened the top like that? Are there short rows involved?

  21. Kay,
    You are one quick knitter — I have been “wool peddling” since summer and am not done. Or, I am done as much as the pattern called for, and it is too small, and I don’t like the lace. Maybe I will frog back all that fussy lace and make a nice ruffle like yours and be truly done with it. (There was a time when I thought I would LIKE this shawl — now I’m just sick of mine — yours gives me much much hope.)
    Laurie

  22. OK. You got me. Now the pattern? Puhleez. I understand the basic triangle but not the long wingtips–HELP!

  23. The shawls are lovely. I wish I loved shawls more but really, I can admire good shawls from a distance.
    But this post leaves me with a song in my head. “To all the purls I’ve loved before….” Could this be Merle Hazard’s next big hit?

  24. The shawls are beautiful in their simplicity but truth be told, what I really want from these photos is that bird quilt. I love a good looking quilt.

  25. This is another plea for a pattern for these suckers. I am totally NOT a triangular shawl person (I only like rectangles), but this is an exception. It’s lovely.
    A Rowan denim question. I have a sweater made of this whose arms didn’t shrink enough. Any ideas on how to make them shrink more? Also, this sweater is out of the darker denim and I want it lighter. I know I can bleach it, but any suggestions on doing this? I don’t want to totally ruin the sweater (though from looking in the book Denim Knits it looks like that’s the new style).
    Thanks!
    Susan

  26. Lovely, lovely shawls! Almost brings tears to a girl’s eyes, especially the description “springy Koigu”–I can just imagine how it feels!
    Thanks for the inspiration, Kay (even if I never actually get to make one).
    LoveDiane

  27. The shawls look so hip and beautiful and warm. I can picture myself wearing one. Hmmm. You are planting these ideas in my head. Do I really need another shawl…

  28. Yes please some pithy directions for us mere mortals. I beg you.
    I love these shawls in a way I never thought I could love a shawl. You had me at CO.

  29. Wow, those are gorgeous. I’m committed to finishing the husband’s sweater before I cast on anything new, but I have to add this to my list.

  30. The shawls are gorgeous! I think the shapes are lovely and very futuristic.
    I would like a crop feature for real life too! Great idea!

  31. Very beautiful work! Although, the thought of ME trying to do this makes my elbow tendonitis hurt!

  32. I like how drapey, feminine, and cozy it looks. Very flattering!

  33. i want to wrap myself up in all that flowing comfort. if you are interested in a similar effect without as much stitch, time, and monetary investment, try Laura Chau’s Just Enough Ruffle Scarf.

  34. It’s very pretty, but it reminds me of the Stingrays in the Cayman Islands.

  35. Holy KFB – I’m planning to incorporate this into my lexicon, a mild oath for making more out of something than it is.