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This fall, my closest work friend found a new job. It was a great move for her, but it’s hard to go from seeing someone every week and talking all the time to not seeing them very often at all. I wanted to make her a going-away gift that would—hopefully—remind her of me while being squishy soft. Kelsey is a very cool dresser and I hope that the Clapo-Ktus in this beautiful red was a welcome addition to her wardrobe.

When Kelsey handed in her notice to our boss, I knew I wasn’t going to finish anything worthwhile in the time I had left. Because I knew we’d have to  get together after she left for the presentation, I wanted to make something that would be lacy (as in open and light) and beautiful. However, I can’t imagine Kelsey ever wearing a fancy lacy (as in decorative) shawl. It’s just not her aesthetic.

I knew I wanted something in a lighter weight for this project. As with pretty much every project I make, I started by shopping my own stash to see if I had something I think the giftee would like. In this case, I had a beautiful deep red, hand-dyed skein of Alisha Goes Around Wedge of Swans Fingering. I picked up this Merino wool/silk blend at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival several years ago. It was just so soft and pretty that I had to get it for something.

kelseysshawl3_500x800This yarn was a dream to knit with. The silk adds a glorious softness to the yarn. It’s possible my husband would sometimes catch me stroking the shawl when I should have been knitting it. And the color! This is a beautiful hand dye. The color is rich and I like how streaky it looked, but not really giant pools or weird color shifts. As always, the photos don’t do it justice.

The next step is to find the best pattern for the yarn weight and quantity I have. This is more often than not accomplished by searching Ravelry. I have collected a lot of patterns in Evernote, but, seriously, you can search Rav by weight, quantity, type, brand, item, cost… With some narrowing down and simply scrolling through the pictures, I found the Clapo-Ktus (PSA: This is why it’s so important to put pictures with your Ravelry projects! I want to SEE how the pattern turns out!). I love this pattern. The finished size is based on yarn weight alone so I can use it for fingering, worsted, bulky, whatever I want so long as I weigh it before I begin and keep an eye on how much I’ve knit. For this pattern, I used a make 1 for the increase (though some projects have used a yarn over). I like the M1 as a clean increase and will usually default to it when I have to increase.

kelseysshawl2_500x800When it was finally time to drop the M1 rows, it took longer than I had hoped. This shawl is knit side-to-side, meaning you start on the right point and  increase through half the yarn and then start decreasing and dropping stitches as you work towards the left point. So the closer to finished, the longer the run from the dropped stitch. The wool was just a little to sticky for its own good so I couldn’t drop the stitch and just let it unravel on its own (I know, when does a knitter actually WANT that to happen?!). That means on the last several rows I spent a long, long time pulling out that stitch. The wool just didn’t want to let go. However, after some very aggressive blocking, it was all worth it. This super simple shawl has such a beautiful drape. And it bunches up nicely to wear as just a scarf. I hope Kelsey loves it as much as I loved making it.

Skills required
  • Knit
  • Purl
  • Knit through back look (ktbl)
  • Make 1 (M1)
  • Bind off
Important notes
  • The pattern has you slipping the first stitch. While a slipped first stitch is pretty enough, I don’t find it worth the extra hassle so I did not slip it on this project. However, if I had, I wonder if those edges would have been stretchier for a larger block.
  • This pattern is a little stressful at first. It’s a regular pattern of 3/1 ribbing, but that last row will be weird with the increase. The pattern includes a walk through and I panicked when she stopped at row 21. However, when I stopped and looked at what I had done so far, it made sense and then I found this to be a super simple pattern to remember. As always, trust the pattern but even more, trust yourself as a knitter!
  • Seriously, weigh your yarn at the beginning and start the decreases at the half-weight mark. Don’t push it. When I was finished, I had no more than two feet of yarn left.