Posted on July 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm
My favorite thing I’ve knit this year was a shawl in Ultra Alpaca Fine for Berroco’s second Portfolio that I call Teeter Totter. The excitement at TNNA over the collection inspired the design team to release the book a few weeks early since a number of yarn shops were excited to get going on their shop samples. I’m in superb company with this collection to the point where I’m finally beginning to feel less like the outlier every time this kind of thing happens.
It’s intarsia, of course, which is going to put a lot of knitters off. I still don’t get it. I belong one group on Ravelry that is limited to a small group of friends I made on a recent trip, and there isn’t a thread in that group that doesn’t include some flat footed rejection of everything intarsia in the world. I try not to take it personally, but it makes me sad that so many knitters just shut down when they think they might have to weave in a few ends. And this from a group that think nothing of knitting many Stephen West shawls with a bazillion different yarns in them. Explain to me the difference, please? Intarsia is really a simple matter of wrapping the new yarn around the old yarn and carrying on as if nothing happened. If you grew up in even the most mildly dysfunctional family, I would think you’d be a natural for this sort of thing.
But back to my shawl: not as difficult as you’d think to look at it, and that’s the super fun part about it: you get complexity without difficulty. Berroco will be blogging alternative combinations that I suggested soon, so if this one doesn’t do it for you, I’ve put together colorways with names like Glamour Girl and Swimming in Blues posted over on the Berroco Blog, so click through if you’re interested.
The idea came from Design Director Amy Christopher’s call for (among other things) quilt-inspired projects, and as much as I wanted to submit a color work sweater, I knew this idea I harvested from a visit to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell a year ago fit right into her vision. Its name comes from the back and forth swing of the color blocks: how the orange group stacks with the green group, skewing first left, then right, all before the burgundy stripe comes in to mix it up just a little. You can’t tell from these photos, and sadly I didn’t take any shots of it myself while it was on the blocking board, but the shawl is a standard crescent shape, much like Metronome, with double increases at each end of row for a straight upper edge and a great drapey swoop along the bottom. If you hit the intentionally loose gauge number of 5 stitches to the inch (for a lace weight), it will be 84″ long, so there’s plenty of shawl to wrap around yourself.
If you think you see a resemblance between the two, then you’d be correct. I knit Metronome right after Teeter Totter went away to Berroco. I got a lot of ideas while I was knitting the original, and I’m still playing them out behind the scene here. I’ve not been much of a shawl knitter before, but this design has changed me a little.