Oshara Shawl

I completed the Oshara Shawl MKAL, and I’m in love with the shawl!

Oshara Shawl

My joy is threefold – that the shawl turned out alright though I didn’t know what I was going to make, that my choice of colors turned out alright just brilliant, and that my slight modifications to the pattern turned out alright.

My pattern modifications were nothing big, just a few alignment and increase adjustments. Weeks 3 and 4 had sections where the left and right edges of the shawl didn’t match. They would definitely not be noticeable when the shawl is worn, but I would know! πŸ˜› (And I would not be as happy while knitting these sections.) So I moved / changed the repeats in those sections a little to make them match. For one of the sections, this would slightly mess up an increase row, and I changed the way I increase to retain the expected stitch count.

 

Overall, I’m ecstatic about the result. I wish I could wear this shawl right now, but it has turned out to be a wonderfully lightweight summer shawl, and summer is long gone here – it’s pretty chilly now. No worries, I can hope for a warmer day or two, and if that doesn’t happen, well, the shawl will be ready for next year.

Can I just say again how glad I am that the risk of joining this MKAL paid off! Thank you Susanna for designing such a fun and beautiful project, and Interweave for the opportunity to play along! I don’t know if I’ll work on more MKAL’s in the near future, though – my thirst for knitting mystery projects seems to have been quenched for now. πŸ™‚

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Works in Progress

I’m merrily switching between my two current projects this month. πŸ™‚

The Oshara Shawl MKAL

Week 3 of the MKAL is here, and like I predicted, I’m still on Week 2. πŸ™‚ I felt that there was quite some variance in the knitting amount each week. I finished Week 1 in a day since it was just short rows in garter stitch, and have spent a few evenings so far on Week 2 since it involves colorwork and lace. Week 3, again, looks smaller than Week 2 chart-wise, but maybe they’re comparable stitch-count-wise.

Oshara Shawl MKAL progress | Anita

The charts haven’t been difficult so far, and I’m hoping they remain that way for the remainder of the project. I don’t totally get how it’s shaping up, though. This week, Susanna (the designer) mentions that she uses a top-down construction method for this shawl, and that, I think, removed some of the confusion I had, but it’s still a little bit of a mystery. πŸ™‚

I can definitely see that the yarn I’m using is thinner than the one featured on the project page – it was the closest replacement I could find – but I like the loose knit that it creates.

The one thing that I absolutely love in this shawl so far is the play of colors! My next section is a bright yellow, though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll gel well with the rest of the team. πŸ˜‰

The Linen and Threads Mystery Sampler SAL

TheΒ current section of this mystery SAL is a giant one that spans two months. It might look like I’ve made very little progress on the project so far, but I actually did a lot of work. It’s just that it was on designing and not on the stitching.

L&T SAL - Jun/Jul progress | Anita

This section has a lion and a unicorn among vines/plants, holding up some kind of coat of arms with our initials and the current year. The instructions also come with a helpful section that shows charts for every alphabet and digit, so we should be able to easily stitch whatever we choose to feature on the coat of arms.

I appreciate all the effort the creators of the SAL have put in for the section, buuuut I didn’t really subscribe to the coat of arms concept, even after I gave it a few days. So I tried replacing the entire coat of arms with another vine/plant, using bits and pieces from the vines that I’m stitching now. I had to move around the other pieces a little too, and I’m happy with the changes, in spite of a small curve in the new vine that I still think is a bit wonky. πŸ˜‰

So now I’m finally stitching! I’m still not completely sure of the colors I’ll use for the animals, but that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get there. I’ve done enough designing on this project for one month. πŸ˜›

That’s it for this time, folks! Hope you’re enjoying your projects at least as much as I’m enjoying mine!

Pullover ft. Entrelac

I can’t believe I managed to finish the entrelac pullover before I start the Oshara Shawl MKAL! It’s definitely not what I had in mind when I started experimenting on featuring entrelac, but it’s also definitely not a bad attempt.

Pullover ft. Entrelac | Anita

My main concern in this design was to account for decreases and increases in the entrelac pattern at some point (not counting the obvious one along the body.) Since this project has had its fair share of mistakes and frustrations in the first attempt, I wanted to minimize those. So I chose to start the entrelac from one side of the body – the right seam, as it turns out – and continue towards the left seam. With this approach, the start and finish of the pattern would be easy, the decreases / increases of the entrelac squares would be concentrated on one side – around the neckline – while the other side would just continue as usual. I hoped this would make it manageable, and it definitely did!

Another area where I experimented was with starting the pattern exactly at the seam – I made the pattern run from armhole to hip, and tried increasing its width after a few rows to make it now run from shoulder to hip. This gave mixed results while increasing, so I decided to frog it and use plain stockinette till I increase for the sleeve, and then switch to the pattern. Anyway, that section would be mostly hidden behind my arms. πŸ™‚ This made my life easier. The seam is pretty visible, though. :-/

The rest of the front was just picking up stitches along the slanting entrelac edge and knitting increasingly longer rows top down. The back is plain stockinette, and so are the sleeves. I wanted the side seams to have slits, and on a whim, also made the back longer. I still don’t know how I feel about this. I think I like it, but if I decide later that I don’t, I can always rip it out and redo the ribbing. (Thank goodness it’s top down!)

I feel that designing with entrelac is definitely a challenge, with its share of table-flipping level of frustrations. But looking back, I think I learned much from the overall experience – I had to think and try out stuff quite a bit. If I make this project again, I think the entrelac will look good as the ‘outside’ of an inverted V, or maybe even the inside of the V, instead of as a simple diagonal. I might need to construct it differently, though. I’ll try that in a few years though, when I’m a better designer. (Fingers crossed. πŸ˜› )


And what about the MKAL? Yes, I did start it yesterday, and knit quite a bit, before I realized that I was using the wrong color. (I’m using different colors than suggested.) Frogged, restarted; but at least now the pattern is already imprinted in my mind so maybe it’ll go quicker. πŸ™‚

Oshara Shawl MKAL

Dial M for Mystery

I thought I didn’t like it when the letter ‘M’ is prefixed to make-along projects – not knowing what I’m signing up for would drive me crazy. However, it looks like I’m drawn to it this year. I’ve been enjoying the MSAL sampler cross stitch project from Linen and Threads since Jan, and now I’ve decided to go for an MKAL shawl project by designer Susanna and Interweave.

I’m nowhere near done with my current entrelac project, but I’d been thinking of knitting a shawl next, since monsoon would start by then, bringing in frequent cool weather. Right in time to save me all the researching, there’s this article from Interweave announcing the MKAL. I went through Susanna’s other designs, and thought ‘why not?’

Entrelac Pullover progress

My current project – the entrelac pullover. I’m almost done knitting the non-entrelac section of the front. Once this is done, I’ll start the back, which is plain stockinette. Then finally, the sleeves. Phew! Much to knit, but I’m happy knitting this version since I’m much more satisfied with the section joins compared to the previous version.

As usual, I see that the recommended materials for the MKAL – Cascade yarns, in this case – are not available where I live (unless at ridiculously expensive prices because ‘imported’), so I found alternatives. I ordered equivalent fingering weight yarn in mercerized cotton, with weight and length comparable to the recommended yarn. I also had to choose a color scheme different from the one in the project –

Interweave + Susanna MKAL - My Colors

I’m hoping that the project won’t turn out too difficult to make, or too different than what’s it supposed to be, because of my changes. And if it does, it’s fine. I’ll take a call after seeing how it comes along.

The MKAL starts in June, and will have a total of 4 weekly posts. I’m not sure I’ll knit fast enough to finish it in one month. I’m also not sure if my entrelac sweater will be done before I start the shawl, especially since this month’s SAL section is a larger one. Since I’ve decided this year to stop stressing out about deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, I’m just going to knit as much as I can, probably even switch between my projects, and enjoy what I do the entire time. πŸ™‚

Pullover ft. Entrelac – Attempt #2

Since I hadn’t much liked how my entrelac-featuring pullover attempt was going, I decided to try a different, easier-to-execute design. This one features more entrelac area, and looks better with alternating colors of narrower entrelac strips. I haven’t frogged my attempt #1 yet – that’ll depend on how my progress on this one goes!

Here’s a peek of how attempt #2 looks so far.

Pullover featuring Entrelac, attempt #2 - progress

So many strands to weave in! πŸ˜‰

It’s a short post this time because it’d been slow progress on this project till recently, but since I’ve picked up some pace now, and the entrelac strips shorten with each step, I’m hoping to finish some more of this pullover before I start on the April section of the Linen and Threads SAL.

Pullover ft. Entrelac – progress

Entrelac strip – done! In order to prevent pesky tangles, I used three balls of yarn – one for the darker entrelac color, and one each with the lighter body color for the triangles along the two sides. (Of course, very little of the light colored yarn got used for the strip.) I’m now knitting the pullover body, and joining it on the go with the entrelac triangles, like so –

Pullover with a Splash of Entrelac - progress

I’m on the fence regarding this one. I like the idea I had for this design, but not the execution.

Firstly, I don’t like that I got the darker blocks to break away by interspersing entrelac blocks of lighter color. I’d have liked the lighter color to remain stockinette stitch. I can accomplish this by knitting the darker ‘breakaway’ rectangles separately, switching to lighter-color stockinette when I’m at the breaking-away point, and joining the breakaway rectangles while decreasing / increasing lighter color at the touch points as required. But that seems like too much crazy work.

Secondly, I’d thought of making the strip go from shoulder to hip, with a square neck for the sweater body. But due to various compatibility issues with sweater width and strip width, I ended up making it more of a V-neck; I had to join the entrelac strip to the body quite a distance away from the shoulder, but still in the neck curve. I don’t like how that looks. I’d like the strip to go higher, or, as a less preferable choice, stop before it reaches the chest.

Thirdly, the joins at the entrelac edges look super-wonky, and I don’t think blocking will help here. I checked out mattress stitch based joins on a small section of an edge, but the join is more prominent there, if anything.

You can see where I’m going with this. (Ribbit!) I already have non-entrelac-based execution ideas swimming in my head. I’ll give it a few more days before I decide what to do with this project. Or maybe a few months, because it’s neither sweater weather nor sweater-knitting weather here – it’s boiling hot. I’d really hate to frog this one – it looked pretty promising – but I’d probably hate it more if I don’t like how it turns out. Wouldn’t you agree?

Ideas – Pullover ft. Entrelac

Entrelac is a technique for which I always need a refresher tutorial, but once I relearn its principles, I wonder how I ever forgot. πŸ™‚

I’d bought two colors of this speckled Nako yarn, from which I plan to make two sweaters that each have one main color and a little bit of the other color. For my first sweater, entrelac came to mind for the secondary color. (I don’t think I can go with entrelac as the primary feature in a sweater — at least not right now. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I just don’t like how it looks.)

I have started on an entrelac strip, but I still don’t have a concrete plan for the design. πŸ˜€ Here are rough depictions of a few of my ideas:

Entrelac Pullover Ideas

I do like the look of that bottom one…

While I try to refine the design some more, I’ll knit a couple more entrelac sections on that strip! It doesn’t look like the yarn shows the crisscrossing too well, but it looks fine IRL when blocked. (After all, what else can one expect from a picture with the flash on…)

Entrelac Pullover Strip

I don’t get much knitting time these days, though — I’m spending more time on the very enjoyable cross stitch from the Linen and Threads Mystery SAL. I’m close to completing the January section, so I decided to show pictures in my next post.