I am absolutely thrilled to announce that, in all my bloggy silence, I have NOT been idle. Nosireebob. I have, in fact, been knitting! And what’s more, I’ve been designing! And now, I have a lovely new shawl to share with you all: Brightness and Contrast.
So, here’s the thing. You’re walking along, in the LYS or the yarn festival (or online, letting your fingers do the walking) and POW, there’s a skein of yarn that jumps out at you. Just, BAM. It’s perfect. It’s gorgeous. It’s a work of art in its own right. And it’s craaaaazy.
You’re a knitter; you want to knit it up. Your fingers yearn to work their way along it, your eyes revelling in the colours as they shift and change with each stitch.
Except… What the &*^% are you going to knit with it?
What can you do to keep those colours so rich and pristine, to keep them from getting muddy as they jostle for attention?
First, you introduce That Skein of crazy yarn to a partner yarn.
Then, you let them snuggle up to each other. Just a little. With a chaperone, maybe.
Then, you leave them alone together to get really intimate on the needles…
Most shawls that incorporate stripes use even numbers of rows for each band of colour. I mean, it’s logical, right? You knit back and forth with one colour for a bit, then back and forth with the other.
Well, not this time.
Brightness and Contrast has you work single-row stripes instead, with the crazy yarn and the partner yarn alternating every row so that the crazy yarn never actually stacks on top of itself. That way, its fabulous colour progressions really have room to breathe, and you don’t risk muddiness.
Just when you’re starting to wonder how long the stripes can go on for, it’s time to mix things up with a feature band of a textural stitch. The star stitch pulls and tugs at the crazy yarn to turn it into all these brilliant bursts of colour, letting it run amok in a riot of awesomeness.
The star stitch looks complicated, but I promise, it’s actually not that hard to work. Slower than stockinette? Well, yeah. But it’s one stitch, over and over, and you really do fly through this section.
Then, you finish things off with a little bit more striping for balance, and some lovely crisp ribbing with the partner yarn for good measure, and…
The effect, in the end, is the weirdest combination of tidy and insane, all at once. Actually, maybe it’s not so weird; that’s what my brain is like most of the time. Or maybe I’m what’s weird.
Anyway, the details!
Brightness and Contrast calls for two skeins of yarn, one wildly multicoloured and one tonal or solid to partner with it. I used indigodragonfly’s scrumptious CaribouBaa yarn (100% superwash merino in a bouncy, happy base) in Beige and You Punched the Highlights Out of Her Hair! (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). The pattern does include notes on yarn substitution and how to adjust the proportions if you’re using heavier/lighter yarn with different yardage.
The pattern is thoroughly tech edited by the fantastic Ruth Garcia-Alcantud (Rock + Purl) and photos are by my dear friend Meredith Sexton, with assistance from Adam Benjamin.
The pattern is available for sale on Ravelry:
Or, you can go straight over to indigodragonfly’s shop, and buy a dyed-to-order kit with this exact yarn, and the pattern as a Rav download!
Note: I have to hand it to my sister Gillian, who, on a work night no less, completely beat me to the blogging-about-my-shawl thing. Thanks, Gillian!