Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kingsolver Shawl Knitting Instructions


This is a triangular shawl, with a [yarnover, knit, yarnover] double increase down the center and an increase on both edges. I'm knitting it with a thin yarn on largish needles to enhance the laciness but I'm sure many readers will want to try different sizes of yarn and needles so that's how I'm writing the instructions. The shawl consists of 4 patterns, the Soaring Birds, the Ears of Wheat, the Climbing Leaves, and the Waves of Water. I've charted the patterns and will start you off with written out instructions but then refer you to the charts to continue for the specified amount.

I've decided that triangle shawls are the most flattering to most women, but they need to be big enough. I've seen many patterns that have the long side measure 7 feet. That uses a lot of yarn and you need pretty big needles to keep it all on! I highly recommend using circular needles.

Key:
K= knit
O = yarnover
SSK = slip, slip, knit - a right-leaning decrease
K2tog = knit two together - a left-leaning decrease
C** SL2,K1,P2SSO = slip 2 like for the K2tog, knit the next stitch, then pass the two slipped stitches over the one you just knit, for a centered double decrease. This is used on the Ears of Wheat and the Climbing Leaves.
SK2P - slip 1, knit 2 together as one, pass the slipped stitch over for a left-leaning decrease. This is used on the Soaring Birds and the Waves of Water.

To begin, cast on 3.

Row 1: K
Row 2 and all even rows, purl
Row 3: K, O, K, O, K
Row 5: (K, O)x4, K
Row 7: K, (O, K3, O, K)x2
Row 9: K, (O, K5, O, K)x2
Row 11: K, (O, K7, O, K)x2
Row 13: K, (O, K2, O, SSK, K, K2tog, O, K2, O, K)x2
Row 15: K, (O, K4, O, SK2P, O, K4, O, K)x2
Row 17: K, (O, K13, O, K)x2
Row 19: K, (O, K15, O, K)x2
Row 21: K, (O, K17, O, K)x2
Row 23: start second row of "birds" following the chart. Notice there will always be two knit stitches at the beginning and end of the rows, and 5 knit stitches between the "birds".



Continue until this section measures 12 inches measured in the direction indicated. You can click on the chart to see it bigger. The chart shows one of the two repeats so remember you need to do it twice.

Once it measures 12 inches, continue if necessary so you end after the purl row, the 7th row below the last "bird". Now you're ready to start the "Ears of Wheat" pattern. For these, each side of the center double increase should mirror the other side. If your stitch count is not off, the end of the row will also mirror the beginning. Where it says "repeat", you repeat until there aren't enough stitches to do another complete repitition. From there, stop at the nearest semicolon in the pattern to prevent your stitch count from being messed up, then knit the remainder to the center increase. Do the O, K, O for the center increase, then knit the same number of stitches as you did on the other side of the center increase. If it comes out exactly enough to repeat the pattern before the center, make sure you can still do an increase there - if necessary knit, yarnover, knit into the center stitch. I put semicolons in the second "repeat" to help you find where to start the pattern again. If you stopped at the first ; then resume the AFTER CENTER repeat at the second ; and if you stopped at the second ; then resume the AFTER CENTER pattern at the first ;

Transition Row 1: K, O, (K, K2tog, O, K; O, K2Tog; K2) repeat to center increase, knit any remaining stitches to center
CENTER: O, K, O,
AFTER CENTER: knit the mirror of the other side to resume (K2; K2tog, O, K; O, SSK, K) repeat to end, O, K (this should come out even at the end of the row).
Next Row: purl
Transition Row 3: K, O, (K, K2tog, O; K3, O, K2tog) repeat to center, breaking at semicolon if needed and adding knit stitches if needed, O, K, O at center, repeat mirror of other side to resume (K2tog, O, K3; O, SSK, K) repeat to end, O, K
Next Row: purl
Transition Row 5: K, O, K, K2tog, O, (K5, O, C**, O) repeat to center, adding knit stitches if needed, O, K, O at center, repeat mirror of other side to resume(O, C**, O, K5) repeat to end, O, SSK, K, O, K


Begin Ears of Wheat Pattern (for all continue as above, knitting extra stitches near center and using the O, K, O increase in the center, knitting the same number of extra stitches on the other side. On purl rows, purl across center. Count the number of stitches purled up to the center from the last knit stitch and purl that number on the other side of the center before knitting one and resuming the P7, K pattern):
Row 1: P3, (K, P7) to center...(P7, K), purl last 3 stitches.
Row 2: K, O, K2, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center...(O, K2, C**, K2, O, P)repeat to end, K2, O, K
Row 3: P4, (K, P7) to center... (P7, K), purl last 4 stitches.
Row 4: K, O, K3, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center...(O, K2, C**, K2, O, P)repeat to end, K3, O, K
Row 5: P5, (K, P7) to center... (P7, K), purl last 5 stitches.
Row 6: K, O, SSK, K2, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center...(O, K2, C**, K2, O, P)repeat to end, O, K2, K2tog, O, K
Row 7: P6, (K, P7) to center... (P7, K), purl last 6 stitches.
Row 8: K, O, K, SSK, K2, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center...(O, K2, C**, K2, O, P)repeat to end, O, K2, K2tog, K, O, K
Row 9: P7, (K, P7) to center... (P7, K), purl last 7 stitches.
Row 10: K, O, K2, SSK, K2, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center...(O, K2, C**, K2, O, P)repeat to end, O, K2, K2tog, K2, O, K
Row 11: P8, (K, P7) to center... (P7, K), purl last 8 stitches.
Row 12: K, O, K3, SSK, K2, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center...(O, K2, C**, K2, O, P)repeat to end, O, K2, K2tog, K3, O, K
Row 13: purl
Row 14: K, O, K2, (O, K, C**, K, O; K3) repeat to center...(K3; O, K, C**, K, O) repeat to end, K2, O, K
Row 15: purl
Row 16: K, O, K4, (O, C**, O; K5) repeat to center... (K5; O, C**, O) repeat to end, K4, O, K
Row 17: purl
Row 18: K, O, K2, SSK, K2, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, O, K2, K2tog, K2, O, K
Row 19: P8, (K, P7) repeat to center... (P7, K), purl last 8 stitches
Row 20: K, O, K3, SSK, K2, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, O, K2, SSK1, K3, O, K
Row 21: P9, (K, P7) repeat to center... (P7, K), purl last 9 stitches
Row 22: K, O, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, O, K
Row 23: P2, (K, P7) repeat to center... (P7, K), purl last 2 stitches
Row 24: K, O, K, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, K, O, K
Row 25: P3, (K, P7) repeat to center... (P7, K), purl last 3 stitches
Row 26: K, O, K2, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, K2, O, K
Row 27: P4, (K, P7) repeat to center…(P7, K), purl last 4 stitches
Row 28: K, O, K3, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, K3, O, K
Row 29: P5, (K, P7) repeat to center…(P7, K), purl last 5 stitches
Row 30: K, O, SSK, K2, (P, O, K2, C**, K2, O) repeat to center... (O, K2, C**, K2, O, P) repeat to end, K2, K2tog, O, K
Row 31: purl
Row 32: K, O, K, SSK, K, O, (K3; O, K, C**, K, O) repeat to center... (O, K, C**, K, O, K3) repeat to end, O, K, K2tog, K, O, K
Row 33: purl
Row 34: K, O, K, (O, C**, O; K5) repeat to center...(K5; O, C**, O) repeat to end, K, O, K

The Ears of Wheat section needs to be at least 6 inches. If you are using lace weight yarn and small needles it may not, so continue the pattern until it does. It's ok to make it more than 6 inches but you'll need more yarn then. If you are using larger yarn you may find it will become very large; in that case you can leave out a couple rows in the center of each "Ear of Wheat" - where the rows are identical except for the edge where you increase it.



Climbing Leaves Section

This pattern is really just two rows of knit pattern then the reverse of them. From here on out all rows on the wrong side are just purled. When you get to the center increase, you'll knit the reverse row on the other half, which is the second row above or below the one you just knit from the chart.

I'll write out the first four rows you'll knit, showing the edge stitches I used for the edge increases. If you shortened the Ears of Wheat or added rows it probably won't match mine. To begin this pattern, you pick the nearest O, K, O from the row you last knit and line it up with the column of O, K, O's from the charted pattern. You'll have to count backwards to see how many stitches of the pattern you can do, using the semicolons in the written instructions if needed to see where the increases and decreases balance out. An easier way, if you prefer, is you can just knit any extra stitches at the beginning, end, and center, not trying to break the pattern and figure out where to start. Regardless, as above, just knit any remaining stitches from the edges to the pattern and in the center before and after the center increase. And remember if the pattern comes out exactly at the center increase, use the knit, yarnover, knit in the center stitch to continue increasing there.

As you may notice, this pattern has a wonky stitch count - every other pair of rows has an extra stitch.

Continue the Climbing Leaves pattern for at least 6 inches, but longer for a larger shawl. The first row is the hardest but after that it's really easy to remember.

Row 1: K, O, K8, (O, K, O, SSK, K, K2tog; O, K2tog; K2tog, O; K5, O, K) repeat to center... (K, O, K5, O, K2tog; SSK, O; SSK, K, K2tog, O, K, O) repeat to end, K8, O, K

Row 2 and all even rows: purl

Row 3: K, O, K, O, K, K2tog, K3, SSK, O, K, (O, K3, O, C**; K, K2tog, O; K2tog, K3, SSK, O, K)repeat to center... (K, O, K2tog K3, K2tog; O SSK, K; C**, O, K3, O) repeat to end, K, O, K2tog, K3, SSK, O, K, O, K

Row 5: K, O, K2, SSK, O, SSK, K, K2tog, O, K, O, (K, O, K5, O, K2tog; SSK, O; SSK, K, K2tog, O, K, O) repeat to center...(O, K, O, SSK, K, K2tog; O, K2tog; K2tog, O; K5, O, K) repeat to end, O, K, O, SSK, K, K2tog, O, K2tog, K2, O, K

Row 7: K, O, K, O, SSK, K, C**, O, K3, O, (K, O, K2tog K3, K2tog; O SSK, K; C**, O, K3, O) repeat to center... (O, K3, O, C**; K, K2tog, O; K2tog, K3, SSK, O, K)repeat to end, O, K3, O, C**, K, SSK, O, K, O, K


You need to end this on one of the rows that has the C**/S2KP2 double decrease, so if that wasn't your last row, knit one more. There is no transition to the Waves of Water pattern, just center one of the yarnovers on the first row over the knit stitch in one of the O, K, O columns (not the stem). Make sure the edges and center of the shawl are still being increased. You don't need to reverse this pattern on the other side of the center increase, just be sure it has the same number of "extra" stitches on both sides. I put the last Ears of Wheat row in there for reference, but yours may be the other row that has the double decrease (which would be on the other side of the center).

When I bound off I used larger needles but it was still too tight. One way you may be able to prevent this is to knit one last row of just alternating knit, yarnover then purl then bind off. If you had extra edge you could block it to come to points for a more scalloped edge, which would be attractive.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just lovely. Going into my Rav favorites right NOW!

EBird

Deborah said...

What a beautiful shawl! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

what do you consider largest needles? Size 19, 35, 50's? What size are you using? Thanks.

ReBorn Again said...

For the acrylic version (sport weight) I used size 10 US needles. For the lace weight version I used size 8 US needles. You probably want to use bigger than what the yarn package recommends by 1-2 sizes to make it lacey.