Oh hey remember how I had a mystery shawl knit-a-long last month? Well, it’s long over and here is the mystery revealed!
Junction is a modular shawl, made up of 5 parts worked in different directions, all connected with short rows, no picked up stitches or seaming.
It can be made in any weight yarn, and in any size, in as little as 2 colors, or in as many colors as you want!
You can use the same color for the whole background, or switch between 2 different background colors, like I did in this main sample:
You can even used a subtly variegated or a self-striping yarn for the main color throughout, like this variegated sample I made, or like this self-striping by feistykitty, or this partially self-striping by craftzone.
The way the sizing for this shawl works is that the length you work to in the first section determines the final size of the whole piece… so while 3 sizes are given in the pattern, you can actually work to absolutely any size you want! (Helpful sizing notes are included.)
This sample of mine is in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted – in Curry and Pesto as the main colors, with bits of Bark and Navy. I love this yarn oh so much, yes!! For this color combo in the large size, 2 skeins each were needed of the yellow and green, but you could totally use this yarn in a different way and/or make a medium size and not have to get multiple skeins of a color. I think you’d be able to get away with 3 skeins total in the large size and a similar look (but with 3 colors instead of 4) by using 2 main colors (like I did) but not use those for the contrasting at all, and then the third color as the contrasting throughout the whole thing. You’d definitely be safe doing that in a medium size, or you could go kind of halfway between medium and large…
And then this small size sample is in beautiful Black Trillium Merilon sock yarn (Star colorway), with a recycled white silk used as the contrasting. I love it! The small size shawl makes a great 1 skein of sock yarn project (though you can use any weight!), for a special yarn that you want to show off; you could probably even get a medium size out of 1 skein, depending on how tightly you knit it up.
So… want to see my crazy design process for this one? It started with lots of swatching, and then once I had a basic concept figured out, I made up a first prototype, which looked like this:
At first I thought I was going to make garter stitch eyelet lines for the contrasting design details, but after using them in the center section, I didn’t like the look, and moved on to what became the chains in the later sections.
And I started to try this final sideways section across the top, but quickly decided against that, leaving it in the prototype instead of frogging it just for fun:
The shape of this one needed some major adjustment, but it’s sort of wearable… sorta kinda…
Then I made all my major adjustments to the in-progress pattern, to make for a better shape, and use the chains throughout, etc, and I had this thought that it could be cool to stripe 2×2 stripes throughout the whole thing. I had some Quince & co yarn I’d been wanting to use, in 4 colors, so I played around with striping ideas in photoshop and came up with this plan. Each of the 4 colors are used in 3 out of the 6 sections, paired with each of the other colors, so each section has its own unique 2×2 stripes, blending into the next (from sections 1-6, colors used are A/B, B/C, C/D, D/A, A/C, D/B).
For my first try, that plan became this:
First, the stripes were a bad idea. Second, the shape was still way off. But this time, it was only the top 2 sections that needed adjusting. So I frogged the whole top half, re-worked the pattern some more, and this final shawl turned out like so:
The design features are totally hidden in those stripes, so I knew that idea was out for the actual pattern. But this prototype served multiple purposes, and it was successful in its final shape/size. So this became pretty much the exact pattern for the small size, as worked in worsted weight…
And while it’s no good as an official pattern sample, I do like it as a personal accessory, so it will most definitely be getting some use!
So, next, I decided to make one more prototype, with a solid background, to finalize everything, before casting on with my good yarn. So I grabbed some aran weight Cascade Soft Spun (which knits up more like a chunky weight, I think), in order to whip up a quick medium size version. I switched between 4 different contrasting colors for this one, rotating A, B, C, D throughout the entire piece.
Well, finally it was a complete success, and my prototyping was complete! The medium was a perfect fit for what I wanted in a medium, and I loved it!
For my official large size Anzula sample, I wanted to show it in a 2 main color version. While the 2×2 stripes didn’t work, I was convinced that there was a way to use 2 different main colors, and I wanted to make that idea work, so I did more color-planning sketching (messy touchpad sketching in photoshop)… I tried lots of different ways of switching between the colors, and using the contrasting colors, and this is what looked best:
So I knit it up and that plan became this shawl (I love how almost exactly right on my sketched plan was):
The large size is nice and cozy!
I like how the 2 color version kind of appears as mostly one color from some angles, and mostly (or entirely) the other color from other angles.
So that was my design process! The only thing left to do was to make a small size sample, for which I chose to use sock yarn. I’d been holding on to this Black Trillium skein for awhile, waiting for just the right design… and I think I made a good choice! Love how it looks!
The small size is more of a kerchief than a shawl, really, depending on how you wear it. But in wool yarn, it keeps my neck a good amount of warm…
And that’s that! Junction! It was a bit tough as a mystery pattern, and I know there were a lot of drop-outs, but I think it’s a much easier pattern when you know what you’re supposed to be doing! The pattern includes lots of photos, step-by-step shots of how each section should look, and tons of notes to help you along the way. As long as you follow each line as it’s written, and trust it, it’s not a hard pattern. It’s all just knitting, after all :)