The beginning of a new year is a time when many of us decide to take stock of where we are and where we would like to go. Let’s face it, the days are still short and the holidays are over, so it seems like a good time to pack away decorations and freshen up our personal spaces, both physical and intellectual. Maybe that is why reorganizing our closets and craft rooms, trying a new project or taking a class has such appeal. It sets us up for fresh new starts, ideas and success.
My first 2021 project was a rectangular shawl knitted with three different colored skeins of Aireodo yarn. This is one of my favorite yarns in the shop — so soft and light. It made a delightfully warm shawl to throw over my shoulders or across my lap this winter. Not only was it a fun project that tidied up and stimulated my creative thinking, it cleaned up my stash closet. Since I had knitted ponchos for Christmas gifts for my daughter and daughter-in-law with this lovely yarn, I knew that I had enough to knit the new project.
I wanted something that was relaxing, so I designed a basic garter stitch pattern. I use the term “design” loosely, as I decided to knit the first color until it was gone, then add a two-color mosaic pattern that I borrowed from a shawl pattern I already had, and then finish with wide bands of the two colors I used in the mosaic pattern. A mosaic pattern would be perfect for this project — no carried colors, just slipped stitches. Simply knit the front and back with the cream color, then front and back with the red, slipping stitches to create the pattern.
Next, I knitted two swatches, one with a US size 9 needle, the other with a 10.5, to see how dense I wanted the finished fabric to be. I liked the feel of the US 10.5 better than the denser US 9 fabric. I used the number of stitches in the mosaic pattern repeat (18 st) and the stitches per inch from my swatch to easily calculate the required number of cast on stitches. I wanted my piece to be about 26” to 30” wide. Since my gauge was 3 stitches per inch, I ended up casting on 90 stitches to make the piece 30” wide. That gave me a perfect 5 pattern repeat. (3 stitches per inch times 30 inches wide equals 90 stitches, which is evenly divisible by the 18 stitch mosaic repeat.)
After that little bit of design and math work, it was clear sailing. Cast on and knit. It was fun to experiment with color and pattern. A great way to start my new year and end up with a lovely project. I would do a couple of things differently next time. For example, I would cast on 94 stitches to create a two-stitch, solid color border in the mosaic section.
If you want to start your year off with fresh ideas and creativity, take a class and stretch your skill set. Design your own project. Resolve to make knitting fun.
Check out the fun and interesting classes currently offered by The Stitchin' Den.