Jennette Cross is the author of today's post, as well as the designer of Fine Kettle, the squishy, swishy, slip-stitchy shawl from our latest issue. Read about her quest to become a Twist designer, her fear of fish (a fear I share!), and the clever tricks you'll learn knitting your own version of her gorgeous creation. You can also find this post on her blog, here.
Fall of 2008. I had been working at Lakeside Fibers for a year and a half. “Hey,” said my bosslady, “have you seen this new online magazine, Twist Collective?” Ten minutes later appearing in Twist Collective one day became one of my life goals.
This is Fine Kettle, my pattern from Spring/Summer 2013.
I had been submitting to Twist for a little over a year before this one was accepted. I have never ever felt bad when they turned me down; the patterns they put out are always so amazing there just wasn’t any point to feeling bad. And if I’m honest, I’m delighted they rejected the first two things I submitted because they were WAY above my skill level at the time. Now before I submit anything for publication I make sure that I have thought through every step and every eventuality. By the time I write a submission, I am sure that I can do it.
When the call for this issue went out there were photos of fish on the mood boards. I love fish even though I’m afraid of them (aquariums are a wonderful combination of beauty, fascination, and horror) so I decided I was going to do some kind of Fish shawl. Of course, any shawl I design is going to be a Combination Shawl, because I am obsessed. I messed around with my stitch dictionaries for a while, and then I started thinking about scales . . . scales that got larger and larger as the shawl progressed! Why, I could HIDE the Combination increases INSIDE the scales! It would be the cleverest thing I ever did.
Lots of swatching later I was very happy with my increase-hiding scales, but unsure about how to finish the edge. I needed something to help counteract the stockinette stitch curl that was inevitably going to happen at the hem, and for this pattern it seemed like the solution was garter stitch. I didn’t want to just slap some garter stitch on the edge though – it needed to flow somehow. The fish needed some tails.
The swatch and drawing above are what I ended up with. Then I took a step back and realized that I had just designed a gigantic slipped stitch shawl that looked like a fish. “Oh well,” I said to myself. “It’s not like they’re going to get another submission for a gigantic slipped stitch shawl that looks like a fish.” Besides, it was too late. I was already in love with it.
But they accepted it, and got me beautiful yarn, we put together a beautiful pattern, and they had Jane Heller do some stunning photography.
The shawl begins with one long starter tab (I love a good starter tab) and then goes immediately into the fish scale pattern. The scales are all slipped stitches; you only use one strand of yarn at a time, and the wrong side rows are all “slip the slipped stitches and purl the purl stitches” so they’re about as easy as they can be.
The garter stitch edges are worked entirely in the main color, which means that technically the shawl has a bit of intarsia. Trust me though – it’s about the easiest intarsia ever. And it’s worth it to create those lovely unbroken main color edges.
The shawl finishes with garter stitch fishtails, inset into the last section of scales. The garter fishtails increase according to Pi Logic, so they have lots of extra drape.
Of course, from the photos you can automatically tell that one of the best parts is the yarn. Sunshine Yarns Merino Silk Fine was the perfect yarn for this project – soft, beautifully drapey, silky, and shiny. I’ve had some questions through Ravelry about the actual yardage used; my notes indicate that I used about 730 yards of the Main Color and 630 yards of the Contrast. If you are getting a different gauge, you’ll use a different amount of yarn.
I am beyond delighted with how this has turned out and working with Twist was absolutely lovely. I hope you like my Fine Kettle and are inspired to knit a gigantic slipped stitch shawl that looks like a fish of your very own.