The BrandyWine Shawl is a happy coincidence between a lovely pattern (raising money for Haiti), some beautiful Colinette Jitterbug (left over from this project), and a masochistic desire to knit my first shawl.
It’s a really fantastic pattern, I have to say. Once you get through the point at the bottom (which requires quite a lot of concentration), the main repeated 8-row pattern is pretty simple, with a nice big slab of garter stitch in the middle rather than anything complicated. It’s also got an interesting reverse stockinette i-cord bindoff (if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry…) which gives a lovely effect across the top, but took forever.
And then I had to block it. BORING. I gave it a quick soak in water, then pinned it out on a towel on the bed:
It took 101 pins to pin the whole thing out – every single damn point and a row across the top. 101 pins. I know because I counted them all when I took them out.
It’s come out a bit smaller than I expected, but I love it and the colour is gorgeous – it’s a deep, variegated burgundy, rather than the washed-out purple in the photos above.
I’d heartily recommend this as a first shawl. Knitting with Jitterbug was wonderful – it’s so smooth, and it never splits. But any reasonably heavy sock yarn would work fine, I’m sure.
The pattern is simple (the hardest technical thing is “slip one, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over”), and there’s lots of very easy garter stitch once you get to the main bulk of it. The bind-off gave me a little pause for thought, but was very simple once I’d got the hang of it. You could just cast off loosely (with a bigger needle) straight across the top instead, if you can’t face it or figure it out.
The charts are excellent and very clear, and it also comes with written instructions in case you need clarification. It costs $6.50 from Designs by Romi, and $5 of the purchase price goes to Doctors without Borders (aka Medicins sans Frontiers here in the UK – a cause I wholeheartedly support).
Go on, give it a go!