Sock Yarn Shawls – Part 5 – free form – starry night

After I had done a couple of circular shawls, I was interested to see how the basic circles could be modified into other shapes, as discussed earlier, but I also thought to combine the circles together using short rows.

The inspiration for the first project was the pattern of concentric circles in gray and blue produced using the Paton sock yarn in the “Singing the Blues” color.  This yarn has shades of blue ranging from a dark navy, to an intense cobalt blue, to lighter blue and gray.  These reminded me of the colors used in some of van Gogh’s paintings, and I decided to try to make a shawl with many circular and spiral “stars” with a background of clouds and night time sky.

I began with a basic circle worked out to about 8 to 10 inches in diameter, then made a similar but smaller circle.  I hooked the two together by working short rows in the space between where the circles touched.  Basically, I knit around one circle’s edge, then simply knit around the second smaller circle edge back to where the next stitches of the first circle could be knit.  At this second join, I knit 3 or 4 stitches, turned (wrap and turn) and purled back about 6 to 8 stitches, turned, and knit back.  On this knit row, I decreased two stitches by knitting two together along the rim of each circle, then knit to one stitch past the first turn, turned and purled back.  I worked short rows for about 1 to 2 inches in this fashion, decreasing 2 stitches in each knit row about 4 to 6 times, then decreasing only one stitch in the knit rows, judging by eye when the curves of the two circles looked best.  Once out several inches, I purled back around the smaller circle to the joining point and repeated the process.  If the yarn in the initial knit stitches at the first join has stretched or pulled out to make an oversize loop, I frequently make up a stitch or two by knitting or purling down a row to tighten up the join.  There is not an exact way to make this sort of join and you should expect to improvise as needed to keep the circles somewhat circular and the short rows lying flat.  Also, as I work the short rows, I will begin to add some yarn-over-knit-two-together “holes” in the area of the joining to break up the otherwise solid patch of stockinette stitch and also the increase the flexibility and stretchiness of this area, which will greatly facilitate blocking.

Here are some photos of this first project:

This is the work in process.  I found it very helpful to periodically pin it out on the blocking mats to monitor how the shape was coming and decide where to add the next circle(s).

This is the completed shawl on the blocking mats.

The two circles more or less in the center were the first to be constructed and hooked together.  Then some short rows filled in around them before more circles were added to the growing edge of the piece.  There are six circles in this part.  Then the two larger circles were worked up and connected to the edge of the piece.  Once all the circles were attached and the spaces between filled with short rows, the perimeter was knit around for a couple of inches, letting the color changes of the yarn make the pattern.  Then, the final several inches was worked around using short rows to make larger patches of the colors of the yarn.  To do this, I just work along on a row and when the yarn color changes, I work a bit farther, then turn and work back to or just before or after the color change, then turn again.  By working back and forth in this fashion, you can make interesting blocks of color of varying shape.  As with most of the shawls, this piece was finished with a final doubling of the number of stitches (yarn over-knit one), a knit row, and binding off.






These are some detail snaps of the piece showing the short rows worked around and between the circles of various size.

And this is the finished shawl: