I must confess I’ve well and truly lost my heart to the Karise shawl pattern by Karie Westermann…. I’ve yet to knit one that doesn’t have to have a row un-knitted, in my eagerness to knit I sometimes forget to pass a stitch over or knit 2 together…. but I’m very much of an opinion that I only ever seem to learn anything by mistakes so while I sigh when I’ve needed to un-knit the couple or so rows I’d knitted the night before, I accept that it’s all part of learning to knit and reading a pattern better…..
This is another gift shawl and will be making it’s way in a day or two across the county border to Suffolk to my sister Rachie….(I’m a bit like one of those Austen Bennet’s as I have a big family of sisters, and nieces too, no nephews, just all girls)…..
The yarn used was an alpaca/silk blend by Artesano which I’d bought at the end of Summer last year from one of my local knitting shops….I really fell in love with the colour (which is called robin egg) and didn’t really think too much about what the yarn was made from when I bought it, it just felt soft and dreamy….and while it’s made for a very light, silky and soft fabric I think I’m discovering I prefer to use something a little more robust and woolly.
As I’d already had a little experience of using this yarn, I decided to knit it on some Chiaogoo needles I’d bought from Meadow Yarn, I like the red Chiaogoo cable as it’s nice and weighty and feels rather like a bicycle brake cable, as this is such a light weight yarn I found it seemed to benefit more from being supported on something a little heavier than my other cables.
And as with my other Karise shawls, I also found using plenty of stitch markers helped me to keep track of where I was with my lace knitting, they made counting my stitches a lot easier.
I’d initially used the yarn in a shawl I made for Louise’s unkal on Ravelry but while the shawl I imagined in my head was a thing of beauty, I wasn’t so smitten with the finished result so rather than just let it sit and not be adored, I took heed of Louise’s other divisions of the un-kal and ripped out the shawl, skeined, washed and balled the yarn (thank you podcast award winning ShinyBees Jo for your alpaca yarn advice) and used it to knit this dainty number for my sister.
The shawl used just under 2 skeins of the artesano yarn, and I kept to Karie’s pattern, I didn’t tinker and work any of the repeats extra, I just knit it as is, however I’ve still got enough of this yarn left to make a matching one for myself (with yarn enough for at least one extra repeat) as robin egg blue is a favourite and there are smudges and speckles of it in several of my dresses.
I think I possibly overblocked the shawl, just a smidge as the stocking stitch seems to have opened out a bit after pinning it….. I didn’t really take on board that the alpaca/silk doesn’t bloom or swell slightly like wool yarn, so I’ll now to watch my blocking with the next one. However, I’m pleased with how the lacy points came out
As the fabric is so cobwebby light, it scrunches up a real treat so doesn’t feel in the slightest bit bulky worn scrunched around the neck like a bandit’s bandana, and worn like this you can’t see how open my stocking stiches now look. But I think it also looks rather nice worn around the shoulders so it’s just enough to keep a chill off if you’re havng an evening drink in a pub garden.
This is now my third Karise I’ve knit and really have no hesitations in recommending this pattern….the stocking stitch section is small enough to fit inside a small project bag and tuck into a handbag for any travel/commuting knitting and if you need to concentrate more for the lace section, then you can knit that in quieter moments. It’s definitely a pattern I’ve got plans to knit again (cough cough, I cast on another one in the alpaca/silk yarn just last night and then I’d like to knit another one in the Tamar from Blacker Yarns because that yarn was such a pleasure to have on my needles). I think this pattern is great for “a starting to get confident beginner”, if you’ve not done any lace chart knitting before then this is a smashing place to start, the pattern is so nice and clear and it really feels like Karie is there holding your hand as you knit….