Monday Mishaps: Starting a Shawl

One thing that I have not knit a whole lot of are shawls. I don’t know why, I think they looked very complicated to me or maybe I just didn’t see myself as a shawl person. In order to display the yarn better for the Kitchener/Waterloo knitters fair, I’ve decided to knit a shawl in my DK weight yarn.

Shawl 1

My first assumption is that you would start at the point and work your way up, increasing the whole way. This seemed logical because usually the two edges leading to a point are the same. There is a pattern or some kind of decorative edge that takes meticulous work to keep in line.
The other way I could see the shawls being constructed was to cast on the entire top edge all at once and work your way down. It would be much easier to keep a pattern straight if this were the way it was supposed to be cast on!
Little did I know that you cast on in the middle of the top and longest stretch on the shawl. This is usually the part that rests across your shoulders. When you actually cast on, you cast on three stitches in total and knit six rows. This in itself seems ludicrous because you end up with this messed up looking garter stitch rectangle. Of course you think… ‘This CAN’T be right. It just looks so strange.’

Shawl 2

As I looked at this rectangle of fabric I had created, I thought I had messed it up already. Not six rows in and I had already bungled it. This was not an auspicious start to my project.
I followed the links provided in the pattern and sure enough, there was my freaky looking little rectangle in all the ‘how-to’ photos’; at least it isn’t just me. Sanity reaffirmed, I plunged on into the mysterious workings of a shawl.
The body was no problem; just don’t miss your two increases and continue to garter stitch the whole way through. I was beginning to lull myself into thinking that shawls were the greatest invention EVER and I should ALWAYS knit them. Little did I know about the boarder.

Shawl Three

The boarder is lace and cables added onto the edge after the body is completely done. What this means, is you cast on an additional 18 stitches and work the lace/cable chart back and forth on these 18 stitches while knitting two together every time you reach the edge of the body.
I still haven’t finished this shawl, but I learned it was not a pattern to do while trying to relax on a camping trip. The key is to sit on a camp chair next to a fire and knit socks. Obviously. How could one not know this?!