Last Sunday I raided the cabinet and took about 15 skeins in the blue/green family. A lot of the skeins I took were furry novelty yarns. I added those 15 skeins to another 10-12 skeins of my own and had a pretty good pile of yarn reminiscent of the shades of Lake Superior on any given day.
While the "pattern" looks fairly complicated, it's actually about as simple as it gets. No two shawls will ever be the same using this method.
Holding two colors together, cast on 160 (or so) on size 15 needles. (Shawl is knit horizontally rather than vertically, so you'll have more cast on stitches than rows.) I'm using my Denise interchangeable circular needles.
- Row 1: Knit across with the colors used to cast on, we'll call them Color 1 (C1) and Color 2 (C2)
- Row 2: Cut C1 and leave an 10" tail. (These tails will be knotted and used as fringe.) Join C3 leaving an 10" tail and also leave a 10 "loop" of C2 (you'll cut the loop and use as fringe), knit across using C2 and C3.
- Row 3: Cut C2, leave tail, join C4 leaving an 10" loop tail, leave 10" loop with C3 and knit across.
And just keep going changing yarns and leaving fringe ends until the shawl is wide enough.
The yarns I'm using are mostly worsted with a few DK and chunky weights. About 2/3 of the yarns are novelty, furry, ribbon, nubby, etc. If you want a consistent color change, number your yarns in advance. If a blind random pattern is appealing, just reach in the basket and use the yarn that you touch first. There's no wrong way! I'm using a somewhat random approach, mixing smooth yarns with novelty yarn and trying to keep from putting 2 furry/eyelash yarns close together.
After binding off, it's time to knot the end that you left hanging. I use a square knot technique. Lay the shawl flat and gently "comb" the fringe with your fingers so you can see the rows. Cut all the loops so the ends are straight. Now is the time to tighten up the first couple stitches along the edge also. To begin knotting, tie the ends of row 1 and 2 in a square knot. Then take the ends of row 2 (which were just knotted with row 1) and tie them in a square knot with the ends from row 3. In the past I have knotted rows 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and so on. It works, but I think knotting rows 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 gives the edge a cleaner look with more stability. Then trim all the ends to a uniform length.
As for blocking, it all depends on the yarn content. I typically lay shawls like this flat on a bed or sofa and then hold an iron about 4 inches above the shawl and hit it with steam. Pressing the iron on the shawl will take the body right out of it.
My goal was to finish two shawls during Lent. At this rate, I may just finish 3!