Around my home, Ozetta's Autumn Tales Shawl will forever be known as the "Fall Van Der Valk Binge Shawl." I picked this up as the easy project I carry around to sneak a row in here or there. Well, that did not happen. I ripped through the project in just a few days! Mr. Monarch is out of town, and my evenings were very quiet, so I tuned into Van Der Valk on PBS. Set in Amsterdam, it was a great watch for me. A few rows turned into a section, and three sections later, I was done.
Before I get into a couple of tips to make the project a breeze, let me tell you a bit about the yarn I selected. I am using Lang Yak, a soft combination of 70% merino and 30% yak. The hand is lovely and only gets better after blocking. I am a big fan of Ozetta's designs, and the simplicity of the shawl, set off by the simple crocheted edging, intrigued me. This is a piece I will wrap up in this winter.
If you cast on the project, here are a few tips to make the knit easier.
1.) She suggests that you use two different stitch markers linked together to help keep track of the increase rows. She has a great video linked to the pattern to explain the technique. There were times when I simply lost track. If you look at your knitting and spread the rows apart a bit, you can see the increase and non-increase rows. The KFB creates a little purl bump. So, if you see a little purl bump in the previous gully, you knit across; if you do not see one, it is time to do your increase. (Trust me, this will make sense when you are knitting!)
2.) If you forget to slip the stitch with the yarn in front a couple of times, do not worry! There is a crocheted edging that hides that little mistake very nicely. (That said, if you do it a bunch, you will want to rip back.) I did it twice on the shawl.
Guess what? With all of those stitches, no one will notice. Here is the completed version with the braid. You cannot really see it. My theory is that if someone is close enough to notice a mistake in your knitting, they are in your personal space and need to take a couple of steps back!
3.) I did not increase to 74 stitches; I got the pattern measurements at 70 stitches, so I stopped. This one is entirely up to you and depends on your gauge.
4.) When adding a new ball of yarn, I did so at the edges. It is very easy to weave in the ends and hide them in the crocheted border.
5.) When you do the very simple crochet border, loosen up. If you are a tight crocheter, go up a hook size. The message here is to take a breath, relax, and crochet.
This is a fun, quick project that makes me very happy. Isn't that what we all want with our knitting?