Shawl knitting

“How do they get that little triangle shape into the knit?” I remember asking myself when I first saw Purl Soho’s bandana cowl. Midway through the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn, I’m looking forward to finding out. Or, rather, I’m learning that the kerchief ‘triangle’ is the result of a series of increases around a midpoint-stitch, and at the edges. How cool is this?

The Brass and Steam kerchief shawl, a gift for a relative, has been a fun first shawl to work on. shawl1

Worked flat, each knit row produces 2 YOs and 2 M1’s; each purl row yields another 2 YOs. In other words, the thing takes on size fast. Before I knew it, the 2 cast-on stitches that began the shawl had literally turned into 200 without a fuss. It’s mysterious how little of that growth I actually noticed. This shawl engages one of my favourite kinds of knitting – what I like to call subliminal knitting, or the knitting that happens just under your radar of perception. There’s an internally-generated endurance to this knitting; its quality of unobtrusiveness made for a lot of stitches in a short amount of time (the rows are getting longer and longer, so maybe I’ve spoken too soon?).

This shawl is the kind of knit that is “growing up too fast” and has you wondering, with the necessary headshake, where all the time has gone. Who knows?

Wishing you lots of good making-time in the days ahead.


21 thoughts on “Shawl knitting

  1. I like your name for it. Others like to call it “autopilot” but I guess it isn’t, really, since you are somewhat aware of what you’re doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Tony. I like autopilot, too. As a somewhat new knitter, it’s exciting to discover that this kind of progress exists (especially where it’s needed, on the longer stretches). Happy stitching to you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the color you chose! Your description of knitting something that rapidly increases is very apt. I also find it very addicting to complete rows so quickly and see so much progress in the beginning, and those long rows at the end are very meditative, a lot like an exercise in endurance. Your shawl looks great! I can’t wait to hear how the rest of it goes and see your FO!

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    1. Thanks, Mandy! Yes, those beginning rows are definitely quickly devoured! And your thoughts on the longer ones are reassuring – was beginning to feel like the stitch-count was getting out of hand. And likewise: it’s been very fun and inspiring to follow along your Wonder woman shawl. What a beautiful, wonderful, super-heroic wrap! Looking forward to following along. 🙂

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  3. This particular shawl is a kerchief, and the moment you start thinking the rows are getting too long, it ends ! It is a good first shawl, a practice for bigger, larger knits. Love the color, and your post.

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    1. Thanks for the kerchief encouragement, Agnes. 🙂 Now that the shawl is over the 200-stitch mark, a little bit of panic is setting in (and has me wondering if the needle is long enough!). I’m hoping to learn all I can. Thank you, and happy weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by to read, Jo. 🙂 And happy to read that you’re also working on a shawl at the moment. It’s quite wonderful how quickly they grow, and I’m enjoying the process. Very much looking forward to reading more about your WIP. Happy knitting!


  4. Your description of subliminal knitting is beautifully expressed, Shirley. Thank you for that and for the absolutely mesmerizing Nina Simone song. ❤️

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  5. Ooooh, your first shawl is booming along beautifully, Shirley! It sounds like you’ve had a perfect weekend of subliminal knitting and dreamy music – can there be anything better? I can’t wait to see the finished piece, but in the meantime, enjoy knitting those lovely long rows! 😊

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  6. Working backwards through your posts about this shawl is a fun way to go . . . I got to see the FO and now I’m seeing all of the nice notes on construction that you’ve posted! It’s hard to be away from wifi, but it’s so fun to catch up! Thanks, Shirley!


  7. I love making triangle shawls cos of the feeling of progress. Also once you know the pattern you can just knit away so they’re great for travelling or watching tv. I couldn’t work out how they became triangular either 🤣 you just have to follow the pattern and have faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I was surprised at how quickly the shawl went by, and how motivating it is to keep going. Before you know it, the shawl pattern is memorized, and before long, the knit is done! Thanks for reading and stopping by, Celine. 🙂


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