Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 1: Spring Breeze Shawl Knit Along

Spring Breeze Shawl KAL Day 1
Welcome to the opening day of the Spring Breeze Knit Along! I'm KnitDocDonna and I'm here to be your guide and knitting coach for this knit along.

Here's what you'll need to get started: Spring Breeze Knit Along Supplies List

Skills we will be covering today:
  • Garter shawl tab
  • Garter selvedge edges
  • Yarn over w/purl stitches
  • Yarn over w/knit stitches
The Project
Before we begin, a bit about Spring Breeze Shawl. No fancy stitch patterns or complex techniques to learn for our project. The beauty of this project lies in the color change, contouring, and delicate edging. We'll add this contour interest by merely switching from stockinette to reverse stockinette and back again. I like to think of them as ridges and valleys. Frame it with a row of eyelets, then, my new favorite: the picot bind-off and voila!  Ready to wear!

The Shape
Today we'll be building Spring Breeze from the top down starting with a garter shawl tab and working downward and outward. On Day 2, after we are  3/4 of the way to the finish we'll be curving the wingspan for a modified crescent shape. Not a fan of the crescent shape? No worries, there will be an option to block wider, longer and level the top edge!
Time to get comfy and pick up those sticks. The weather is warm, spring is here and it's time to knit!

The Foundation 
We're going to start by building a good solid foundation and the garter tab provides just that.  We'll create a small rectangle and pick up and knit around 3 of its sides. This will provide us with the start of a firm border for our shawl to hang from and also set the stage for the triangular shape. This is also a very simple process and I'm going to show you how step by step.

Working the Tab

Ready? Excellent! Time to build.  
We'll start by checking our pattern and cast-on the specified number of stitches using the knitted cast-on. For a closer look at the knitted cast-on take a look at the images below.
Start with a slip knot
Insert your right hand needle into the slip knot and wrap yarn as usual


Instead of pulling the stitch off the needle as usual, pull out the loop and put it back on the left hand needle. A stitch created!
Continue these steps to cast-on all of your stitches.

Knitting Doctors Tip: When you cast on stitches for a garter tab, do so with a loose hand.  This is one time you'll want the cast-on edge loosey goosey. Doesn't look very pretty but you'll see why shortly. Your cast-on should look like this.

Now we're ready for Rows 1-12


We're slipping the 1st stitch purlwise. What that means is when we slip the stitch, the right hand needle is inserted into the stitch from top to bottom like this.
When you slip your 1st stitch purlwise your yarn automatically lines up in front of your work, so you'll want to move it back to complete the following stitches as knit stitches.

Slipping this 1st stitch purlwise gives you a nice even and a little bit decorative selvedge edge which is almost like a chain link in appearance.

For Rows 1 - 12, you'll be slipping that 1st stitch, always purlwise and knitting the remainder of the stitches, so go ahead and complete those rows!

After Row 12 your tab should look like this.
So here I am at the end of the row, now what? Well, I'm going to rotate my work slightly to the right. Look at the image below, specifically to where the left hand needle tip is located.  That's the loop that I'm going to use to pick up and knit the 1st of my side stitches.  Another way to know you are in the right spot is (and you can't  readily see it in the image) the working yarn is attached to the 1st stitch on the left).
Tab Side Stitches - How it's done
I've already rotated my work and now I'm ready to pick up and knit the stitches along the side of the tab. Let's refer to those as the selvedge edge stitches.
Insert the tip of the right hand needle into both of the loops (theses are the loops created by your slip one purlwise at the beginning of the rows) of the  stitch closest to the working yarn.
Now wrap your yarn (as if to knit) and draw it thru.
Place the loop that you just made back onto the left hand needle and knit as usual. Smile! You've picked up AND knitted your first side stitch. Continue to do this until you have picked up and knitted a total of 6 stitches down the side and have reached the bottom of the tab.
Your tab should look something like this and have a total of 10 stitches.

Knitting Doctor Tip:  To make pulling the loop through easier,  after I've inserted the right hand needle tip into the loops, I grip the work lightly with my left fingers and lift the work over the yarn that I've just wrapped.  In other words I'm not pulling the loop through as much as I'm lifting the work over.

Much easier isn't it?

Not quite there? Take a look at the image below.


Tab Finish
We're almost at the finish line for creating the tab.  Only one more thing left to do and that's to pick up and knit the remaining stitches for the tab bottom.  This is no harder than the side stitches, but does require a closer look-see.

Let's take a look at the image below. My cast-on stitches are nice and visible.
Are yours this easy to see? If they are it's because your cast-on was nice and loose. If your cast-on is tighter, pull slightly on the yarn tail. That will stretch the bottom a bit and make the cast-on stitches much more visible and easier to work!

Done?

Does your finished tab look like this? Yes? Pretty cool, don't you agree? Now when you see a pattern featuring a shawl tab you can dive right in!
One more row to go, before we get to the actual "meat" of the pattern.

Set Up Row 
Go ahead and complete Row 13, placing markers where indicated. This is the row where our first 3 stitches and last 3 stitches will become the continuation of our garter selvedge border (we started setting this up with the tab), and marking off our central stitch. We'll also be doing yarnovers at the beginning and end of this row.

Yarnovers
Before we start though, let's look at the yarnover process. What is a yarnover exactly?  Simply put it is a way to create an eyelet or increase a stitch by moving your yarn in a specific direction. When I was a beginner I used to make yarnovers all of the time by accident, so I've had a lot of practice!

In Spring Breeze yarnovers are used on every row to add not only a decorative element, but to increase the shawl dimensions both at the midpoint (rs rows) and the ends (all rows). The direction you move your working yarn is going to be different depending on what stitches it will be between. Each method will be spelled out for you so  you'll be able to create these effortlessly!

Let's take a look at the yarnovers on Row 13. The first one will be after a knit stitch and before a purl. Take a look at the steps below.

Creating Yarnovers Between a Knit and a Purl
1.  Work your border stitches and slip your marker.
2.  Your working yarn will be in the back (as your last stitch was a knit). After you slip your marker, move the working yarn forward, (see the images below) around the back of the needle and forward again. So it's front, back, front!

That was pretty simple, wasn't it? Now your yarn is in just the right position for the upcoming purl stitch.

Now we're good to go. Let's progress across the row until we come to the end marker and the next yarnover.

The last yarnover on this row will be between a purl and a knit. Totally different than the first one on this row, and much simpler. Think about where you yarn is. It's already in the front, so do we just move it to the back? Nope, if you do you just create a knit stitch and no eyelet, and that doesn't work! Here's what does work! Just follow the steps below.

Creating Yarnovers Between a Purl and a Knit
  1. Work up to the last 3 stitches.
  2. Your working yarn will be in the front (as your last stitch was a purl).  Leave the working yarn just where it is.  Place a marker and knit the next stitch.  As you knit this stitch the working yarn will automatically position itself across the needle and create the yarnover.
Sounds too simple doesn't it.  Simple, but true!!  See the images below.

Working "The Valley"  aka the Stockinette Band
Now we're ready to move on to the "main course" so to speak, or Band 1 Stockinette which creates the flat sections or valleys.

Locate that Band 1 Stockinette on your pattern and we'll start with Row 1. On this row we'll be working yarnovers at both sides of the garter borders, and each side of the central stitch.  This time the yarnovers will be before and after knit stitches and probably the yarnovers you are used to creating.

Creating Yarnovers Between a Knit and a Knit 
This yarnover is really easy and is typically the one you will find with most patterns. Work your border stitches, slip the marker and then follow the steps below and take a look at the corresponding images.
  1. Our working yarn is in the back just having finished a knit stitch, move it forward as shown in the image below.
  2. Knit the next stitch as usual. The yarn that you moved forward in step 1 will automatically lie across the needle and that will create the eyelet.


Worked your border stitches?  Made your 1st yarnover?  Great!  Continue to follow the row instructions, remembering your yarnovers at either side of the center and at the last marker.

Moving on to Row 2. You'll be increasing after your 1st marker and before your last marker only this time.  No center increases on this row.  If you need to, go  back to the yarnover instructions under the heading Yarnovers Between a Purl and a Knit.

We've completed our basics for the the Stockinette Band.  Go ahead and follow the directions for  the repeats of Row 1 & 2 for Band 1.  You'll have a total of 10 rows when you are finished ending on a wrong side row.  You'll have also increased 4 stitches on each right side row and 2 stitches on each wrong side row.

Knitting Doctor TipTo ensure Spring Breeze is growing as it should, occasionally count your stitches on either side of your center stitch to make sure you have the same count on each side.


Time to move on for our last section of the day....

Working "The Ridge" aka the Reverse Stockinette Band
Here is where we will begin to add a little contouring.  We're going to switch direction for a couple of rows.  Once you try this you'll find that this is really a very simple but effective technique that adds a lot of punch!

Locate the Band 1 Reverse Stockinette section and work rows 1 and 2, paying particular attention to the central stitchNo matter what else is going on with the row, you will want to always knit the central stitch on the right side, and purl it on the wrong side!  Now go ahead and work the rest of that section.

So there you have it. We've worked through the techniques for Day 1. All that's left for you to do is to work your pattern, working through Bands 2 - 5.

Take a look at the images below to see what you're building!


I hope you had fun today! I know I did. 
Can't wait to have you back next Tuesday for Day 2.

Day 2 Covers these topics:
  • Curving the Wingspan
  • Creating an Eyelet Band
  • Binding Off with Picots
Until then, happy knitting and don't forget to be part of the discussion and post your WIP (work in progress) on the NobleKnits Ravelry page!

KnitDocDonna


P.S.  Here's my second Spring Breeze (see below). This one is a "bright" color! And, in case you're wondering...Yes! I really do knit these pieces along with you!


11 comments:

  1. Hi, I had a hard time and had to start over again a couple of times, but I've got it going now, tomorrow row 14. This is fun, I like the yarn, this is my first shawl.

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    1. Hi Stitches64 - So good to hear! The fun keeps getting better as your stripes start showing up! Your first shawl is going to be a beauty!

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  2. Loving this yarn ! I was lucky that I started out fine and am on my second ridge repeat. It is very easy to do , your directions and the pictures really are great and helped me a lot.
    This is my first lace shawl also.
    Thank you !

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    1. Hi Adrienne- This yarn is just great! What color did you choose? Your post made me smile! Good to know that the pictures and directions are working for you! Wait until you start building more ridges :-)

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    2. Good morning Donna, I chose colour 1511 and am hoping there will some lighter colour bits as I go along as it seems quite dark. It's very pretty though ! Guess I will just have to get another ball when I have finished this ! Thank you for the great pattern ! You mentioned in the introduction that if one preferred NOT to curve the ends, it would be possible to leave them straight. I don't see that in the pattern. Will you be covering that as we come to it ?
      Thanks again, have a great weekend ! :)

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    3. Hi Adrienne - Yes, it should brighten up when you hit the pale blue. Even if it doesn't that colorway against white would be crisp and stunning. You'll have to post a pic of your piece. And yes, at the end I'm going to show you how to straighten the top and reshape a bit if desired. I think you'll be pleased with the end result!

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  3. Thank you Donna ! I am looking forward to hitting the lighter colours !!! Thanks for letting me know about the top part !

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  4. Looking forward to getting started today.

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  5. Hey Christina - Welcome!!!! Hope you'll think this is as fun as I do. What color did you choose?

    Donna
    aka KnitDocDonna

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  6. I chose color #1701 ~ it's coming along :-)

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  7. Hi Christina - How funny! I just finished up #1701 and the image will post both here on the blog and Ravelry later today. This is turning out to be one of my favorite projects! I know you are just going to love yours :-)

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