When I learned to knit, my very first lesson was making a diagonally knitted square. I learned to increase, decrease and the knit stitch, all while making a relatively useful project, a wash cloth or dishcloth. After that, I did a multitude of scarves and hats before I struck out to learn more techniques. But I kept coming back to the square.
There are so many simple designs that are made from squares or triangles (half a square) and the pattern is so easy that it is perfect for beginners. So I have started designing patterns based on that simple diagonal square, just to see how many projects I can make.
The pattern stitch I learned, and still use, is very simple (below):
Close up view of Nightwatch Shawl (left) and full view of shawl (right).
This knitted shawl is made from 2 skeins of 'I Love This Yarn' Ombre Nightwatch, 251 yards (230 meters) per skein for a total of 502 yards (460 meters). Any size yarn could be used, but bulkier yarns with bigger needles will work up much faster, which I would recommend for a beginning knitter. Or you could use two light weight yarns. I used size 17 needles, but a smaller size would work. I knitted the increase row until the sides were about 52" when laid flat (be careful not to stretch the yarn), then I bound off the edge loosely. (That means no decrease rows; you are stopping with half a square-i.e. a triangle). I am tall, though, so you would want to adjust your number of rows to fit your need.
I wanted this shawl to be a light and airy, easy care summer accessory. The large needle made a very open stitch and was very quick to knit. I added a simple 5 inch fringe (10 inch strands doubled with a larks head knot), but you could also leave the edge with the knitted finish. I would caution you not to choose a yarn that has a lot of give, because with a stretchy yarn, this shawl would be dragging on the ground. If I make it again, I will probably use a cotton yarn or something similar that has very little stretch to it and is summery (cotton is just summery to me). As it is, the shawl is long enough that I can turn back a collar at the neck and still have a fairly long shawl.
I like to full and block my knitted pieces by rinsing them gently in warm water (this is entirely dependent on the yarn you are using--read the washing instructions on the skein), then rolling them up in a heavy towel and squeezing out the excess water. I then lay them out flat (or folded in half length wise in the case of a large shawl) on a moisture proof, fade proof surface and pin them down and let them dry.
My blocking board is a large piece of 1.5 inch compressed styrofoam left over from insulating our house. I covered it with a clean, white and very large towel and use quilting pins to block my projects. When I'm not using it, it stands behind the door of my craft room/office. Works great!
Hi there! I am Jeannine.
I believe that a holistic and balanced approach to life is a must when living with an autoimmune disease. I share gluten and dairy free recipes and all the other things I do here. I just like doing stuff and making stuff.
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