It’s finally scarf and shawl weather! And to get ready, I have a fun knitting project for you to try. Today I’m teaming up with my favorite craft tutorial website, Guidecentral, to bring you this Startup Shawl from SKEINO.
SKEINO is a unique yarn company specializing in hand painted high quality yarn, knitting kits, and handmade gift items and accessories. What’s really neat about SKEINO is that all their yarns are hand painted and packed by people with special needs so they can provide these folks with a regular income. I just think that’s cool, and it made me happy thinking about it while I was using their yarn on this project.
I bet you didn’t know I knit. That’s because I really don’t. There are much better blogs out there if want a knitting expert, but I’m here to tell you that if you knit even just a little bit, you can do this project. In other words, if I can do it, you can too!
- Startup Shawl kit from SKEINO in Orfeo Pastel. (Or any of their other fabulous colors!) If you already have the yarn, you can simply access the knitting pattern here.
- A set of US #10 (6mm) knitting needles. I recommend a circular set, and I’ll show you why below.
- A stitch marker (This can be anything that can slide from needle to needle. I used a small key ring, but you can use a washer, a safety pin, a twist tie, or even a bit of yarn tied in a loose circle.
- A pencil and eraser.
This project assumes you have a few basic knitting skills. Don’t worry – my skills were about as basic as they come. In fact, I had to look up some of these stitches on You Tube. Here are the stitches you’ll need to know, with their abbreviations in parentheses.
- Knit (K)
- Purl (P)
- Slip, as if to purl (S)
- Knit 2 Together (K2Tog)
- YarnOver (YO)
- Knit-YarnOver-Knit (K-YO-K)
I’m not going to explain knit and purl here, because there are much better resources out there for those stitches. Those two, along with casting on and off, are the most basic pieces of knitting, and you’ll do much better learning them from a knitter in person, or through a book such as The Everything Knitting Book (which was how I originally learned to knit). Most other stitches are just a variation of knitting or purling so let’s assume, as Skeino does in their kit, that you already know those. Here are the others:
Slip, as if to purl (S). Insert the right needle into the loop on the left needle from back to front, like the beginning of a purl stitch, but then simply slip the loop from the left needle to the right. This stitch is used to make a nice clean selvage edge on the shawl.
Knit 2 Together (K2Tog). Insert the right needle through two loops on the left needle, then knit as if they were one. This decreases the number of stitches by one, and is used for creating a lacy hole in the pattern. Don’t confuse K2Tog with K2. K2 simply means to knit two stitches as normal knitting.
YarnOver (YO). In between stitches, you’ll use the yarn in your right hand to form a loop over the right needle. Pull it loosely from the back, under the needle, and around the top, so that the yarn is left hanging out the back, resting over the needle. Then continue knitting as before. This stitch is used to increase the number of stitches by one.
Knit-YarnOver-Knit (K-YO-K). This is a simple stitch, once you learn it, but was new to me, so I looked it up and found this video. Start a knit stitch as normal, but before you slide the loop off the left needle, do a yarnover. Then knit into the loop that’s still on the left needle and finish as a normal knit stitch. This increases by two, so that one stitch has now become three. This stitch creates the corner at the middle of the shawl.
How to Work The Pattern:
Since SKEINO has shared the actual pattern on Ravelry, I won’t reprint it here, but here’s how it works. The pattern is built in two sections. The first is a set of 6 rows that build and increase from the casting on to the actual pattern. You’ll do this set once. Cast on 3 stitches, and then follow the first 6 rows of the pattern until you have a total of 15 stitches on your needle.
The second section is the actual pattern, which consists of 10 rows. The basic pattern is one row of:
S1, K2, YO, K(x), K-YO-K (Center stitch), K(x), YO, K3
Followed by a full row of either knitting or purling.
(The “x” stands for an ever-increasing number of stitches. Each time you work through the repeat this number will change, based on the four stitches that were added in the previous row. “Center stitch” stands for where you place your stitch marker, which is always on that K-YO-K stitch.)
You’ll do this part over and over again, until you have just enough yarn to finish off the edge of the shawl. It’s simple once you get the hang of it, but being the beginner I am, I had to read each line every time. That’s OK too!
Here are a few tips that I learned along the way:
- First roll the skeins of yarn into balls. I wouldn’t have thought to do this (that’s how much of a beginner I am!), but even after a few stitches my skein started getting all tangled and I knew I was going to be in trouble. Luckily my mom happened to stop by for a visit at that very moment and rescued me from my mess. Turns out, rolling the skeins into balls is the first step of any knitting project. Who knew?
- Make yourself a little kit, including your yarn, needles, stitch marker, pattern, pencil, and a bowl. Why a bowl? Because once your yarn is wound into a ball, the bowl will keep it from rolling all over the floor as you pull the yarn.
- Mark your pattern. Whenever I had to set the project down to do something else, I found it helpful to place a little pencil mark at the line I stopped on. Otherwise I couldn’t remember where I’d left off! Then I simply erased the mark when I started again, so I could make a new one next time.
- Use your stitch marker! Every other row increases by four stitches, and after a while you will not want to keep count of all those stitches. Your stitch marker will tell you when it’s time to do your K-YO-K stitch in the middle, and keep your center line centered.
- Work loosely. I think beginner knitters’ biggest problem is getting even tension on the yarn, and I know I have a tendency to pull it too tight, creating a heavy, thick piece once it’s done. I probably could have used a larger size needle than the one indicated in the pattern.
- Circular needles are great for hanging on to big projects with lots of stitches. This one starts out by casting on just 3 stitches, but it grew to about 300 by the time I was done. It would have been really tough to keep all those stitches on one regular needle. The circular needles keep everything in place without crowding your hands as you work.
- Good yarn is worth the money. I had to undo, redo, and fix more stitches than I care to admit. It’s really nice to have good yarn that doesn’t pull and separate under duress. Also, the variety of colors in this yarn helped camouflage all the mistakes that I left behind. I bet you can’t even find them, but I promise they’re in there!
- Save plenty of yarn to finish the last line and cast off! I almost cried when I had to un-knit about 150 stitches after realizing I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish.
- Don’t panic. Every mistake I made felt like it was the end of the world, but each time there was a way to fix it. If you realize you made a mistake, just stop for a minute and think backwards. How did it start? You can usually fix it by working backwards from what you just did. And if that fails, I promise there is a YouTube video out there from someone who has done what you just did. Who would have thought that knitting and Google would go so well together?
SKEINO calls this a startup shawl because it’s perfect for beginners who want to level-up their knitting game. And here’s a bonus: to thank you for discovering their yarn through me and Guide Central, you can purchase this kit at a 10% discount on their website when you use the coupon code GUIDECENTRAL.
Thank you to SKEINO for providing the yarn, pattern, and inspiration for this project!