Twist Collective Blog
Knitting for Ourselves: Carly's Maroni
We love showing you beautiful patterns in the pages of our magazine, but we also want to show them to you in new ways! Twist Style Fridays are one of the ways we work on this, but one of the limitations of a site like Polyvore is that all the clothes are shown on one body type! This feature is a way for us to show how we choose and adapt Twist garments to suit ourselves. You've met the Twist Team already on the blog, now you can follow this feature here if you want to know more about what we make when we knit for ourselves.
Like lots of you probably do, I take a long slow flip through each issue of Twist when it launches. Even though I'm in the (lucky lucky!!) position to participate in the creation of the magazine, and so have seen bits and pieces of the issue before launch, that first flip-through is still a really lovely ritual. Then I start dreaming about what to make. I spent a good long time stuck on the cover image from Winter's Twist- that luscious, blanket-y shawl really spoke to me. I went yarn shopping about two days after the launch.
That's where I hit my first snag. The yarn used in the pattern is wildly beautiful, but the yardage required made it a little rich for my grad student budget. I absolutely love Tanis' dye work, however, and all of her yarns are amazing. I was shopping at the Purple Purl on Queen East in Toronto, where they have a pretty vast selection of her yarns. So I made an executive decision to knit in a finer gauge, because I could get a whole lot more yardage for my buck if I chose the epic skeins of Red Label cashmere and silk. Another route if the original yarn is too pricey for you would be to use something woolier in the same weight. Me, I am a total sucker for silk, and knitting with this stuff was amazing. I've been a (bottle) blondie for a couple of years now, and somehow being a lemonhead makes wearing pink extra fun.
I knew I would have to make some adjustments to the pattern in order to get a generously sized shawl while knitting at a finer gauge. I didn't think about how many additional cable crosses I would be taking on, but it never got tedious. I tend to wear my shawls wrapped around my neck, point-down, rather than across my shoulders, which means I want long tails for secure wrapping. I decided to accelerate the rate of increases along the top edge of the shawl. I didn't have a precise method for this, but I tried to keep the extra increases tucked under cable crosses where I could. I got about two or two and a half new cable columns on the edges for each one at the centre. The original I think has about 18 columns in the finished object; mine has 34. The only really tricky part was trying to make sure I would have the two sets of columns meet up at the right point to start the edging chart.
The result is a shallower triangle that is exactly the size and shape that I wanted. The cables keep the fabric dense and lush even at a finer gauge. I ran a bit short on yarn and skipped a couple of rows between the end of the chart and the bind off, but you can't really tell! I almost didn't block it because I put it on immediately and never wanted to take it off. I think I've worn it every day since it finished drying on my hilarious wrestling-mat blocking system (you can see a piece of it in the photo below, behind the fishtank). Blocking really transformed it too, and helped stretch out those tails.
This shawl, along with these socks (see below!) taught me how to cable without a cable needle, and I have never been happier to learn a knitting skill, at least not since I learned to knit in the round! Without a cable needle to fuss with, this project became portable enough to bring to class with me. I'm in a professional masters program, so my classes follow a silly format; eight hours of class, once a month, for a total of five sessions. I don't know how my colleagues sit still for that long without something to keep their hands busy. It's made me a prolific knitter this year.
I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough. It's clear and comprehensible, the charts are fairly intuitive. It was challenging but never frustrating. Someday I'll splurge on some Orange Label and make another one. It was really, really fun to knit. I super-duper love my Maroni. What yarn would you use to make one? Would you make changes to the pattern to suit your tastes? Would yours be hot pink? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook about your dream Twist projects, and then make them real!