The world is awash in contrasts, whether we’re talking good versus evil or a glazed donut versus a kale salad. We can’t fully appreciate one without some degree of exposure to the other. So go ahead, get yourself a donut. I can wait.

Contrasts abound in the knitting world, too. We have puffy versus dense, wobbly versus smooth, soft versus crunchy, easy versus…not so easy. Without experiencing the bumps of the purl stitch, for example, we can’t fully appreciate the steady face of stockinette.

These contrasts are what drew me to Sabrina Schumacher’s half-circle Palazzetto shawl. In it, she uses a single knit stitch to "draw" a steady motif across a backdrop of bumpy reverse-stockinette. By working that knit stitch through its back loop, she makes that motif so distinct that it almost appears to float above the background. From a technique standpoint, the shawl may look daunting if you’ve never worked something like this before. But once you get the pattern established and can "read" it in your fabric, it’s not only easy but also quite satisfying to knit—like a puzzle whose pieces aren’t too hard to fit.