Wow it took me many days and many pages longer than expected, but the first leethal mystery knit-a-long pattern is now in normal pattern pdf format (well, maybe not “normal”… it is 27 pages long… but at least it’s all together in one file now)…
And the mystery is solved – it’s a shawl! Or a shawlette, depending on what size you want to make it. I love this small shawl size, for keeping my neck and shoulders warm without being big and cumbersome…
I’m going to first give some background about the design process a little, then I’ll get into more specifics about the pattern… and tons of photos, so bear with me here… I didn’t want to lengthen the pattern to any longer than it already was with unnecessary photos, so a lot of shots I love were left out, which means I’ll be posting them here… anyway…
If you checked out our engagement photos back when I posted them to flickr, you may have noticed a few like this and this with blurred out neckwear – well that was my first prototype version of this shawl, designed and knit to be my wedding shawl! Here it is in the engagement shots, pre-blocking:
When I blocked it out, I discovered that I loved it even more because the edging caused it to stretch and curve out and up into a U shape! And, while I liked the ruffly edge of the unblocked piece, I liked the look way more post-blocking! So that was my wedding shawl, which I ended up not wearing on my wedding day at all because it was 100 degrees that day and cooled off to pleasant when the sun went down, but definitely no need for a wool/alpaca blend around my shoulders!
So, getting to the point, I loved the way the design turned out, and a knit night buddy pointed out how the 4-part construction would be a perfect fit for a mystery knit-a-long! I didn’t love the top of this one, which is pretty simple and I mostly chose the zig-zag eyelets pattern because it’s called Marriage Lines, so I got started on a final design for the KAL – making it any-gauge – and the whole time thinking about how the construction was so great for making it any size, and for plugging in any stitch patterns, and really the basic design idea could be used to make any kind of customized shawl!
The shawl I ended up creating as my mystery pattern version had a waving ribs pattern across the top – simple, textured, kind of squishy, interesting but basic – and pretty much the same outer edging as that first prototype (but wider, and redesigned to work for any gauge and any width); I played around with the sizing for this one and ended up with a much larger shawl!
So, I kept the mystery pattern down to the size of my original wedding shawl, but I included the measurements for both of these 2 sizes in the final pattern, with notes on how to make it basically any size you want.
And then, for the final pattern, I decided there needed to be some kind of really basic version of the pattern, as kind of an intro to the construction and new techniques for knitters who might be intimidated by everything – not that it’s a hard pattern, I don’t think it is, but it does involve several aspects which many knitters might not be used to (like being any-gauge, the sideways edge cast-on, and the knitted-on sideways edging). So I made this garter stitch edged version, in the smaller size, with some soft+squooshy Malabrigo Twist:
And lastly, I wanted to test out this theory that any stitch patterns could be plugged into the parts to make a customized shawl, so I plugged in some cable patterns, and I got this! Totally worked! The pattern pdf only includes instructions for how to go about plugging in your own stitch patterns (generally, not specifics), but I am planning to put together an extra pdf with these cable charts and notes on how to recreate this version, in the future:
So, now for the massive amounts of photos, and more pattern info…
The garter stitch edged version of Betiko is written like a normal pattern, with only a few parts being affected by it being any-gauge. Most of the piece is worked until it measures a certain size, for each section, and because of the way it starts, with the panel across the top (which doesn’t affect the size of the whole piece), you don’t even need to do a gauge swatch!
My favorite way to wear Betiko is wrapped around and tucked into itself, without a shawl pin or anything to bother with…
And it can be arranged with either side in front or in back…
Or it works will with a shawl pin too…
Pete and I did this photoshoot last week at Reed college, in the freezing cold rain, so I was moving around a lot to distract myself from my numb hands and feet. I love these shots he took of me dancing around in the leaves…
…and I really love the way the wind got involved in some of the shots:
So, there’s the basic garter edged pattern, then there’s the customized pattern. This pattern has a bit more going on – the recipe kind of pattern for plugging anything (stitch patterns, cables, simple lace, etc) into the parts, and sidebars with everything you need to know to make this wavy version, with the waving ribs top part and wavy lace edging.
Every section of the pattern is adjustable, so you can make the top part and the edging each as wide as you want, and make the whole thing as big as you want.
And there are super detailed instructions for striping! You can make any kinds of stripes you want, and they are designed so that the yarn strands are all carried along the wrong side of the piece, within the body of the shawl, not along any outer edges, making for nice clean edges all around. Many of the carried strands are later worked into the piece as the modular joins happen, making the strands nearly invisible (see this photo with flickr notes to see how the strands are carried along the back, but it’s the prototype, which was messier than the final version).
This larger version is so warm and luxurious, almost like carrying a mini-blanket with me!
If you want to get crazy with the larger shawl, it can even be worn to warm your skirt area!
And here are shots of it before and after blocking:
And then, speaking of striping again, you can stripe all or just some of the parts, however you like. In the above shawl, I striped all but the 4th part – in the wedding shawl, I striped all 4 parts:
I started to run out of yarn though, partway through the edging, and could tell I wasn’t going to make it, so I switched from wide grey stripes to wide orange stripes, at the halfway point:
The sections 2 and 3 stripes (the main body of the shawl) were all done randomly, with 2 purl ridge “stripes” thrown in there too, one in section #2 and one in #3:
This yarn is Austermann Natura and it is so freaking soft and warm, I love it so much! Merino wool, bamboo, cotton, alpaca, and mohair – weird, right? – somehow made into this magically not itchy at all, fuzzy but not too fuzzy, beautifully colored yarn!
I have been wearing one or another of these shawls pretty much constantly (including at home) for weeks now, and I’m sure I will be all winter long! Love them!
And then the cabled version… On the sides there is Barbara Walker’s Banjo Cables pattern, with seed stitch inside all the yarn-over increase wedges…
…some regular cables in the center panel (I have no idea how I managed to screw up the twist at the bottom there and not notice it till weeks later!), and Oxox cables all along the top (looking kind of weird stretched out here):
It is so so so squishy and WARM; holy moly it’s the best thing ever on a cold day!
Definitely my favorite way to wear this one is all wrapped up high around my neck. My neck will never be cold again!
This version served as a test and, while I was definitely knitting it for myself to enjoy, I was also treating it like a giant swatch. So, I tested out 4 different ways of working the edging across the piece, which is why you may notice different segments of the edge looking differently in some photos, and all those options are explained in the pattern.
This yarn, which I am completely in love with, is Berroco Blackstone Tweed Chunky, a wool/mohair/angora blend, and is also magically not at all itchy and incredibly soft! Yum!
Head to the Betiko ravelry page, or the leethal pattern page, to read more details about the pattern (like yardage estimates and other things pasted in from the pdf), and to purchase ($6 for 27 pages!), and check out the ravelry projects to see all the mystery knitters’ versions (yay!). I’ll paste in this one little paragraph from the pdf which I think is neat to know:
A couple more fun things about this pattern: regardless of how big you make your shawl, you’ll never cast on or bind off more than a couple inches worth of stitches! There is also no seaming, no picking up stitches, and only as many ends to weave in as the 2 ends of each yarn you use (meaning no breaking of yarn is needed within the pattern).
And one last thing… Betiko is a Basque girl’s name, which means “eternal”, and was suggested by naming genius Mary-Heather (who also named Swerve). My working name for this pattern was “forever shawl” both because you can keep knitting it forever and make it different every time, and because it was originally designed as my wedding shawl. I was having a heck of a hard time coming up with a good name, asked for ideas on twitter, and MH’s Betiko was perfect!!
I’m so happy to have this final pattern released, and I had a fantastic time doing the mystery KAL! I am totally planning more for 2011! So excited!