Knit out of a lovely laceweight alpaca with a new color work
technique, Verdant creates a new sort
of colored lightweight fabric. Held up to the
summer sun, this wrap casts a leafy shadow.
As with fine printed cotton and lovely old
woven shawls, a shadowy but perfectly presentable
version of the right side image is visible
on the reverse. Laceweight yarn knit at a loose
gauge is translucent, and in this way light
is added to the knitter's palette. In
this wrap, just as in stained glass, light
shines around and through the leaf motif.
This shawl is knit using a techique of my own that I think of
as Blended Intarsia. I have been experimenting
with blended intarsia for over a year because, although I love
the large graphic qualities of traditional intarsia, I prefer
sophisticated color relationships.
contrasting or sometimes discordant colors of commercially
dyed yarns can be harmonized with this technique to create
an entirely personal palette suited to the knitter.
intarsia may look like traditional intarsia, but the knitter
is freed from the tedious and tangly task of twisting yarns
at color edges. For the first few rows, this technique will
seem awkward whether the knitter is an advanced beginner or
very experienced. The only unusual skill required is a willingness
to form some stitches with an unfamiliar hand. This new technique
is explained in an illustrated notes section. The technique
for aligning the colors side by side on each stitch may seem
fiddly at first, but very soon it becomes second nature. Familiarity
with provisional cast on and some experience in chart reading
Please be relaxed about following the chart. If you make a
small error on a leaf, step back and look at it before ripping
out. Leaves come in all shapes and sizes. If the
design is still pleasing, let it be. For this intarsia
pattern, consider the chart a suggestion rather than a commandment.
Newhall photos: Alice
Torres, Jonathan Newhall, Sarah Newhall
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS Length: 74 inches Width: 34 inches Note: Measurements taken after blocking.
Recommended needle size [always use a needle
size that gives you the gauge
listed below -- every knitter's
gauge is unique]
set US #6/4mm straight needles or circular needle (32-inch
17 sts/32 rows=4” in
stockinette st over blended intarsia pattern, after blocking
Note: Exact gauge is not important for
this project, though it is important to achieve
a light, drapey, open fabric. Work a swatch, including some
portion in blended intarsia, and block the swatch to ensure
that the resulting fabric has the desired qualities.
a wrap the same size as the one shown, it is necessary to achieve
the gauge given. Work a swatch 20 sts wide and 40 rows deep,
including some portion in blended intarsia. Swatch should easily
stretch to 4.75 inches wide and 5 inches deep during wet blocking.
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
This wrap is worked in two halves, beginning with a provisional
cast on. After the first half is worked, the provisional cast
on is removed, and the second half is worked from the resulting
For this project, all sts of chart pattern are worked in stockinette st
using MC; CC sts are worked using both MC and CC (see below). MC is not
worked using bobbins, as all sts are worked using same strand of MC.
The photos and instructions below describe the method for working
blended intarsia in a way that results
in the CC yarn usually being predominant
on the RS of the work, and the MC yarn
being predominant on the WS of the work.
This will make the design bolder on the
RS of the fabric than on the WS. Don't
be discouraged if you find that the technique requires some
If you find that this way of working is not feasible for you,
it is still possible to make this project; simply work CC sts
using 1 strand each of MC and CC held together. RS of fabric
will show more color blending between MC and CC than in wrap
Use a separate bobbin for each stem and leaf, even when a leaf
is worked in the same color as the stem. Bobbins will hang on
WS of work when not in use. It is not necessary to twist strands
of yarn around each other at color changes as in conventional
When following chart, work MC sts using 1 strand MC. Work CC
sts (blended sts) using 1 strand MC and 1 strand CC, as follows.
Note that in the directions that follow, “throw” will
refer to wrapping yarn around right needle using right hand,
and “pick” will refer to using tip of left needle
to pick up strand of yarn from left hand. You may find it unnecessary
to tension CC strand around fingers; the weight of the bobbin
will often provide enough tension that the CC strand can just
be hung over one finger.
Working blended sts on RS rows: Hold MC using right hand and
CC using left hand. Insert right needle knitwise into st, throw
MC using right hand, pick CC using left hand. Draw right needle
through st on left needle, completing st using both strands of
yarn. Most of the time, MC strand will sit to right of CC strand
on needle on RS rows, and to left of CC strand on WS rows. Don't
worry if this is reversed on some sts.
Working blended sts on WS rows: Hold MC using right hand and
CC using left hand. Insert right needle purlwise into st, wrap
CC strand over needle using left hand, throw MC strand using
right hand. Draw right needle through st on left needle, completing
st using both strands of yarn.
Leave a yarn tail approx. 4 inches long at beginning and end
of each block of color. When beginning a new ball of MC, join
new end within a leaf motif; this will make it easier to weave
in ends invisibly.
When the chart indicates that the first blended st falls to
the right or left of the last blended st worked in the previous
row, take care to avoid pulling CC strand tightly or leaving
a large loop of CC on WS of work. The strand should lie loosely
against WS of fabric.
This project uses a provisional cast on. Use your preferred
provisional cast on technique; directions for one technique may
be found here:
Information about blocking can be found here and here.
Charts The chart for this pattern is very large
and fits on 2 letter-sized pages.
Click here and here print the resulting
pages. Assemble them with the arrows [ >< ] touching.
Using provisional method and waste yarn, CO 146 sts.
Row 1 [RS]: Using MC, k6, place marker,
work Row 1 of chart, place marker, work Row 1 of chart once
more, place marker, k6.
IMPORTANT: Each row of chart indicates pattern for two
rows: a RS row and a WS row. RS row numbers are indicated along
right side of chart, WS row numbers are indicated along left
Next Row: Sl 1, k5, work next row of chart as set, k6.
Continue in pattern as set, maintaining
6 sts at each edge in garter st and slipping first st of each
row, until you have completed all rows of chart.
Work Rows 1-144 of chart once more, EXCEPT once you have completed
Row 110 (indicated by red line), discontinue working stems – work
stem sts indicated using MC only.
Using MC only, work 2 rows in stockinette st, maintaining garter
st borders as set.
K 12 rows, slipping first st of each
BO all sts very loosely.
Carefully remove waste yarn from CO edge, placing
resulting live sts on needle. Count sts; you may have 145 sts
instead of 146. If this happens, increase 1 st after working
garter st border at beginning of first row, and count increased
st as first st of chart.
Join MC with RS facing. When working first row, leave longer
tails than usual when joining each stem bobbin. When working
stem sts in first row, insert tip of right needle into front
of st below st on needle, so that new st is drawn through both
st on needle and st below. This will help to disguise the slight
jog that may result between stem from first half and stem from
second half. If there is still a visible jog, it can be disguised
when weaving in ends.
Work as for first half.
Weave in ends on WS of work, weaving loosely to prevent fabric
from binding during blocking. Wet block, using blocking wires
if desired. Do not stretch wrap too much while blocking, or
leaf image will be distorted.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Susan Newhall taught herself to knit long, long ago in the olden
days of sl 1 k1 psso. Now, eons later, in the enlightened days
of ssk, Susan has taken up designing. She designs patterns for
Belfast Mini-Mills in Prince Edward Island, Canada showcasing their
beautiful yarn, and occasionally writes a pattern for her lys or
All of this creative work takes place while she parents kids, stepkids
and a dog so large that she suspects it’s a cleverly disguised pony.