Howdy, knitting friends! It’s great to be back writing another blog entry after being away for bit, and I’m really excited to share a brand new pattern with you! In my last blog entry, I talked about the Shawl Design Workshop by Susan B. Anderson that I attended in May. During that workshop, I started designing a shawl and it brings me great pleasure to announce that I released the pattern for sale on Ravelry last week! It’s called “Amplitude” and you probably want to go ahead and buy it now.
AS AN EARLY-BIRD LAUNCH SALE, THE PATTERN IS $2 OFF WHEN PURCHASED BY OCTOBER 7. NO COUPON CODE NEEDED, THE DISCOUNT IS AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED AT CHECK-OUT.
Let me give you the highlights about the pattern from the Ravelry pattern page, and then I’ll go into some more of the details later in the post.
As I knitted this shawl and worked out the cable pattern that defines the top edge and spine, I was reminded of the portions of my high school physics classes that dealt with the study of waves. In physics, “amplitude” is a measurement of how a wave changes over time, and the cable pattern in this shawl is reminiscent of the many graphs I drew during my studies. The repeated wave pattern oscillates back and forth, providing the knitter with enough challenge to be interesting, but is tempered by a large field of relaxing garter stitch.
I wanted a shawl large enough to wrap up in, and Amplitude’s seven-foot wingspan certainly fits the bill. Knitters who prefer a smaller shawl can create one by reducing the number of oscillations that are knitted.
Amplitude is a triangular shawl, with a lace spine flanked by an oscillating wave pattern on either side. The top edge mirrors the wave, and the interior of the shawl consists of a field of garter stitch. The border incorporates a simple texture to create a well-defined edge.
Construction starts at the top center of the shawl and extends to the points. There are four simple increases every two rows created by yarn overs. The oscillating wave pattern that defines the top edge and spine is constructed using cable techniques to create the appearance of a line of knit stitches floating on a sea of purl stitches. The border continues the established increase pattern along the top edge and spine, while switching the interior to a checkerboard stitch pattern to create a crisp section before the bind-off.
When selecting yarn for this shawl, it is important to choose a yarn that will not obscure the oscillating wave. I found that the Sprout Solids line from The Fiber Seed was ideal for this — there is just enough variation in the bold colors to keep the yarn interesting and the oscillating waves stand out brilliantly. The pattern also works well with lightly speckled yarn and gradients.
Please use the hashtag #AmplitudeShawl when posting pictures on social media.
- Knit & purl, cast-on & bind-off
- Russian bind-off (instructions included)
- Increasing (yarn over)
- Cables (instructions included)
- Working from charts (optional)
- Whipstitch (optional)
- Cable needle
- 8 stitch markers
- Blocking pins
- Blocking wires (optional)
- Yarn needle for weaving in ends
Wingspan: 84 inches (213.4 centimeters)
Depth: 34 inches (86.4 centimeters)
I started Amplitude in May of this year, while in Susan B. Anderson’s Shawl Design workshop. Here’s a peek of the very beginning of the design (after I had already ripped out my first attempt and started over):
I was thrilled with the way it worked out, and kept going. After a while, I could see that the yarn and the pattern were doing exactly what I wanted it to do, and I knitted and knitted and knitted until it was as big as I wanted.
Going into the workshop, I had set aside several hanks of yarn that I might use for designing the shawl. The night before the workshop, I looked at them all and the hank of Sprout from The Fiber Seed was just shouting at me that it wanted to be my shawl. It was the perfect choice! I love this yarn — it’s soft and springy, and the colors that it comes in are wonderful. I had a hank of Solid it in the Cardinal colorway, and it is exactly what I was looking for to make this design pop. One thing that’s important for Amplitude is to choose a yarn that will not obscure the cable pattern, which made the Solid a natural choice. There is enough color variation in the hank to provide depth, interest, and a touch of sophistication to the shawl without detracting from the cable design. Lindsay is the dyer behind The Fiber Seed and it was so much fun to work with her while I was designing the shawl. I’m looking forward to some more collaborations with her in the future.
Knitting the shawl was the easy part. Writing the pattern was a fun challenge. I wanted the pattern to be accessible to beginners without being overly tedious to more advanced knitters. I believe I struck a good balance. The techniques that are a little more advanced (knitting cables, e.g.) are adequately explained so that a beginner will be comfortable with them. I went through many revisions of the pattern before I was happy with it. I bought some charting software (StitchMastery) to create the charts used in the pattern. I also included written instructions so that knitters who aren’t comfortable with charts can knit the shawl. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun writing the pattern. I’ve always had a healthy respect for designers, but by going through all the details of this design, my respect is even deeper now.
From the very beginning, I knew that I was going to hire a tech editor for this pattern. At TNNA this summer, I met Joan Beebe and talked with her about tech editing and felt like I hit it off with her, so I hired her to tech edit the pattern. She had some great suggestions, and I’m truly thankful for the work she did to help me polish the pattern and correct a few mistakes I had in my original draft. Joan is the creative force behind SSKnits and I highly recommend her services.
I am thankful to have a great set of test knitters to help ensure the pattern is the best it could be. My test knitters were Aaron Lamour, cakky14 Cathy, kmacmillan2003, LauraKnitsPA, Lindsay English, Maamah Johnana, and Mary Sue Moore. Lindsay and Mary Sue even tested the pattern while I was still writing it, before I had it tech edited. Talk about brave souls! The rest of my test knitters tested the final version of the pattern after it was tech edited. I received several great suggestions that I was able to add to the pattern before publishing it. Big thanks go out to my test knitters!
Hiring a photographer and model for the pictures to use on the pattern and on Ravelry was really exciting. I am so thankful for my good friend Rebecca Dillingham, who agreed to model this shawl on a hot summer afternoon photo shoot. Another friend, Tess Norman, is a photographer and was able to work us into her schedule before heading off to fall semester at college. I went to the photo shoot, too, but tried my best to stay out of the way and let Tess and Rebecca do their work. Tess captured a bunch of great pictures, and I’m really excited that I was able to have some great detailed photos to include in the pattern, as well as several shots showing different ways the shawl can be styled.
The hallmark of Amplitude is the oscillating wave pattern that runs along the top edge and down the spine. These waves appear to be running straight up and down and side to side, but because of the nature of how a triangular shawl is constructed, they are actually running at 45-degree angles. The pattern includes instructions on how to manage your stitch markers to ensure that everything lines up properly, and the effect provides structure and balance to the triangular design. The checkerboard border has been compared to engineering graph paper, which ties right into the theme that the oscillating waves evoke. These elements provide enough interest to keep the knitter engaged in the knitting, while the field of garter provides an opportunity for the knitter to relax with some comfortable, mindless knitting.
Dudes Can Wear It, Too!
As we wrapped up our photo shoot, I asked Tess to take a snapshot of me wearing the shawl.
I think it does s great job of setting off my beard, don’t you?
I’m thinking about hosting a knit-a-long for Amplitude. What do you think — are you up for a KAL? Keep an eye on my Knitting Daddy Designs Ravelry group for details and a possible announcement.
REMEMBER — AS AN EARLY-BIRD LAUNCH SALE, THE PATTERN IS $2 OFF WHEN PURCHASED BY OCTOBER 7. NO COUPON CODE NEEDED, THE DISCOUNT IS AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED AT CHECK-OUT.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and buy it now!
Photographer: Tess Norman
Model: Rebecca Dillingham
Tech editor: Joan Beebe
Test knitters: Aaron Lamour, cakky14 Cathy, kmacmillan2003, LauraKnitsPA, Lindsay English, Maamah Johnana, Mary Sue Moore
Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!