Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Shawls and Short Row Knitting Tutorial

Spring is here! Despite the fact that some of us are still digging out of snow, spring and summer are definitely on their way (we promise!). With those seasons comes mild weather and air conditioning. Each year we’re on a quest to find the perfect spring shawl to combat the chill.

Today we’re excited to talk about the Culebra Simple Shawlette, a free pattern designed by Marly Bird that calls for two skeins of our luxurious Lhasa Wilderness, our 75% Tibetan Yak/25% Bamboo sport weight yarn. Pick a bright springy color from our brand-new Reflections Color Collection or stick with a classic natural cream color that will go with everything!

L-R: Visionary, Enthusiast, Fantasy, Stargazer and Daydreamer, dyed exclusively for us by Colorful Eclectic

Culebra starts at the outer edge with a lace border and then the remainder of the shawl is “filled in” by knitting short rows back and forth. We have done a mini-sample today to illustrate the technique.

Shawls that start at the outer edge are a bit daunting to cast on, since you’re starting with the maximum number of stitches at the front end. We recommend using stitch markers to aid in casting on. Select a moderate section of stitches (we suggest 25) and place a stitch marker after each group of 25 stitches to aid in counting if you lose track. Once you begin your first row you can remove the stitch markers as you go, or move them to indicate pattern repeats.

In this case, you will begin with a lace pattern which is both charted and written for your ease. Again, we chose to knit a mini-sample so it won’t look exactly like yours but is just meant to give you a bit of an idea how the lace will look.

Once you have completed the lace section, it’s time to work on your short rows. If you haven’t knit short rows before, this technique is used to create sections of shaping in knitting. Short rows are rows where you only knit a subset of your stitches; that is, you don’t knit all of the stitches on your needle, but rather a short row. Short rows are used for a variety of applications: to add bust shaping to to garments, to add extra length at the back of a sweater, to create triangles or wedges in your knitting, and many more. Short rows can be knit with wraps and turns or double stitches to make the technique blend into your knitting. For Culebra, you will be knitting in garter stitch which will hide your wrapped stitches, so these will be fairly simple with not a lot of extra work.

Culebra instructs you to knit just a bit more than halfway across your finished lace section (the pattern specifies the stitch count, but obviously it a bit different in our sample) and then turn your work. Then you will knit back just a short section of stitches and then turn your work again. You have just created your first short row - the first layer at the bottom of your shawl. You can see that once you have knit these two rows with turns that your short row section stands out a bit, apart from the rest of your knitting.

Now you will fill in with the next short row. Knit back across your stitches until you come to the stitch where you turned your work last time. To close the slight gap you will knit that stitch together with the next stitch (k2tog). Then you will knit 3 additional stitches beyond that and turn your work again. Repeat the process on the wrong side of your work - knit to the stitch where you stopped on the last row, k2tog to close the gap, and knit 3 additional stitches before turning your work again. And that’s it!

You will continue in this manner, each additional row growing by a few more stitches until you run out of stitches to incorporate into the rows.

When you have run out of stitches to work, you will work one final knit row and then bind off. Your perfect spring shawl is complete!

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