Enjoying Fall blanket wraps, dreaming of spring weather, and inspired by some lovely Wolle's Yarn Creation Color Changing Cotton, I began to imagine bringing these elements together in a light spring lace shawl. To keep a rectangular shape and showcase the gradient yarn from the center out, the scarf would need to begin with a provisional cast-on, much like a toe-up sock. Looking for a pattern that could give the illusion of being worked in one direction while actually rotating 360 degrees, I came across Barbara Walker's Vortex. With a few modifications it looks the same every time it rotates 90 degrees, making the provisional cast-on a seamless part of the design.
When looking at the pattern up close, I saw lace bowties, but viewed from farther away, the solid areas reminded me of pinwheels. Thinking about how pinwheels spin and still look the same, it was the perfect name. After adding a sideways knit-on border that repeated the alternating lace and solid triangles, Pinwheel was complete.
Looking at the design, I thought it would also lend itself to bold concentric rectangles. Fortunately, I had some lovely Mrs. Crosby Hatbox that seemed perfect. The resulting shawls are like fraternal twins, obviously related, but with different personalities. Finally, a friend showed me how to turn a long rectangular shawl into a loose swingy vest, so the shawl can go from dressy to casual with a couple of folds and your favorite shawl pin.
For light gray, blue, dark grey shawl (shown above):
Mrs. Crosby, Hat Box [75% Merino, 15% Silk, 10% Cashmere; 317 yds per 100g skein]
Greystone; 2 skeins (uses 625 yds)
[CC1] French Chambray; 2 skeins (uses 580 yds)
[CC2] Submarine; 2 skeins (uses 525 yds)
For salmon, moss, blue shawl (shown below):
Wolle's Yarn Creations, Color Changing Cotton 180g [100% cotton; 865 yds per 180g skein]
Camellia, 1 skein
Camellia 2, 1 skein
Recommended needle size [always use a needle
size that gives you the gauge
listed below — every knitter's
gauge is unique]
US #4/3.5mm circular needles: two 47-60 inch
stitch markers: 1 for start of the round; 3 more distinct ones for marking the other corners
42 other markers, different from all others
24 sts/33 rounds = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
18 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in lace patt
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
Pinwheel is a rectangular shawl that begins in the center, and is worked in the round so colors grow out in concentric rectangles. Using gradient yarn, the transition is gradual and subtle; using three individual colors will make sharp, bold rectangles.
With Wolle's Yarn Creations, in order to make a large shawl, two coordinated skeins are used, changing skeins every round. If using two identical skeins, pull both from the middle, or you will not be able to work the whole border in just the final color.
For solid colors of yarn, change colors between rounds 18 and 19 of the second and third repeats as indicated on the pattern.
The shawl begins with a provisional cast-on; you may use the cable of a second needle instead of waste yarn to save time. With a couple of small modifications, documented below, you can also use Judy's Magic Cast on. Because you turn two quick corners at each end of your work, for the early rounds, the stitches must be divided onto two circular needles. When the shawl sides are long enough, the shawl may easily be worked on one needle just as with a circular or square shawl.
CDD: Slip 2 sts together knitwise, k1, pass 2 slipped sts over st just knit. CDDmm: Slip 2 sts together knitwise, remove marker, k1, pass 2 slipped sts over st just knit, replace marker. RLI: With right needle lift the stitch below the next stitch, and knit it. 1 stitch increased. RLIm: With right needle lift the stitch below the next stitch, and knit it; place marker (before working original stitch). 1 stitch increased. RLI tbl: With right needle lift the stitch below the next stitch, and knit tbl. 1 stitch increased.
Setup IMPORTANT: READ THROUGH THIS SECTION BEFORE YOU BEGIN
For gradient yarn shawl, cast-on and first set-up round will be worked with skein pulled from outside. If using two identical skeins, choose one and pull from middle.
For single-color-per-skein shawl, begin with MC.
For standard provisional cast-on, provisionally cast on 222 sts for a total of 444 sts. K222 back across the stitches just cast on to upper needle so both working yarn and tail are at the same end of work. If you used waste yarn to cast on, place these stitches on second needle. You should have 222 sts on upper and lower needles/cables.
Proceed to Set-up round 1.
To use Judy Magic Cast On, you will make a few small modifications so your stitches are aligned properly with the stitches on the bottom needle shifted a half-step to the right. Start with a very long tail, about 6 yards (18 feet); the first loop will go on the bottom needle; and the yarns will be reversed. The tail will go around your thumb, and the working yarn will go around your index finger. The final stitch cast on will be on upper needle. Cast on 222 stitches onto each needle. As both tail and working yarn are already at same end, you are ready for the first set-up round.
Set-up round 1: (K1, [pm, k20] 11 times, pm, k1) twice, once each across the two needles. 444 sts.
Beginning of this needle marks beginning of round, and this needle will be referred to as the first needle for the rest of the pattern. Beginning of round will always be at the end of the shawl with yarn tail(s).
The markers placed in Set-up round 1 are for designating the repeats of the Center Lace Square.
If using gradient yarn, use second skein and pull yarn from the inside.
Set-up round 2: [K1, slip marker, (work row 1 of Center Lace Square) 11 times, slip marker, yo, place corner marker, k1, place marker (to mark middle of side, between right side corner triangle and left side corner triangle), yo] twice, once each across the two needles. 448 sts.
Body of shawl Note: If using gradient yarn, begin alternating skeins every round. Even rounds will be worked with skein pulling from outside. Odd rounds will be worked with skein pulled from inside.
If using identical skeins, both pulled from the inside, place skeins in separate, labeled bags, or use another method to distinguish them.
Body of shawl will begin with round 2 of chart. For all early rounds, first needle will hold the stitches for the top and left side of the shawl, and the second needle will hold the stitches for the (identical) bottom and right side. When the sides are a little taller than a needle length (without cable), it is possible to work your rounds on one 60-inch needle, or you may continue on two circulars. If you begin working on one needle, add round marker at beginning of round and add corner marker when you switch from first to second needle.
Rounds 2-40: Following rounds 2-40 of chart/directions, work [Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 11 times, Left Side Corner, Right Side Corner, Left Side Corner] twice.
Once Round 40 is complete, you have 20 stitches in each corner section, enough sts to add a repeat of the Center Lace Square in their place. The 8 stitch markers added according to round 1 pattern directions define the new corner sections.
Rounds 41-58: Following rounds 1-18 of chart/directions, work [Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 13 times, Left Side Corner, Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 2 times, Left Side Corner] twice.
For shawl using individual color skeins, change to CC1.
Rounds 59-80: Following rounds 19-40 of chart/directions, work [Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 13 times, Left Side Corner, Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 2 times, Left Side Corner] twice.
Once Round 80 is complete, you have 20 stitches in each corner section, enough sts to add a repeat of the Center Lace Square in their place. The 8 stitch markers added according to pattern directions define the new corner sections.
Rounds 81-98: Following rounds 1-18 of chart/directions, work [Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 15 times, Left Side Corner, Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 4 times, Left Side Corner] twice.
For shawl using individual color skeins, change to CC2.
Rounds 99-119: Following rounds 19-39 of chart/directions, work [Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 15 times, Left Side Corner, Right Side Corner, Center Lace Square 4 times, Left Side Corner] twice.
Do not work round chart round 40. Shawl body is complete when you complete round 119.
Border Note: If working border with Wolle's, work in only one color, and using one skein at a time, not alternating. You’ll want to use the section of the yarn that is entirely the outside color – that is, no strands of the other colors. Begin working border with either skein. When that skein (or all the solid color from that skein) is almost finished, finish with an odd (RS) row. On the next row, join solid color portion of second skein to complete border.
If working with the solid colors, continue with CC2.
Using working yarn, cast-on 3 stitches onto left-hand needle (at beginning of round).
Working from written or charted instructions, work Border rows 1-40 attaching to edge as you go. As you work, remove body markers as you encounter them.
Note: To prevent the final body stitches from becoming stretched out as you work the border, catch the weight of the piece on your needle as follows: after working first repeat of border, put tip of right-hand needle through the eyelet/yo created in row 9 of border. This hole will be pulled during blocking anyway, so there’s no need to worry about stretching it out.
Continue to work Rows 1-40 of border around, to end of body sts. On final repeat, bind off on Row 40.
Sew beginning and end of border together.
Weave in all ends. Wash and block.
FOLDING YOUR SHAWL INTO A VEST
Fold the shawl once side to side with the RS showing, approx. 40 x 30 inches. Fold again in the same direction, so that the two sets of corners line up with the fold, approx. 20 x 30 inches.
Using a shawl pin, pin through all four layers at either end where the corners meet the first folded edge. Pick up the unpinned corners, one in each hand, and gently allow the rest of the shawl to drop down.
On either side of the shawl pin, there are now openings, one on each side. The "vest" is now upside-down; the openings are the armholes, the shawl pin goes at the back of your neck, and the loose corners meet in the front near your waist.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Laura is a life-long knitter and former engineer and math teacher, now combining the best of all three in her favorite career, knitting design and education. Her designs often feature innovative construction. She is the author of Mitered Entrelac, Knitting Entrelac Around the Corner.