January 18th (tomorrow) marks the start date for the Stony Stream shawl (designed by Stephen West) knit-a-long. The main requirement is for everyone to have fun, and in the process, build some knitting community, add some friends, and, at the end of it, walk away with a stunning accessory!! What could be better?
I don't particularly care for rules, so we are going to keep them to a minimum:
Several folks have reached out to me asking how to use the six pack set in this shawl pattern. The Stony Stream shawl design lends itself to many color layouts, and like many of Stephen West's designs, it is an ideal template for color experimentation. Below are some ideas for how to the layout of the colors in a fade set:
1. Butterfly Layout:
A butterfly layout is the color organization that David used to knit our shop model.
In this layout the colors are first worked in order to the middle of the shawl and then reversed and worked back out again to the other edge. David knit his model out of (2) skeins of Skye for the main color and (1) Metallica six pack. Whether you knit the colors Copper to Steel and then back out to Copper (as David did) or Steel to Copper and back out to Steel, is a matter of personal preference. It works beautifully, either way. The concept is easily extended to any of our six skein fade sets. If you number the mini skeins in the fade set 1 through 6, the mini skeins are used as follows:
Pattern Repeats 1 - 2........Mini Skein 1
Pattern Repeats 3 - 4........Mini Skein 2
Pattern Repeats 5 - 6........Mini Skein 3
Pattern Repeats 7 - 8........Mini Skein 4
Pattern Repeat 9 - 10........Mini Skein 5
Pattern Repeat 11 - 12......Mini Skein 6
Pattern Repeat 13 - 14,,,,,,,Mini Skein 5
Pattern Repeat 15 - 16......Mini Skein 4
Pattern Repeat 17 - 18......Mini Skein 3
Pattern Repeat 19 - 20......Mini Skein 2
Pattern Repeat 21 - 22.....Mini Skein 1
The pattern, as written, is for 22 repeats so this works out nicely. David's shawl was worked at a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch, in the pattern stitch and blocked. He had yarn leftover in many of the colors so if you wanted to play a bit of 'yarn chicken', you might be able to knit an additional repeat or two, depending on gauge. Alternatively, a hat or fingerless mitts knit in leftover coordinating colors would be quite fabulous too!!
2. Stripes Layout
Color stripes are the layout choice of Denise, who works here at Fiber Optic Yarns in materials. This is, perhaps both the easiest to plan and the most exciting to watch the progression! Denise is changing her colors whenever the whim strikes and, while all the contrasting colors are from a six skein fade set, the color order is random and the widths of the stripes vary greatly. Denise said she loves having the freedom of not having to decide the specific colors for each row in the pattern! Although Stephen West used a single color-changing skein for the contrast color, the effect plays out as a striped shawl (shown in the model photos in the pattern instructions).
2. Straight Layout
This is what I will be using for my Stony Stream shawl. It is perhaps the most obvious. I am using my six skein fade set in chromatographic order and I am beginning with color 1, knitting a fixed number of repeats and then switching to color 2 for the next set of repeats, and then color 3 and so forth until all 6 colors are used.
The colors I'm using are shown in the photo above and consist of 2 skeins of 'Misty Mountains' for the main color (larger yarn cakes in photo) and the 'Rhinebeck' six skein fade set (shown as six smaller yarn cakes). I'm planning on starting with the pale olive 'Eye of Newt' on the left and working through the colors, left to right as shown, all the way to the deep violet 'Nightshade' on the right side. The difficult part of this plan is deciding when to change colors because the colors used earlier in the shawl will be used in repeats having fewer stitches whereas the colors used towards the end of the shawl will have many times the number of stitches as earlier repeats (because each 24 row repeat adds 12 stitches to the total stitch count). In cases like this, I usually take my best guess at where to change the colors and if I run out of a particular color of yarn, I'm completely ok with switching things up and throwing in an accent color out of sequence. This can be really fun and almost always when this happens, I'm more happy with the switched-up shawl than I ever could have imagined. So, with that being said, my tentative plan for my color layout is:
Repeats 1 - 5........Color 1
Repeats 6 - 9...... .Color 2
Repeats 10 - 13.....Color 3
Repeats 14 - 16.....Color 4
Repeats 17 - 19.....Color 5
Repeats 20 - 22......Color 6
The pattern calls for 600 yards of contrast color and a six skein fade set has 840 yards so I know I will have enough yarn. What I'm not 100% sure of, is whether I have enough of color 6 to knit the 3 longest repeats. If I run out, my plan is to put in a few accent rows of 'Eye of Newt' (first color) at the bottom edge - I think it will call back to the 'Eye of Newt' repeats at the beginning of the shawl and add a lovely little pop to define that edge. Who knows? I may just do that even if I don't run out of 'Nightshade'!
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